How to change a tap in a vanity unit

By Grover Koelpin 65 comments

in this video I’m going to replace this
single basin mixer tap this can be very difficult to do because it is
difficult getting access because the basin is actually in a vanity unit so
that is the tap and as you can see the water is leaking quite badly down the
side of it there and then it is actually leaking and pooling all the way around
the basin this tap also has a pop-up waste at the back there so we will have
to ensure that we fix that on to the new tap it is very difficult tightening
and undoing the nuts which hold the taps in position but you can make it a
lot easier by getting a box spanner like that you can actually buy a set of these and
these actually go from about 9 mil up to 13 mil and you can see that that’s a
good fit on there and then on this end I actually get a socket that will fit that
end and then I can use the ratchet to tighten and undo the nuts on the tap
that we are installing it actually has two nuts that need tightening and the
one that we are undoing only as the one nut which is holding the tap in
position this is going to be very difficult to film because of the
restricted access underneath I’ve now been downstairs I’ve isolated the water
and I’ve opened the downstairs tap in the central position like that so it’s
actually drained the hot and the cold water so now on this one if actually
open that up you’ll hear that making a noise that is the water draining out of
this tap and that will be going downstairs if you have a conventional
heating system you may need to close a gate valve on the hot water side you
can actually put a new cartridge in these taps but a lot of the time it’s
not really worth it you’re better off just fitting a new tap as you can see
that the top on this one is all corroded and that is where these zinc is actually
corroding so after a few more years that would be
so badly pitted that it would look really bad. in order to make it easy I’m
just going to disconnect the pop-up waste I can that can do that simply by
undoing that small screw so I’ve rigged up the Box spanner and the ratchet and we’re now
going to undo the nut which holds the tap in position as you can see the whole
stud has actually been removed from the tap there we can now just grip the
compression fitting with a pair of water pump pliers and then we can undo the nut
on the top there that’s the horse shoe that has just fallen down as you can see
that is in pretty bad condition we can now simply lift up the tap and you
can pull the flexi’s through the hole let’s give that a clean with a multi
surface wipe so I’m gonna take the new tap and in there we put this O ring
which is called an anti-rotational washer in the instructions we then take
the two tails and screw those in and it does say in quite a few places that you
should not use a spanner to tighten these up, so you only need to screw
these in by hand they are both now tight we also need to put the two studs in
they simply screw in the back like so I’m just going to nip those up with a
screwdriver we can pop the waste through there the waste on this tap is actually
in two pieces so we’re just going to push that through there for now and then
we’ll connect up the other side later so we can now take that we can push the
hoses through the hole at once and then from underneath we need to put
the rubber washer on with the metal horseshoe washer and then we need to put
the two nuts on and that will hold the tap in position at this point you need to
ensure that the tap is perfectly straight and finally we’re just going to
tighten those up using the ratchet obviously you don’t need to go mad when
you’re doing this you don’t want to start breaking anything we can now
reconnect the flexi tails ensuring we get them the correct way around
obviously the cold one is on the right unfortunately the new flexi’s are a
little bit shorter than the ones that I took off with only about an inch shorter
but that means that this is very taut which is no good so what I’m going to do
is I’m going to swap this part for an isolation valve like so that will give
us a little bit extra height and then in the top of that I’m going to put a flexi
tap tail adapter so this is a little bit of extra work but it’s one of those
things that you really need to do because you do not want a flexi tail like
being taut because it can lead to it failing because this one’s more difficult to get
to I’m going to put the Flexi tail adapter in there there is a copper olive in the top
obviously, I’m now going to tighten that compression nut and obviously we’re
going to ensure that that is very tight once that’s tightened in there we can
then get the Flexi Tail, we can screw that directly onto the adapter ensuring
it’s not cross threaded, we can just type that up using a spanner obviously
we don’t want to go mad when we’re doing that because it is only a rubber sealing washer in there you do need to ensure when you’re fitting the
isolation valves that the arrow is pointing in the correct direction, this time I’m going to make it a bit easier I’m gonna get the isolation valve put
the tail adapter in there and then I’m going to tighten this up before we put it in
position obviously it’s a lot easier now we can
just put that in position and tighten up the bottom compression nut so they are
all now really tight we now just need to screw on the final flexi tail and then finally
I’m just going to re-instate the pop-up waste, unfortunately I can’t film
this bit because it’s absolutely no room in there whatsoever
I’ve now de-isolated the water and checked for leaks
I’m just going to get piece of kitchen roll which I’ll cut into two pieces I’m
just going to wrap that around the pipe if you do this if you do get a tiny weep
it becomes immediately apparent because the tissue will be soaking wet in no
time so you are a lot better off doing this rather than waiting for the water
to come through the ceiling so that’s the new tap you can see the pop-up waste
is working when you op the top for the first time you need to be aware that is
going to be air- locked so it’s a good idea just to crack it open very slowly I have actually had this tap open and they have actually bled all of the air out
of the system, I hope you found this video useful if you haven’t already
please subscribe to the channel


