Faucets and Sinks Q and A

modern curved bowl sink with faucet in clean bathroom

Q. I recently installed a new double vanity and faucets into a new bathroom. When I turn on the taps, for a few seconds, the water is milky. This comes from both hot and cold through both sets of taps. Does the faucet cause this? I don't have the same thing from the shower or bath. Is it anything to be concerned about?

A. It could be a residue from the piping. Or you are not used to the new aerators. It should not be a problem.

Q. When I turn on my hot water bathroom sink tap, the pipes in the wall make a ticking noise as they warm up. How can I stop this from happening?

A. Your hot water pipes are expanding when turned on. They are probably rubbing against the studs or the wallboard. The only way to stop it is to open the walls and enlarge the holes the pipe goes through or install clamps.

Q. I just bought a double bowl sink with the faucet holes over the right-hand sink. I want to use a two-handle faucet, but the spout won't reach the left-hand sink unless I find a long faucet. I can't use a spray nozzle because of hard water problems. Can I attach in this order - faucet, handle, handle - instead of the usual handle, faucet, handle order? Will there be any problems with that?

A. Most three-handle faucets have valve bodies that do not allow changing where the faucet spout goes and where to put the stems. It's just built for the spout in the middle. However, for every rule, there are exceptions, and that applies here.

You can buy a two-handle faucet that has separate cold and hot valve bodies with an independent spout. These are still made for the standard installation of handle-spout-handle when you look at the finished product. These faucets are sold with little 3/8" lines usually no longer than 6" in length that connect the valve body of cold or hot to the faucet.

Now here is the problem with this normal installation altered to your configuration: The hose supplied for the cold water (normal installation) will not reach from the far right side to the left side to the spout body's cold inlet. The hot water (left-handed valve) will also need to be reversed, so the outlet is pointing towards the spout, which is far left. It will still need to attach to the faucet spout on the left side.

You could buy a stainless steel braided hose that will reach - 20" will be plenty long enough. Make sure that the hose you buy has a label with all the little code acceptance seals. Big box stores will usually offer two or three types of these hoses, with the cheapest not approved by different coding agencies. They look the same, but they are not.

Q. I'm thinking of putting in a bronze faucet that is marketed by various manufacturers as Venetian Bronze or Rubbed Bronze but can't find any information on upkeep. Does anyone have any experience? It sounds like this is a finish, so I don't know if it will tarnish or discolor or what. I like the look but will go with a stainless or chrome finish if I have to do any upkeep on the bronze.

A. That'll be plating on brass, same as chrome. The density and thickness will depend on the manufacturer, but I would guess the bronze-end market demands high quality. I doubt it will flake off. Bronze does tarnish. It's often chosen for that very reason - character, you know. Once any protective film wears away, a patina will gradually develop: blackish in cracks and where water settles; yet polished where handled.

bronze faucet next to tile backsplash wall

Q. We currently have granite tile kitchen countertops and probably an 8" deep sink. I'm so sick of the water splashing everywhere around the sink each time the faucet is turned on. I'm just wondering if it is possible to replace it with a deeper under-mounted sink because we have granite tile? If it is possible, how extensive and costly will it be to do so?

A. You will find that 10" and 12" deep sinks tend to cost more than 8" deep sinks. The job will require disconnecting plumbing and removing the old sink before replacing it with the new sink and reconnecting plumbing. Reducing the amount of water flow should help keep water splashing under control. Most folks have 8" deep sinks. If you cannot DIY, then you will have to call a plumber. Labor costs tend to vary from area to area. Many plumbers charge for a service call plus an hourly rate.

Q. Please give me a rough estimate on how much it would cost to install a new sink. The original is single, and the new is double.

A.There really is no way to give you even a ballpark figure as to the cost. There are many variables to consider: labor cost in your area, the type of materials wanted - sinks are made from different materials, thicknesses, and gauges. What material are you having the sink installed into? This can vary as greatly as countertops can. Also, consider changes in the plumbing and labor costs. Get three bids from local contractors from different sections of town. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Find out who does their work.

We are from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, and other areas worldwide. All the costs vary from each. What may cost me $30/hr may cost you $100/hr or $10/hr. It all depends on your area and what you are willing to spend.

If you want to do the work yourself and are semi handy, we can talk you through the steps of installing the sink and even tell you what materials you may need. If you have a digital camera or even a scanner and can post a link to your pictures, it would be better to see what you want to do.

Q. I am looking for some ideas here. I have just installed one of those one-piece marble-type sinks. After installing all the plumbing and gluing the sink to the cabinet with a Silicone seal as described in the instructions, I noticed that the drain hole on the bottom is slightly crooked. When I put the large nut on from the bottom, the rubber gasket contacts the sink and squishes on one side only. When I run water in the sink, it leaks from between the rubber gasket and the chrome drain pipe. I am assuming it is due to the gasket not contacting everything evenly. Since I have everything installed, is there a way to stop this leak? I don't want to remove the sink as I think I would damage the cabinet in the process. I don't want to make the nut any tighter as I am afraid of damaging the sink. The instructions say not to use plumber's putty, as it will damage the sink. Should I use a Silicone seal on the gasket?

A. Plumbers putty has some reaction with marble. The drain is leaking between the chrome ring and the sink. You will probably have to use silicone in that area. That's where the plumber's putty would normally go. Loosen the nut under the sink and disconnect the trap. Push up from underneath and apply silicone under the chrome ring inside the bottom of the sink. Pull the drain back down and tighten the nut again. Take a wet rag and wipe the silicone off the surface of the sink, where it will squeeze out. Let it cure for as long as possible before using the sink. The silicone tube should have curing directions and times.

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