A New Bathroom Sink Faucet

First New One in Nearly 24 Years

This is one of those posts that's essentially for keeping track of products and "the whens" for replacing stuff.  It isn't exciting, but you might find it a touch entertaining in a schadenfreude kind of way.  For some time now the hot water handle of the faucet had a little leak that would come out of the bottom of the lever and run along the base.  For awhile I thought it was my imagination, but I started paying close attention and sure enough - it was time for a replacement.

Just a Fun Back Story

From a post back in 2017:  Just last month I replaced the drainpipes in the bathroom, and that got me thinking about the remodel we did back in '03. The sink was replaced as early as September of 97 (173 was purchased in August of '97).

That's a page from my old homeowner's journal, the forerunner of this blog.  Anyway, the reason that was one of the very first projects was because the original bathroom sink, while a classic, was a cast iron behemoth, with chipped enamel and rust. I couldn't find a picture of the 173 original, but here's a pretty fair representation from the web:

I would have loved to had that sink re-enameled, but back then I didn't know that could even been done - and of course there was the matter of the affordability! It was, however, replaced with another pedestal sink, just to afford a sense of authenticity.

Better Spaces

Better Spaces was a home decor store operated by Hechinger Co.  In 1997 they opened a 100,000-square-foot Home Quarters store in Latham Farms, which I suppose only makes sense to the locals reading this.   This area was a test market for a new concept, which focused on home decor goods rather than building materials.  Unfortunately, the store closed in 1999 after Hechinger Co. filed for bankruptcy (Times Union, 2018).  Remember when stores looked like this in the days when Amazon was still just selling books?

I guess I said all that to say - that's where the bathroom came from.  I'm not 100% certain, but I think I remember getting the faucet at the same time.  Either way - I think 24 years isn't bad for a faucet! 


I suppose it's common knowledge that taking stuff apart is usually easier than putting it together.  Although, there's been a couple times when tearing down was a nightmare.  Back in 2014 I removed the wall between the workshop and the laundry room during the basement remodel.  That wall was built like a tank and required the surgical precision of a sledge hammer to take it down!

Then, in 2017 when I was remodeling the kitchen, the old 1950s or '60s dishwasher/sink combination darn near killed me taking it out - "almost 8 hours of cussin' and swearin' trying to get that thing out!"

Well, in this case, disassembly was a piece of cake.  Twenty-four years after the first faucet install, I have all the right tools, and a little more know-how.  This is the faucet that finally gave up the ghost...

Pa Bailey : (on asking George about taking over the Building and Loan):  I know it's soon to talk about it.

George Bailey : Oh, now Pop, I couldn't. I couldn't face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office... Oh, I'm sorry Pop, I didn't mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save three cents on a length of pipe... I'd go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.

Pa Bailey : You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It's deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we're helping him get those things in our shabby little office.

And way back then, in the spirit of ol' George Bailey trying to save three cents on a length of pipe, I chiseled a bit and went with the nylon water line.  I figured one day I'd switch it out for "the good stuff" - that day has arrived!

And in literally less than 15 minutes it was all apart!

Some other bathroom posts:
∙ The 2002 Bathroom Refresh, Nov 2017
∙ Fixing the Bathroom Door Stop, July 2008
∙ Fixing the Bathroom Sink Drain Pipe, Oct 2017
∙ The bar stool for the bathroom, July 2011
You might also like some "Rambling" posts

Installation - The Nightmare Begins

That may seem a bit dramatic, but bear with me.  Mind you, I've changed facets in various sinks a number of times - and it ain't rocket science.  But here's the thing - big box stores just don't always carry the stuff you need.  Keep that in mind.  In the meantime, here's the new faucet.  I got it at Lowes for $69 - a very nice price, especially considering the supply-chain and supply-demand issues we're having these days.  

The problem came when Lowes didn't have the right size shut-off valves.  I mean really, I can't tell you how many of these I've bought over the years.  It was easy - go to the store, buy 'em, install 'em - easy peasy.  Not this time.  No.  I had to run back and forth 3, maybe 4 times, mostly because I was trying to sort out the end of the valve that met the threaded water pipes that come out of the wall.  I ended up needing to put a bushing in an over-sized valve end, only to find that I couldn't tighten the bushing sufficiently to prevent a slow leak.  Here I am monkeying with the bushings and valves for the umpteenth time:

After countless times shutting off the water main, and assembling, disassembling and reassembling, and never able to stop the leak between the valve and the bushing, I cleaned the old valves with CLR and reinstalled them.  No leaks!

A Final Look - Old and New!

So, before we wrap this up, let me just say this one-hour-or-less job ended up taking me that hour and fourfold.  It was so frustrating, especially when so much time was spent on going back and forth from Lowes, and trying to stop a leak in new parts, and finally resolving them with old parts!  That said, I just wanted to point out the new, stainless steel supply lines I put in.  Yep, I splurged for that extra five dollars (total!).  Don't judge - my frugality comes from my mom!

I also want to point out the escutcheons for the water pipes.  You know how it is - you live with something for so long, eventually you don't notice its condition just because you weren't paying attention.  After all, the escutcheons are so incidental and insignificant, why would you notice?  Well, there I was under the sink and I did notice.  This is a little embarrassing but here ya' go:

Here's the worst part, or maybe the best part - it only took about 10 minutes to clean these things up.  First I used a wire wheel on my rotary tool to remove all the specks of rust.  Then, using a buffing pad on the rotary tool, I shined them up with some Flitz metal polish.  Have a look-see:

And here's the final product.  After more time than I ever dreamt, the bathroom sink has a new faucet set.  It's nice, and has a little more substantial presence on the sink... 

And here's a little old (the small inset) and new faucets kinda side-by-side:

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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