Installing a Centerset Faucet With Pop-Up Drain

Washing hands in sink

Determine Desired Type of Centerset Faucet

One of the most popular home improvements is upgrading your faucet, whether in the kitchen or the bathroom or lavatory. In this tutorial, we will review how to replace a bathroom faucet and install a new centerset faucet with a pop-up drain in an existing sink.

Your faucet may or may not have a pop-up drain. Most bathroom faucets come with a pop-up, so let’s assume that for this tutorial. If your faucet does not have one, then the installation is a bit easier; just ignore the steps dealing with the pop-up drain installation.

When you upgrade or replace your bathroom faucet, you should know what type of faucet you had and what type you want. If you are replacing an old two handle faucet, it is probably a compression type faucet. Newer two handle faucets may be of a cartridge or disc type valve. If you have a single lever or single ball handle faucet, it is probably a ball-valve faucet, as shown in the photo. If your faucet is a single lever type, then it may be a disc or cartridge type faucet.

In addition to knowing the type of faucet you want to use, you need to know the offset or centerset of the faucet. This dimension is the distance between the center of the cold faucet threaded pipe (or tap) and center of the hot tap. This distance must be the same as the center to center distance of faucet holes in your sink.

Once you know the centerset and what type of faucet you want to buy, make your purchase and let’s get it installed!

Shutting off Water and Removing the Faucet

Pop-up drain details under the sink
  1. Shut off the water supply valves to the faucet. If you cannot locate the values, you’ll have to turn off the supply for the entire house. Once the supply valves are closed, you should also relieve any remaining pressure by opening the faucet and letting any water drain into the sink basin. That way, there will be less mess when the faucet is actually disconnected.
  2. Disconnect the water supply line connection from the end of the faucet pipe at each supply connection by using an adjustable wrench or a basin wrench. Have a bucket handy to catch any spilling water. If the water continues to leak after the faucet is removed, then the supply line has not been fully turned off.
  3. Next, disconnect the pop-up drain, if your faucet has one. You’ll find the pop-up pivot rod screwed into the back of your drain line. Using channel-lock pliers or similar, unscrew the pivot rod from the back of the drain pipe. The pivot rod attaches to the lift rod bracket by a spring clamp, and the lift rod bracket attaches to the lift rod itself by what is called a clevis screw. Unscrew the clevis screw (usually at the top of the bracket) and remove the pivot rod. Then just remove the pop-up drain from the sink.
  4. To remove the old faucet, you need to unscrew the large mounting nuts/washers found under the sink, which fastens the faucet to the sink. Once the nuts are removed, simply lift the old faucet out of the sink.
  5. Clean the sink where the old faucet used to be by removing any plumber’s putty and dirt.

Installing the New Centerset Faucet

faucet pop-up drain details

Install the Bathroom Faucet

  • Test fit the new faucet by placing the faucet supply lines through the sink basin holes.
  • If your faucet uses a gasket, place it in the sink over the holes and insert the faucet supply lines into the faucet mounting holes and the faucet onto the gasket.
  • If your faucet does not have a gasket, you will need to create a waterproof seal between the sink and the faucet. Place a bead of ​plumber’s putty (unless you have a marble sink or countertop as in an undermount sink or drop-in sink) along the entire lip of the base of the faucet. Insert the faucet supply lines through the sink basin holes and press the faucet firmly onto the sink. If your faucet is being mounted to a marble sink or countertop, use a silicone latex caulk instead of plumber’s putty to avoid staining. Remove any excess plumber’s putty or caulk.
  • Fasten the faucet to the sink by installing the faucet mounting washers and nuts to the underside of the sink. Fasten the nuts snug but not overly tight.

Connect the Faucet

  • Connect flexible water supply lines from the connection on the water shut off valves to the end of the faucet supply lines by applying plumber's tape to the threaded ends of the faucet supply line and attaching the water supply lines and nuts to the faucet supply lines. Fasten the nuts snug but do not over-tighten.

Connect the Pop-Up Drain

  • Insert the pop-up drain into the sink’s drain hole and attach the lift rod bracket to the lift rod with the clevis screw.
  • Attach the pivot rod to the back of the drain line and snug the nut.
  • Attach the pivot rod to the lift rod bracket to achieve the proper amount of pop-up drain lift per manufacturer’s directions. Make necessary adjustments by altering the clevis screw location in the lift rod bracket holes.
  • Turn on the water supply and test for leaks.