The question of how to tighten a faucet on a granite countertop is not as simple as tightening a screw. I found out the hard way that granite counters are not your average material to work with. Before putting a wrench to those beautiful faucets that are mounted to a granite surface, learn the rules before causing any potential damage.
Table of Contents
- How is Granite Different from Laminate
- Installing a Faucet on a Granite Countertop
- When a Kitchen Faucet Begins to Wobble
- How to Fix a Loose Faucet Base
- When Bolts and Water Valves are Hard to Reach
How is Granite Different from Laminate
Ten years ago, I was proud of the fact that I could prepare and install a laminate countertop with little help. It was just like working with a stiff board and making exact measurements. The home improvement store had pre-cut counters and trimming and leveling the only requirement.
The new granite and quartz models intrigued me and honestly, it was time for a new countertop. My old laminate had served its purpose but had plenty of scratches and burn marks from hot pans. The old kitchen faucets needed a rubber gasket replaced once, but otherwise, they were in good shape.
My carpenter, Frank, had warned me that working with granite was more complex than laminating, especially with the fittings. He recommended a good plumber to select fixtures that would work best with stone countertops.
I have found stainless steel faucets with ceramic discs to work best with granite countertops. Not only do they come in modern designs, but the quality of manufacturers, like Grohe, feature outstanding materials that withstand the test of time.
Bob, my plumber, had extensive experience in faucet installation and repair. Besides his great plumbing skills, he provided me with a pamphlet that outlined the care and common problems that could occur. Bob explained that a stone countertop did not bend and could crack if exposed to too much stress. I could recommend a few YouTube instructional videos, but sometimes, it’s better to get professional tradespeople to do this.
Leaning on the outer edge of marble surrounding a sink could cause cracks to appear and grow larger. The cabinet, basin, or countertop may need to be repositioned and rebalanced. You should look at experts to examine this type of work, while you can handle other problems.
I got cozy in a corner while Frank and Bob worked on installing my new countertop, sink, and faucets. I am chuckling because it seems so common that any plumber or carpenter is usually a Bob or Frank. Nope, no Joe the Plumber this time around.
Installing a Faucet on a Granite Countertop
We must predetermine the location of the handles before the countertop gets installed. Unless you are good with a drill, leave the measuring and cutting to the pros. The selection of the faucet should also be the long-shank style for easier installation. Keep the manufacturer’s instructions for future use as to the placement, types of seals, and tools needed.
When a Kitchen Faucet Begins to Wobble
This is an easy fix on most models of faucets. Shut off the water supply lines so as not to worry about water flowing while you are working. A Moen kitchen faucet will have a small screw located under the base of your faucet. Other manufacturers may have another screw and nut close to the end of the water line. Carefully tighten these nuts and screws with a small size wrench or screwdriver.
How to Fix a Loose Faucet Base
A loose faucet base will take a little more work than a handle. The faucet bolt that keeps the fixtures in place can begin to wear and strip off the threads. You can see this by looking under the sink where the connections to the water supply valves are located.
Always plug the drain to prevent nuts and bolts from sliding down the drain. Second, use your flashlight to find the long bolts that extend below the sink. Clear out the cabinet portion to move about easily.
Next, shut off the water supply to the faucets and drain any water. Shut off the hot water valve first, then the cold water valve. There may still be water in the lines, so be careful when you relieve the pressure.
A basin wrench will work best in loosening washers. However, a pair of pliers or a socket wrench is also an option. If you are lucky, the threads may be undamaged, and the bolt has just wiggled loose. If this is the case, tighten the nuts and check the faucets for tightness.
When Bolts and Water Valves are Hard to Reach
I have been under a kitchen sink before and found it a little cramped. Not only this, but maneuvering your fingers and hands around the bolts and pipes can be very difficult. I soon discovered that I was going to need a basin wrench to get a proper hold on the fasteners. Basin wrenches work well to slip onto the nut that secures the bolt. Adjustable wrenches are also helpful in small, tight areas.
The water lines and proximity to the wall make it almost impossible to get a good grip on the targeted bolt. By this time, I also realized my flashlight was pointing off toward the wall. I remember the rechargeable beanie that my kids got me for Christmas. This was perfect for seeing the pipes.
Finding the water pipes and using the basin wrench for a good grip, unloosen the pipes and examine the threads for any sign of stripping. Hopefully, the bolts have just loosened and will only need to be re-tightened. Test out the faucets and base for any feeling of wobbles.
After I finished reading the pamphlet, I asked Bob if he thought I could handle tightening the faucet without damaging my new kitchen counter. He found it amusing that I was expecting problems before they even completed the installation.
Bob assured me that the fixtures would be fine unless there was a problem with the installation. In this case, he would be happy to make any premature faucet repairs. He also guaranteed his work for one year should the faucets become loose.
I was relieved to hear this. I did not want to buy a basin wrench if there was little need for one for any other maintenance job. This little plumbing wrench can cost anywhere from $15 to $74 at Home Depot.
Granite countertops with a sink and faucet made my kitchen stand out with elegance. Purchasing top-grade faucets was also a wise decision with a lifetime guarantee. I am no longer worried about loose faucets and how to repair them.
My only problem now is to stop leaning against the front sink when preparing food or cleaning up after a meal. I can train myself, but the kids may be a little tougher. At least I have found a skilled carpenter and plumber to get me through the tough spots.
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Karen Gillan, Senior Writer
Experienced Writer with 20+ years. Demonstrated writing experience includes technical writing, magazines, story writing, and journalist projects. Karen has a powerful media and communication background with academic training from LaSalle University (architecture, interior design) and business college courses. She loves editing novels and contributed to a national art journal.