Ultimate Handyman

May 5, 2019, 8:47 am Reply

This tap started leaking the day before I went on holiday (typical). After my return and extended holiday, I bought a new tap. Unfortunately fitting this was not simple, I’m just glad that I have a lot of plumbing components in the garage 😉
Please spare a thought for plumbers, who have to do crap jobs like this on a daily basis!

I hope everyone has a great Sunday 😉


May 5, 2019, 9:00 am Reply

How many times did you swear getting the first nut started on the new tap 😊

Owen Butcher

May 5, 2019, 9:01 am Reply

Yet again very informative and well worth listening to and always very good visually


May 5, 2019, 9:03 am Reply

American here. Nice job. However, with any threaded metal fitting (air or water) applying thread seal tape helps.

Joe Blogs

May 5, 2019, 9:05 am Reply

Next time that happens in maybe 20/5 years time you'll need to get someone to do it for you! 🙂

lazylad 90

May 5, 2019, 9:10 am Reply

Don't bloody mention bathrooms to me after the week I've had😬😬😬. You did excellent getting you camera round under the back of that sink👍👍. Very good demo cheers👍👍.


May 5, 2019, 9:12 am Reply

A very useful video for anyone who is not used to doing this kind of work. Must have been a nightmare getting the camera and lighting correct. Well done mate and thanks 👍

Sunrise in Isaan

May 5, 2019, 9:13 am Reply

Looks so easy on your vid but I know the lack of space makes this a devil of a job. As always, it pays to invest in the correct tools. I only learnt this late in life….. and consequently never like plumbing, where you can't get away without a perfect job!

Great to see the need to extend the flexis as this covers an issue some DIY people would not appreciate.

RK 180

May 5, 2019, 9:17 am Reply

Good video mate 👍 i changed the taps on my bath recently no room whatsoever nearly broke my back on my side tryna reach the old nuts with some right angled grip spanner thing i bought from screwfix, keyhole heart surgery would of been easier 😂


May 5, 2019, 9:17 am Reply

@Ultimate Handyman:
Just to make life a bit easier: put a little bit of Silicon Caulking (I don't know what you'd call it in the U.K.) onto the inside of that 'Extended Spanner'(?) (we'd call that an extension) days before you'd use it. It's so it'll keep a slight amount of grip onto whatever Nut, or Part you're about to screw-down into place! This way, you're not in danger of having to chase-down small, lost parts thoughout the confined space if they fall out!
Next: put some Silicone Caulking (Still don't know what you'd call it over there) onto the face of that 'Horseshoe' and THEN seat the Rubber Gasket on top of that! It'll both keep it in place during install, and it will also protect against future Corrosion Damage later on!

Mike S

May 5, 2019, 9:27 am Reply

Really useful vid and reassuring to see even you had a small weep of water on one joint, this only ever happens to me when things are fitted in the most awkward of places or as I’m packing up to go home. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Richard Portelli

May 5, 2019, 9:51 am Reply

What a bloody awesome video! You are a pure legend my friend!


May 5, 2019, 10:16 am Reply

This is probably a bit out of my capability but it's definitely going in the favs for future reference.


