How to change a tap and give your kitchen a fresh new look

Sick of the drip, drip, drip? Here's how to replace your old tap with a shiny new mixer

If your kitchen needs a mini makeover, why not upgrade your tap? It’s a job you can tackle yourself, and with a wide variety of taps available from as little as £40, it’s a low-cost upgrade, too. You’ll need access under your sink, and to know how to turn your water supply off and on again.

Read on to get the lowdown on how to change a tap and completely transform your sink area.

wash basin with silver colour tap and tiled wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

How to change a tap – the kit you'll need

  • Masking tape
  • Bucket
  • Towel
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Box spanner
  • Limescale remover
  • Cloth
  • New mixer tap
  • Plumber's pliers
  • PTFE (Plumber's tape)

1. Check your pressure

wash basin with silver colour tap and white tiled walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

This will help you determine the best tap to buy as a replacement. Because, to get the most from your new tap, it’ll need to suit your home’s water pressure. If it’s low, then a tap designed to operate at a low pressure will ensure a steady flow rate, while if it’s high, you can choose one with more innovative features, such as a spray head.

2. Remove the old tap

Make a note
of which supply pipe is hot and 
which side is cold, labelling with masking tape. Turn off your water, either with
the isolating valves, or by shutting the stopcock. Run the tap to drain any water. Spread an old towel inside the cupboard and place a bucket to catch the drips.

3. Disconnect the tap from the water pipes

Loosen the nut attaching the tap to the mains pipe using an adjustable wrench (you may have two supply pipes each end with a compression fitting or two shut-off valves in the pipes under the sink). In each case, loosen and disconnect the joints with the wrench.

4. Remove the tap

wash basin with hand towel and brushes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Symons Hatton)

At the base of the tap, you’ll find a brass nut that holds the tap in place. This is the nut that is screwed onto the threaded bar that is attached to the base of the tap. You’ll
find a washer, too. Use a box spanner or a deep-pocket bar and ratchet. Give the area around the tap hole a good 
clean to remove any limescale.

5. Fit your new tap

Assemble your new tap if necessary. The new tap will have a tube with an external screw thread at its base. Push the tube down through the hole in the sink or worktop, then push the retaining plate and washer over the tube. Fit the nut and tighten with 
the wrench or pliers.

Check the hot and cold connectors aren’t twisted. Reconnect to the supply valves or pipes. If the pipework to your old tap had a flexible hose, then fitting a new tap should be straightforward. If you have solid copper pipes, then unless your taps are the same length, you’ll need to use flexible hosing to bridge the gaps.

6. Finish up

Tighten the joints, and
then turn your water supply back on.

7. Test your tap

cups on top of the kitchen sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Before you tidy away, test your tap works and check that there aren’t any leaks. When testing your new tap, turn it on slowly to avoid an initial rush of water – it may gurgle a bit at first.

8. Fix any leaks

If a compression joint (see step 3) is leaking, you might need to undo the joint and wrap some PTFE tape (plumber's tape) around the inner compression ring.

Amy Cutmore
Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.