How to Plumb in a Mixer Tap

Renovating a bathroom is an exciting project and with so many different designs of bathroom suites, you can create the bathroom of your dreams. This guide will help you to plumb in a mixer tap, whether you are installing a whole new bathroom, a new kitchen or just replacing an existing tap. We have also included some important things to think about as you embark on your bathroom or kitchen renovation project. Always make sure you plan accordingly before you start shopping for bathroom suites or kitchen layouts and give yourself an idea of the amount you are willing to spend. There are likely to be unexpected costs that crop up as you are remodelling your bathroom or kitchen, so it is wise to allocate around 10%-20% of your budget to cover these. A full bathroom or kitchen renovation is no quick fix and it could take around 30-90 days to complete the project from start to finish. An important thing to consider is the fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen, choosing elegant fixtures can make a big difference to the overall design. Try coordinating the look of your taps with extra features such as robe hooks and soap dishes in the bathroom, or other elements in the kitchen. If you are installing a new bath, always try before you buy. When browsing the showroom sit in the bath first and see if it is comfortable to sit and lie in – there is nothing worse than buying a new bath to find it is not big enough or comfortable enough! Of course, you will also need to take your measurements with you, so you know how much room you have to play with. Your kitchen and bathroom flooring is an especially important element of the design. You need to choose a material that is hard-wearing, water-resistant and durable to ensure there are no problems early down the line. Materials such as ceramic, marble and stone are favoured for bathroom and kitchen use because of their resilient properties. If you are laying the floor yourself make sure that it is well-sealed and fully set before you start installing the other kitchen or bathroom furniture. Getting the lighting right will transform your kitchen or bathroom and make it feel much more luxurious. There are many different styles, finishes, and prices to choose from so take the time to do your research and find the best ones for your new design. When redesigning your bathroom, adding a decorative mirror can also make the design to stand out and it adds the perfect finishing touch!

Contents

To make the process as easy as possible for you, we’ve collated all the relevant information you’ll need. See the headings below!

Things to Consider When Shopping For a New Sink and Mixer Tap

When fitting a new kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want to choose taps and sinks that go well together. Before shopping, remember to measure the space that you have available and take this with you. In some bathrooms and kitchens there just is not enough space to install a basin that is very deep or very wide, so you will have to keep this in mind. There are many different sink designs and materials to choose from, and it can be hard to make the right decision, so we’ve created the following guide to help you choose. Firstly, when choosing a sink there are different materials you can choose from.

  • Stainless Steel. A stainless steel sink will look at home in most modern kitchens or bathrooms. They are practical, hard-wearing and fairly priced making them a great choice across the board. Stainless steel sinks can be cleaned with a wide range of cleaning products and will not chip or crack. They can, however, be scratched easily so this should be taken into account when choosing the type of sponge or cloth you will use when cleaning. Stainless steel sinks are also suitable for different types of taps and are available in different styles and finishes.
  • Ceramic sinks are a popular choice and have been in the market for a long time. They can deal with high temperatures and a range of chemicals without becoming damaged which makes them perfect for everyday use. Ceramic sinks are available in a wide range of styles and colours so they can suit any kitchen or bathroom design, but they can chip if not properly taken care of. In some instances, if the sink becomes chipped or cracked this can also lead to staining.
  • A granite sink offers an alternative to ceramic and stainless steel and is more hardwearing. A granite sink will not scratch, chip or stain, and can withstand high temperatures and harsh chemicals. Again, the granite sink is available in a variety of styles and colours to suit any kitchen or bathroom design however the price may be slightly more expensive.

When selecting the style of your sink you have several options to consider. Sinks are available as single bowls or double bowls, or even a double bowl with a central half sink. If you are installing a new kitchen sink, remember that it will be heavily used so consider a design that works for your home. When it comes to inbuilt drainage space you might want to consider opting for a stainless steel sink, but if you are more focused on design, a ceramic or graphite sink could work better with your décor and integrate seamlessly with the worktops. Once you have chosen the material and style of your sink the next step is to choose the taps that will go with it. Just like sinks, taps are available in different styles, materials and sizes. If you are thinking of installing a mixer tap with your sink you will need to consider whether your water pressure is adequate as they need a higher pressure to operate properly. Choosing the right tap size is also important with smaller taps working well for small sinks and larger taps for bigger sinks. The types of taps that are widely available are:

