Installing a kitchen faucet is far from the hardest DIY job, but there are still some things to keep in mind, like how the faucet will be mounted, before you decide to try it. Even if you hire a plumber, it's good to know exactly what you're getting into.
In this article, we'll take a look at the different ways to mount a faucet. We'll talk about the different options you have, depending on what you choose, and how your sink and existing faucet setup (if you have one) might affect these choices.
There are two ways to mount a kitchen faucet: deck mounting and wall mounting. Deck mounting is more popular and generally preferred over wall mounting in most circumstances. But wall mounting can be a great option for certain situations.
This style of mounting comes in many varieties and is much easier to install and maintain. The water lines are available for repair under the sink, while the faucet and its accessories are also easily accessible at the sink. Deck mounting is often the only choice for faucets for island sinks and bar sinks, since there's often no wall behind those.
Some deck mounted faucets place the escutcheon plate (the deck) at the back on top of the sink's lip or rim. You'll see this style with drop-in sinks.
Other deck mounted faucets are installed directly to the countertop behind the sink instead. This is naturally what's common for undermount or farmhouse sinks, where no sink rim is present.
Wall mounting is exactly what it sounds like. These faucets are attached to a wall behind the sink. You have to open up the wall to get at pipes and water lines.
Some styles of faucet, like pot filler faucets, only exist as wall mounted faucets, and this speaks to one of this mounting style's main advantages: its flexibility. Wall mounted faucets can be placed almost anywhere you might want access to a faucet near a wall. They don't take up any counter space, which might be very important for narrow counters.
Wall mounted faucets are also generally easier to clean than deck mounted ones, as all sink hardware is kept off of the countertops. The downside is that they have narrow purposes.
If you do choose deck mounting, you still have a few options for how to install your faucet.
Obviously, in order for you to get water out of your faucet, it needs to be plugged into the water lines that (for deck mounted faucets) are located under the sink. Between the faucet itself and the underside of your sink, there are faucet (or mounting) holes. Drop-in sinks are likely to already have these holes, set just behind the basin of the sink, but for undermount and farmhouse sinks, you may have to drill them yourself.
A standard faucet hole is one and three eighths inch in diameter, though the size can vary a bit (usually between 1 ¼" and 1 ½"). Most faucets on the market will fit into this standard size, so replacement is not normally an issue, but make sure to check with the manufacturer to see exactly how much space a certain faucet's plumbing lines will take up.
Faucet holes can hold faucets and handles, but they can also facilitate a number of accessories, including sprayers, additional taps (often filtered or fed directly from the hot water heater), soap and lotion dispensers, garbage disposal switches, and dishwasher air gaps.
Unused faucet holes can always be plugged, so more is usually better. An escutcheon (or deck) plate can also be used to cover unused faucet holes, or simply to give a different look to your faucet mounting. These can be installed on top of the sink's rim or on the counter space behind. Escutcheon rings are also available for use with simpler, one hole faucet setups.
If you already have faucet holes installed (and if you have a drop-in sink, you almost certainly do) they're likely to be set in one of a number of standard configurations. Make sure to measure the distance between the holes (if you have more than one) to ensure your chosen faucet and accessories will work. Even if you'll need to place the faucet holes yourself, a standard configuration is your best bet to find faucets and accessories that match.
One hole sink
One hole sinks are just what they sound like—the faucet and the handle are part of the same piece that all fits in one hole. Bathroom sinks often have one hole, as do smaller bar sinks. Most styles of faucet are available as one hole sinks, but side-spray faucets aren't, since there's no room for the sprayer. These sinks do not have room for accessories.
Two hole sink
Two hole sinks generally have either a faucet/handle combo, plus an accessory (like a sprayer) or a bridge design as seen in the image above. The two holes can be symmetrical, or one can be offset from the center. All major styles are possible with a two hole sink.
Three hole sink
A three hole sink will almost always have one hole centered, with the other two holes an equal distance apart on either side. These are great for pull-out or pull-down faucets with integrated sprayers (the two side holes being taken up by the handles), but all major styles of faucet will easily fit. This style can also fit several accessories, if desired, and even some bar sinks feature three close-set holes, allowing you a variety of options even in a small space.
Four hole sink
Four hole sinks are the most common type of mounting and provide the greatest versatility. Four hole sinks will generally feature the same configuration as a three hole sink, with the additional hole set off to the side. This is great for pairing a more complex faucet setup (like a bridge) with an accessory, or for having a variety of accessories available alongside a simpler faucet.
DIY faucet mounting
Installing or replacing your faucet? Keep the following things in mind:
- If you already have a sink in place, check its existing faucet hole configuration before looking for a replacement faucet.
- If you're starting from scratch, stick with deck mounting unless your counters are especially narrow or the wall behind your sink is especially easy to access.
- More mounting holes are better than fewer. You can always plug unused holes or install an escutcheon plate to hide them.
Looking for a good how-to on faucet installation? Check out the video below.