Figure 1 - Sink, vessel, basin faucet
Replacing a set of bathroom faucets is a diy home improvement project that most home handymen can undertake.
These faucet can be one piece or three piece construction. In the vast majority of cases the one piece construction uses holes in the vanity top, sink or basin itself of four inch centers. Three piece, separate hot and cold valves and a separate spout generally use eight inch.
It should be noted that one piece faucets that utilize one hole in the sink, basin or counter tops are now available, some will come with plates to hide any precut holes, if this is a faucet replacement rather than a new installation.
If you purchase a sink or basin that has the faucet mount through it, the holes should be pre-drilled and generally can be purchased with one hole or 3 holes on four inch or eight inch centers.
Faucets that are on four inch centers can have separate valves for hot and cold or they can have a common valve that mixes the hot and cold water and controls water flow.
Many bathroom faucets will also have a lever or other mechanical mechanism that controls the drain plug. The lever is generally fitted behind the spout and connects via rods to the sink or basin drain stem. If the faucet that you purchase includes the drain plug control it will also include a sink or basin drain stem. The units work in combination with one another and in general you cannot mix and match.
Connection to the faucets are made with threaded fittings. It is wise to do any soldiering that may be necessary before making the final connections to the faucets, this will avoid accidentally applying heat to the valve stems and damaging washers and gaskets.
The easiest way to make the connections between the water lines (a shut off valve should be mounted on each of the water lines and the faucets is with a flexible pipe that is designed for the application.
Although one pays for what one gets, in the case of faucets in many cases the price is not relevant to the quality of the valves, but more so to the design and finish of the entire assembly.
It should be noted that while most sink or basin faucets have matching shower and tub faucets, this is not always the case. If you want to have matching faucets throughout the bathroom it is wise to purchase all of the units at same time.
If you are buying a separate shower and tub faucet, make sure that the finish actually matches. Chrome glosses vary as does other types of plating between manufacturers. A brushed nickel from one manufacturer will most likely not match the brushed nickel of another manufacturer.
Additional information on remodeling bathrooms.