  • Mixer taps. These taps mix hot and cold water while also giving you the option to control the water pressure (good water pressure is needed for them to work)
  • Dual Flow tap. A dual flow tap is a great alternative to a mixer tap if your hot and cold water runs at different pressures. A dual flow tap will keep the hot and cold-water streams separated until they are combined as they come out of the tap.
  • Brass tap. A traditional design, a brass tap really stands out and works with any sink design.
  • Brushed, Matt or Satin. These different finishes are available on a range of tap designs and offer an alternative to chrome.
  • Water filter taps. With an in-built water filter, these taps help to filter out excess chlorine and impurities from the water making them ideal as part of a kitchen sink.
  • Pull-out Spray Mixer. With an extendable hose, this tap is perfect for rinsing dishes and food and can be used to control the flow of the water.
  • Pop-up waste. A pop-up waste tap helps you to empty the sink with a mechanism that means you do not need to pull the chain and plug – simply use the tap instead!
  • A monobloc tap is a modern-looking design that utilises one lever to control both the hot and the cold water flow.

Once you have settled on the material, design and finish of your taps, you will want to turn your attention to where the tap is mounted. The two choices of mounting are sink mounted or worktop mounted, but you will also need to make sure that the spout of the tap is long enough to reach the centre of your sink.

Maintaining Your Taps

Properly cleaning and maintaining your taps will not only make them look nicer and more appealing, but it will also help to protect them against damage from limescale and extend their life. When cleaning your taps avoid using harsh materials or abrasive substances so that you do not damage the finish on the taps. If the taps are scratched or damaged in this way, then it means that dirt can build up much faster as well as looking horrible. Many mixer taps are fitted with an aerator or flow regulator to control the flow of the water, reduce limescale and stop the water from splashing out at the sides. Over time, these pieces of the tap will need cleaning or replacing to ensure they keep working. To do this, simply unscrew it and soak in vinegar to remove the limescale or replace it with a new one that is screwed into place. To clean your taps, stick to using warm soapy water with liquid detergent and a soft cloth. Clean all around the base of the tap, the spout and the drain covers. If you have a metal tap such as chrome or brass buffing the tap dry with a clean, dry cloth will make it really sparkle, or you could even use one of the special polishes available.

DIY Safety Tips

When undertaking a DIY project of any size you should always follow the recommended safety advice to keep yourself and others safe. General Safety Guidance Before you start work on a project make sure you are not wearing any loose-fitting clothing or jewellery that can easily get caught. When working with tools always make sure they are kept out of reach of pets and children and if you are working with hazardous chemicals always work in a well-ventilated space. Tools and Equipment Using the right tools for your DIY project will not only help you get the job done right, but it will also help you to do it safely. Before you start, check over your tools to see if they need any repair or maintenance work. If a tool does need any work, you should make sure it is turned off and unplugged before you take it apart and/or change any of the parts. Keeping tools in a good condition is essential for protecting your safety, especially when it comes to tools with a blade. A dull blade can be far more dangerous than a sharp blade! Always remember to cut away from your body too. If you require a set of ladders to complete your project, there are some important things to remember. Firstly, when using A-frame ladders ensure that they are in the locked position before you use them. When using leaning ladders, you should allow for a one foot spread at the base for every four foot of height. Also, remember never to use aluminium ladders near electrical wire because of the risk of electrocution. Finally, when working on a DIY task check that you have a fully stocked First Aid kit before you start. If possible, you should also have somebody around that you trust to help you and assist you in the event of an accident. Safety Tips for Plumbing Work When working on a plumbing DIY project there are further guidelines to be aware of. One of the most important things is making sure that the plumbing work is finished to a professional standard and that it could pass inspection by a qualified plumber. If you are unsure about any elements of your work, you should always ask for the advice of a professional. Before starting any plumbing work in your house, you should also make sure you have turned off the water supply using the appliance isolator valve or stopcock – if this doesn’t work then you will need to shut off the main water supply. It is also important to remember to drain appliances of any excess water once the water supply has been turned off. In some instances, your plumbing project may also require an element of electrical work. If this is the case be sure to have a chemical fire extinguisher to hand (never use a water extinguisher near electrics) If you are making changes to an electrical system always turn off the power beforehand.