May 5, 2019, 11:24 am Reply

another good video from HANDYMAN THANKS


May 5, 2019, 11:35 am Reply

Great vid again Chez, a plumber these days needs to be a contortionist really 😉

Martin 1

May 5, 2019, 11:36 am Reply

I always put pipe compound on my olives makes it easier to tighten up and in future it's easier loosen the nut.

Paul Hammond

May 5, 2019, 11:45 am Reply

Grand Job, bit tight in that vanity…


May 5, 2019, 11:45 am Reply

It is great and nice job.


May 5, 2019, 11:50 am Reply

Could you have used longer tap tails?

Costas E

May 5, 2019, 12:18 pm Reply

Excellent Video.

loafer sheffield

May 5, 2019, 12:19 pm Reply

Haven't got any flexi tap tail adaptors to hand? Try using old 1/2"-15mm radiator-valve unions.

Paul Mcgeoch

May 5, 2019, 12:21 pm Reply

If it squeaks it leaks


May 5, 2019, 12:21 pm Reply

A very good video. When I have to use compression fittings (much prefer soldered) I always use PTFE tape. Seems odd not seeing it used. Almost asking for a leak.


May 5, 2019, 12:49 pm Reply

A fiddly job well done and made into a very useful video. Have a good day 😉


May 5, 2019, 12:54 pm Reply

why not connect the flext direct to the isolaton valve?

Steven Williams

May 5, 2019, 1:56 pm Reply

Great video. Plumbing jobs always seem to take me longer than planned!


May 5, 2019, 2:37 pm Reply

I always make sure to have a roll of blue paper towel when doing any plumbing work. It's much easier to see if anything is leaking using the blue paper towel compared to white kitchen towel.

Thanks for the video and proving you are also a contortionist; fitting a camera, your tools and yourself under that sink at the same time : )

Dave White

May 5, 2019, 2:47 pm Reply

Good video again Chez. You managed to do it without all the grunting and swearing I normally do. I think anything under a sink or washbasin is my least favourite job. There always seems to be a ruddy great big "black 'arry" spider up there as well just waiting to run down your arm!

Tom Herd

May 5, 2019, 2:48 pm Reply

I got a backache just watching you!

Luke Albanese

May 5, 2019, 2:53 pm Reply

That was brilliantly filmed. A real PITA of a job, great video.


May 5, 2019, 3:13 pm Reply

As Wooster said to Jeeves "Jeeves, is there anything you don't know?"

Jonathan smith

May 5, 2019, 3:34 pm Reply

Good video I didn't even know you could get flexi tale adapters. Also a side note don't just assume the cold is on the right you can get caught out.


May 5, 2019, 3:42 pm Reply

Great video, as usual.
My tips are if you can dismantle the waste pipe. Even if you have to purchase a new joint to reconnect. Saves time.
Do not install the flexible connections until the tap is in securely in place. As you said the joint only needs to be hand tight and if these are not in-situ before fixing the tap in position then it leaves just that little bit more room to do up the fixing nut(s).

Carl Brown

May 5, 2019, 5:06 pm Reply

I HATE when people call a FAUCET, a "tap."

steve larkin

May 5, 2019, 5:23 pm Reply

Excellent video of what is a very fiddly job i have done quite a few of these

Rob Pope

May 5, 2019, 5:46 pm Reply



May 5, 2019, 6:12 pm Reply

I've always just put flex tails right on top of the isolation valve, no adaptor. Is this wrong? Never had a leaky one.

Ian Hornby

May 5, 2019, 6:50 pm Reply

I just want to say that I have fitted or replaced 3 or 4 of these and I know how to do it. Nevertheless, when this video popped up on my subscriptions list I wanted to watch immediately.
The reason being is that it's just a joy to watch you do jobs and listen you to explain things thoroughly and concisely.
Thanks for everything you share. 👍🏼

Jake Smith

May 5, 2019, 6:52 pm Reply

Don't you need PTFE tape?

