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how to replace a kitchen tap

How to Change a Kitchen Tap: The Complete Guide

Last updated on April 27th, 2024

To change a kitchen tap, you need to turn off the water supply, disconnect the two hot and cold pipes, remove the tap from the kitchen sink via the nuts, and refit everything in reverse order.

I have been plumbing and replacing taps for over a decade, and I can tell you that replacing a kitchen tap can be a walk in the park, or make me want to quit plumbing.

I can be in and out in 20 minutes and feel like a plumbing god, but sometimes it takes a few hours and makes me feel like plumbing isn’t for me. Every situation and setup is different.

Tools Needed

The tools needed to replace a kitchen tap can vary, but here are my recommendations for most kitchen taps with links to my best tools on Amazon:

kitchen tap replacement tools
Kitchen tap replacement tools

Most kitchen taps have a horseshoe-type bracket to hold the tap to the kitchen sink. These horseshoe brackets are held with threaded rods and one or two small nuts.

The nut sizes vary on different taps, so a monobloc tap spanner set between 8 – 13mm will do the job.

This is the same as changing basin taps, kitchen taps and single lever basin taps, they are all virtually the same underneath.

Learning how to change bath taps is quite a bit different and can be a lot harder!

Changing the Tap

To remove the tap:

  1. Lay down a towel under the tap pipes.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the tap. If there are isolating valves on the two pipes under the kitchen sink, turn them off with a flathead screwdriver. If not, you will need to turn the mains water off at the stopcock.
  3. Open the kitchen tap to let the water out, and open a tap upstairs if you have one. This will release the water lying in the pipes.
  4. Disconnect the two pipes connected to the kitchen tap under the sink. This is done by grabbing the fitting with the water pump pliers and turning the top nut anti-clockwise with an adjustable spanner.
  5. Undo the small nuts. Use one of the box spanners from your monobloc tap spanner set to undo the small nuts that are holding the tap onto the kitchen sink. Turn them anti-clockwise to remove the nuts.
  6. Remove the bracket .
  7. Pull the kitchen tap out from the sink.

To fit the tap:

  1. Screw in the new flexible tap connectors into the new tap, hand tight only.
  2. Feed the chrome plate and washer over the tap connectors if you have some.
  3. Screw in the threaded rod(s) if they aren’t already fitted, there’s usually one or two.
  4. Feed the tap connectors through the tap hole in the sink and stand the tap in place.
  5. Fit horseshoe rubber and plate over the threaded rods under the sink.
  6. Screw on the nuts and tighten with a box spanner.
  7. Fit the nuts on the flexible tap connectors onto the fittings that the old ones were on.
  8. Turn the water back on.
  9. Test the tap and check for leaks.
kitchen tap replacement with box spanner
Tightening nuts with a box spanner

Copper Pipe Tap Connectors

Changing a kitchen tap with copper pipe connectors is a bit more tricky than a tap with flexible tap connectors.

You can follow the above steps for the most part.

You will need to cut the copper pipes with a 15mm pipe cutter and fit some isolating valves to the copper pipes, then you can fit the new flexible tap connectors to the new isolating valves after removing the top nuts.

How to Change a Cartridge

To change a kitchen tap cartridge for a dripping tap repair, you need to remove the tap handle (usually with a 2.5mm hex key), and then remove the cartridge with a spanner or pliers.

Then fit the new kitchen tap cartridge and refit the handle to complete the tap cartridge replacement.

Kitchen Tap Cartridge Replacement Video


Replacing a kitchen tap can be difficult, especially if it’s hard to access.

Sometimes it’s virtually impossible to get any tools in properly because of the cupboard or other pipework.

Make sure you turn the water supply off first and tighten the nuts up securely as you don't want the tap coming loose after a few uses.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to help.

Please share this post if you find it helpful.


What size box spanner for kitchen taps?

What size box spanner you need depends on the tap. There is no standard size for the nuts on kitchen taps. You need to buy a set of box spanners, which typically come in 9 – 13mm sizes.

This should cover the sizes of box spanners needed for almost all mixer taps with small nuts.

Why does my kitchen tap drip?

Your kitchen tap drips because the cartridge needs to be replaced most of the time.

The ceramic cartridges get full of limescale and other stuff which means they don’t do their job properly.

This is why it drips and why you will need to replace the cartridge, or sometimes the tap.

Can you change your kitchen tap yourself?

Yes, you can change your kitchen tap yourself.

You will need certain plumbing tools to change your kitchen tap but if you feel competent enough and follow the instructions properly then you can definitely do it yourself.


  • Steven Reid

    I am a full-time plumber and Gas Safe registered engineer. I incorporated Housewarm Ltd. in 2011 to provide heating and plumbing services to homes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I now blog about what I've learned over the years to help DIYers and plumbers.

    View all posts
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2 thoughts on “How to Change a Kitchen Tap: The Complete Guide”

  1. I started to replace a kitchen tap with copper pipes – once I’d acquired the appropriate plumbing wrench, it looked like a simple enough job – unscrew one, drop the new one in the holes and screw up. My question is how do you tell whether water dripping on your face is just residual water or indication that gate valve on the hot pipe is faulty? I played safe and tightened everything back up but my plumber is on holiday. Can I have another go or should I await his return? Thanks

    1. Steven Reid

      If it doesn’t stop dripping then the gate valve must be faulty. If it’s only dripping I would just replace the tap anyway and put a couple of towels down.

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