Should You Hire a Professional?

Plumbing in a new mixer tap can sometimes be a tricky task so you may be considering hiring a professional plumber to get it done. However, finding the right person to do the job is not as simple as it seems. Firstly, you will want to spend some time researching and reading reviews and then you will need to find a plumber that fits your budget. On average, a plumber will cost around £50 per hour but this will depend on the job at hand and the tradesman offering the service. If you feel confident enough to tackle the job of plumbing in your mixer tap, it is a great skill to learn and it’s not too difficult. There is also a sense of satisfaction that you get after successfully completing a DIY project that you just do not get if you bring in a professional to do it for you. There may be some instances where you do need to call in a plumber. If you have any of the following issues it is recommended to get professional advice before you start. If you have problems with drainage, a low water flow rate, problems with your hot water system, a dripping faucet, or a damaged water line it is best to seek advice before you start your DIY project.

Important Points to Consider Before You Start

Before you begin your DIY project to remove or replace your mixer taps there are some important things you should think about first. Start by checking that you have got all of the tools, fixtures and fittings you need to remove the tap currently in place, and then everything you need to install the new mixer tap. You will also want to make sure underneath the sink and the surrounding areas are cleaned and empty giving you full access to the pipes beneath. It is advisable to keep a couple of spare towels handy to mop up any remaining water sitting in the pipes, it is not uncommon for this water to spill out as you are removing and replacing your taps. When installing a mixer tap (sometimes referred to as monobloc taps) in place of two existing pillar taps there are some important elements you will need to check first. The most important thing to think about is your water pressure, as mixer taps need a high-water pressure to work properly. If you have a mains cold and combination boiler, or a hot water cylinder with cold fed from a tank stored in a high position, then you will be fine the make the switch. If you are thinking of replacing your taps and not your sink or basin you might also want to reconsider. A mixer tap is designed to cover only one hole in the basin, but many older designs are made with two holes for a hot and cold tap. If you have a basin with two holes you will need to replace it for one designed for a mixer tap instead.

How do Mixer Taps Work?

Mixer taps work differently to the standard pillar taps that were traditionally fitted in most bathrooms. A mixer tap combines both the hot and cold-water flow so that it comes out of one faucet instead of individual hot and cold faucets. To make this happen, there are valves inside mixer tap faucets that open and close, lining up with different holes that allow the chosen water setting to flow through. The valves are controlled by the mixer tap handle which can be lifted and turned to the desired temperature and water flow. The valves are small disks or balls depending on the design of the tap. There are two main types of mixer tap, the lift mixer taps and the lever mixer tap. The lift mixer tap is controlled by a ball in the tap faucet that is operated by lifting the handle and turning it around so that the water can flow out. The lever mixer tap uses small disks in the faucet and is turned one way for hot and the other way for cold. Both of these styles are available in wall-mounted designs and various finishes to suit any bathroom style. A mixer tap is much more environmentally friendly than its pillar tap counterparts because it eliminates the need to change between hot and cold faucets to get the right temperature. It also cuts down on the risk of being scolded by hot water or risking the shock of freezing water coming from the taps. Mixer taps can also cut down on the amount you pay for your water and energy bills because they use a lot less hot water when they are mixed into a single stream of water.

What Tools Will You Need?

The tools and equipment you need to plumb in a mixer tap yourself are as follows:

  • Adjustable spanner
  • Grips
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Tap spanner

There should also be parts included with the new mixer tap that you will need for the installation. These are:

  • Fixing studs
  • Washers
  • Nuts
  • Flexible tap tails

Removing an Old Mixer Tap

If you are replacing an existing mixer tap, you will first need to remove the old tap. Before you start you will want to clear everything out from underneath your sink so you can gain full access to the pipes beneath. You might also want to have an old towel and a bowl handy so that you can catch any residual water sitting in the pipes.