John Hughes

May 5, 2019, 8:25 pm Reply

Finally, a challenge worthy of the Ultimate Handyman! I thought this week's video was supposed to be about how to tie your shoelace.

loafer sheffield

May 5, 2019, 8:32 pm Reply

Top Tip: If the flexi tails are supplied pre-packaged and bent double or triple, bound with cable ties or elastic bands DO NOT USE THEM. The rubber inner will be kinked and stressed. In all likelihood they will eventually split and fail and fine mist leak out through the braid.


May 5, 2019, 11:22 pm Reply

If it's push fit waste I sometimes remove it to make abit more room.


May 5, 2019, 2:01 am Reply

Хороший и простой способ удленнить трубки.


May 5, 2019, 2:10 am Reply

"Short by an inch" Sounds like a "What she said joke" lol Great info and thumbs up.

Nick M

May 5, 2019, 3:17 am Reply

Don't need to use PTFE tape ?

Cliff Carlo

May 5, 2019, 9:53 am Reply

The handy thing with box spanners is that you can insert one inside the other should you need a little extra reach. Nice video Chez.

Paul Lilly

May 5, 2019, 11:19 am Reply

Good vid – thanks for sharing 👍

John McCormack

May 5, 2019, 4:04 pm Reply

This job is even harder when you've got arthritus in the hand that is the only one you can get in there and you wear glasses and they keep slipping . Saying that I don't usually have a problem using Jedi skills from years of experience. Again great vid ,thanks


May 5, 2019, 4:55 pm Reply

not sure if have seen them but you can get ballofix with flat face top now,bes supply them

Ratch Riat

May 5, 2019, 8:51 pm Reply

most plumber they don't come for a little jobs and if they do the charge a fourteen found this video very informative and useful.


May 5, 2019, 9:45 pm Reply

Good video. Question: what do you have to do when it's a kitchen sink mixer tap and the cowboy kitchen fitter has made sure you can't access the tightening nut? Does the sink have to come out?

Jake Miller

May 5, 2019, 6:34 pm Reply

Been plumbing for 7 years never thought of putting a socket on the end of a box spanner 🔧 will give this a go next time I do a tap. Cheers for the tip

john Bowman

May 5, 2019, 8:10 pm Reply

What a boring northern cunt


May 5, 2019, 12:53 pm Reply

Ultimate Handyman, well done!

Fayzur Rahman

May 5, 2019, 6:34 pm Reply

What happens if you fit the isolation valve with the arrow in the wrong direction. Ive done this for my new tap bit not noticed any problems


May 5, 2019, 1:16 pm Reply

Well done getting clear video footage under that sink!

Paul Morrey

May 5, 2019, 7:03 pm Reply


n g

May 5, 2019, 7:04 am Reply

One day plumbers might catch up with the rest of the engineering world. And give those multigrip pliers the arse for most jobs. Seen more damage done by plumber butchers with those than a first year apprentice. Used to fit hot water tanks. Could do it twice as fast with proper 1/2 inch drive sockets and spanners than the plumber next to me. And not stuff up the fittings….

Geoff Greenhalgh

Jun 6, 2019, 3:03 pm Reply

Great and clear vid. Could you not have swapped the flexi pipes?

darren green

Jun 6, 2019, 9:45 am Reply

I've fitted a lot of taps and never once thought of using a socket ratchet on the end of the box spanner – bloody genius! 👍

Adam Treadwell

Jun 6, 2019, 11:21 am Reply

Good to show what you can run into, I would of just used a flexi tail extension in that situation, I had to use one when changing my kitchen tap.

Richard Bell

Aug 8, 2019, 10:47 pm Reply

Brilliant idea using the ratchet on the box spanner! I use blue paper roll rather than kitchen roll when checking for leaks. If the blue roll gets wet it changes colour, making it easier to spot the leak. I learned that from my uncle who is a plumber.

Ratch Riat

Aug 8, 2019, 6:39 am Reply

it my look a simple job but awkward place to work and if you don't have a the right tools and the knowledge it my turn to be complicated job enjoyed the video.

George Galpin

Aug 8, 2019, 7:20 pm Reply

Why did you not replace existing the olive and nut when putting the isolation valves on.. not criticism just curiosity?

Rogue Prepper

Sep 9, 2019, 7:46 am Reply

Great video thanks for posting 👍

Leave a Reply