The Plumber: Swap the faucet but save the sink
Hi Ed: We moved into a new home to us and the plumbing is in good shape. The bathroom has a two-handle sink faucet and I want to change it to a one-handle bathroom faucet. Can a new single-handle faucet be installed without changing the sink?
— Hal, Michigan
Dear Hal: Hopefully you have a standard 4-inch centerset deck-mount faucet.
Basically that means the measurement from the center of the hot water handle to the center of the cold water handle is 4 inches wide, and the handles and spout are connected on a single faucet base.
A 4-inch centerset bathroom faucet connects to a three-hole bathroom sink. So if you have a three-hole sink with the outside holes 4 inches apart, you should be able to install a single-handle bathroom faucet.
However, a deck plate to cover all the holes is usually needed. Many single-handle bathroom faucets include an “escutcheon” or deck plate for this very reason.
Keep in mind plumbing can be tricky and you may find yourself in a hole if you end up with mismatched sink holes.
Dear Ed: I have a boring single showerhead and want to upgrade with a rain head and a hand shower. My plumbing and shower stall are in good shape so I don’t want to turn this into a big project. Any easier upgrade ideas?
— Tony, Tennessee
Dear Tony: I recently did an article on rain head showers. Since then many readers have asked about custom shower stalls.
One of my new favorite shower upgrade fixtures is called a shower column. Instead of having to install new plumbing behind the walls, in most cases a shower column is installed in the surrounding area to the shower wall with minimum alterations to the surround.
A shower column unit features finished vertical piping that is anchored to the inside wall. The piping rises up and over the user with a rain head shower head attached to the top fitting. An easy-to-reach diverter with a sliding hand shower is included in most kits.
Bottom line: Installing a shower column can take your showering experience to new heights.
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org