  1. Turn off the water supply to your sink using the shutoff valve. If you do not have independent isolating valves you will need to turn off the main water supply by closing the main stopcock. Check that the water has been successfully shut off by testing both the hot and cold taps.
  2. Start to loosen the nut where the tap joins the water pipe using an open-ended spanner. Hold the tap to keep it stable and to stop it twisting at the same time. Make sure the nut is unscrewed completely to free the pipe from the water connection. If you have flexible hose connections, you will need to loosen the nuts where they are fastened to the mains water pipe connections or isolator valves.
  3. Next, to free the tap you will need to loosen the nut that connects it to the mounting surface, again holding the tap so that it doesn’t twist – you may need somebody to help you with this if you can’t reach it. To do this part of the removal the tools you will need vary with the tap design. To remove individual traditional pillar and bridge combination tap styles you will need, either a dedicated basin wrench or back nut box spanner at the correct size depending upon the type of tap you are removing. To remove single block combined or mixer taps you will need an open-ended or a suitably sized box spanner to loosen the nut.

To fully remove the tap, make sure the nut is fully removed from the stud so that the tap can be lifted away with its flexible hoses. Take care to ensure that no washers or seals are left and be careful when withdrawing the hose ends to avoid scratches on the sink from any sharp ends. Once the tap has been removed clean away any residual mess left behind from the open mains pipe connections found under the sink. The old tap can then be disposed of.

Replacing a Mixer Tap

To plumb in your new mixer tap, follow the step by step guide below.

  1. Start by removing your old mixer tap using the steps outline above and wiping down the area to make sure it is clean from any debris.
  2. Take the flexible tap tails and screw them into the tap body tightening by hand.
  3. Screw the fixing studs into the bottom of the tap.
  4. Place the tap over the hole in the basin or countertop (make sure it is at a 90-degree angle to the basin rim) and lower the flexible tap tails and fixing studs through the hole.
  5. From underneath, attach a washer and a retaining plate onto the fixing studs.
  6. Screw the nuts onto the studs by hand only and then check that they are in the right position. When you are happy with the positioning, tighten the nuts using a spanner

Plumbing in a New Mixer Tap

If you are redecorating your bathroom or kitchen and installing a mixer tap where there has not been one before, follow the instructions beneath. You will need either 8mm or 10mm feed pipes and special tap connectors to install the mixer tap.

  1. The first thing you must do is to turn off your water supply.
  2. Then locate the opening for the monobloc mixer (this is usually around 26mm).
  3. There should be a large rubber O ring that sits underneath the block that seals it against the top of the sink as it is tightened in place. There is also a large, flat rubber washer to go on the underside of the basin which has holes in it to line up with the monobloc.
  4. The largest of the two holes in the washer is where the feed pipes are screwed in and the smaller hole is for the threaded connection bars.
  5. Fit the threaded bars first before dropping the tap through the hole in the basin. Tighten them by hand to avoid causing damage to the thread.
  6. Once the tap has been dropped through the hole and the flat washer or mounting plate place over the threaded bars, it is time to slide the steel washer in place.
  7. Then tighten the nuts on the threaded bar using a box spanner. A box spanner is great for places where there is less space (such as underneath sinks) and looks like a long open tube with a nut shaped hole at the end.
  8. Now that the tap is fixed in place you can connect the pipework. Use speedfit fittings or standard fittings of the right size to connect the water supply to the feed pipes. Ensure that fittings are tightened up securely.
  9. Finally, turn the water supply back on and test the tap for any leaks. Make sure you check underneath the sink as well.

Plumbing in a new mixer tap is a fairly simple job and should take between 30 minutes to an hour to install depending on the level of experience of the person installing it. If at any point of the installation you are unsure or require help it is recommended to have a professional plumber on hand that you can call for advice.

Summary

To get a new mixer tap all connected up, it’s not a difficult job and should give you some great experience in plumbing. You may find that it’s something you enjoy doing, allowing you to gain some valuable skills to move on and start tackling other projects in the house! Whatever the outcome of this is, as long as you follow the guide fully you’ll have your new mixer tap all hooked up and ready to go. It’ll also help you to gain some skills in DIY in general, meaning you’re able to tackle more around the house whenever you need to. We hope the above helps you to get your new tap up and running in no time at all. We understand that sometimes it’s hard to wait for a plumber, so we’re here to help with that!