Taps are one of the parts of the bathroom where you can really make a design statement. Choosing the right taps to add to your white bathroom suite can often be the difference between a boring bathroom or one which has the “wow” factor. In fact, you can even add new taps without having to make any other substantial changes. Doing this will freshen up the room and you won’t have to splash out on a new bath, sink or toilet.
So if you are on a budget, you will want to fit the taps yourself to save some money. This is much easier than you might expect and, with the right tools, even a novice DIYer can get the job done to a proficient level.
Disconnecting old taps
If you are replacing your taps, this is the place you will need to start. This can be tricky as the old fittings may have been there for years and may be hard to undo due to corrosion. There are a few tips which can help: (obviously, make sure your water is turned off first and the system has been drained)
- Try using a release-oil spray. Once it has settled into the nooks and crannies it will help to loosen the joints.
- A small amount of heat from a blowtorch can also loosen joints.
- Always use a tap spanner, as the right-hand angle will help you to reach awkward places.
- Sometimes cutting the pipes is the best way to remove old plumbing. But bear in mind you will need to replace those sections.
Once the joints have been undone, it is a simple task of undoing the bolts which attach the taps to the underside of the basin or bath and lifting the taps off.
Installing the new taps
Most new taps will come with instructions which explain how the parts go together. Even seasoned plumbers will read these instructions as every tap is different. You should receive washers which are placed between the tap and the surface of the bath or sink. They prevent damage and take up the pressure when the connection is tightened. If not, use silicon.
- Put the tap through the hole in the sink or bath and attach the fittings on the underside in the order suggested.
- Tighten the bolt, but not all the way. Leave some give for the time being.
- Check to see how your original pipes are going to fit to your new fittings. You may need to cut the pipes or even replace a length if they do not reach. Using a flexible hose is a good way to make a connection between an old pipe and the new tap. Remember to allow for the connection fitting between the tap and the new/existing pipe before you cut.
- When using connectors it is sometimes a good idea to use a rubber sealant or even a special glue to keep the joint secure. Push-fit connectors are the easiest to use and are available in most DIY stores.
- You can now reconnect the supply pipes, tighten the tap bolt and turn on the water.
Checking for leaks
It is important that your work is checked for leaks before you are completed (we have a guide for fixing leaky taps). A good way of doing this is to use tissue paper wrapped around the joints and connections. If the paper gets wet at all, you may need to tighten the connection some more.
Check all around the point where the tap meets the sink and bath for any areas where water may be seeping out. Run the taps for some time to check for any signs of problems.
So, there is no excuse for not splashing out on a new set of taps. All that money you save can be used to buy the very best!