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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 eadelg@cs.com

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