A sink job hits a curve…a shower pushed to the limit
Q: Hi, Ed. My husband and I have done some remodeling of our bathroom, which includes a new granite top, new under mount sink, and a new faucet. The three faucet holes on the granite top were cut in a slight semicircle pattern to follow the sink and the middle hole is about three quarters of an inch behind the outer holes to follow that curved pattern. The faucet that we purchased requires three holes, but when we went to mount the faucet we found the base and copper pipes are in a straight line and won’t fit the curved hole pattern. Do we curve the copper faucet connections or what do we do to make this faucet fit? Linda – AlaskaA: Hi, Linda. The short answer is that the faucet will not fit. But the long answer is that it’s not all bad news. Bathroom faucets come in two basic mounting styles and sizes; “Deck mount” or “Component mount” and the spread size will usually be an 8 inch or 4-inch center set.Your issue is not the size since your holes have been cut to match the faucet spread. However, the issue you seem to be having is that you are trying to install a deck mount faucet on a countertop that will require a component mount faucet. Deck mount faucets are on a straight rectangle deck that sits atop the counter and they are installed as one unit usually ready to go right out of the box. Basically you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole!What you need to do is return the deck-mounted faucet if you can and purchase a component faucet with flexible water connections. Component faucets are just like the name says. Instead of being one unit, the faucet will consist of several pieces that need to be installed separately on each hole. For instance left hole will have the hot handle, center hole will have the spout and the right hole will have the cold handle. The three components will follow the curved hole pattern.Under the sink, the flexible water lines can be installed to fit all the necessary water connections to the components. Usually lavatory sinks with pre-drilled holes can use deck mount or component faucets. Custom counter tops like you have usually will only accept component faucets and will give your bathroom a very nice look. As you realize by now, getting a nice look does require some extra work and on the average installing a component faucet is usually twice the work over installing a deck mount faucet. Sorry, but this problem has no quick fix and since the granite is already drilled you seem to have gotten yourself in a hole and will have to start from scratch.Q: Dear Ed, I’m so glad I read your column because you answer a lot of problems that I have at my own home. My question is about a one-handle shower mixing valve that is the push/pull type. Lately the showerhead will continue to drip unless I put a lot of pressure on the handle and push very hard until the dripping eventually stops. I had a licensed plumber tell me that the back wall on my bedroom side will have to be broken to get to the water pipes and the entire valve will have to be replaced. Is the plumber right? Also, can the valve just be fixed? Mary – California.A: Hi, Mary. Without seeing the valve first hand all I can tell you is that you will have to investigate this problem further. Your plumber is licensed and may be correct that the best bet is to install a new valve.But you do have a valid concern since many older mixing valves can be rebuilt and that would save you from opening up the wall. What I recommend is that you set up another call with your plumber and ask if it’s possible to rebuild the present valve and the cost of rebuilding compared to installing a new valve. In some cases rebuilding a shower valve may actually take more time than replacing one and many plumbers are hesitant to warranty a rebuild job. Your best bet is to do your homework and work with your plumber to find your best option. A good plumber will be happy to shower you with all the necessary information!Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known nationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call” and for hosting TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. For information visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.
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