Adventures in Faucet Fixing
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
I didn’t anticipate needing a scroll saw to install the new faucet.
The house I live in had one previous owner–a mason. The mason built the house and had sons who grew up to be contractors. These sons also worked on the house. Therefore, do-it-yourself projects I undertake here are always an adventure because 1) Things aren’t necessarily how they’re supposed to be and 2) I don’t know what I’m doing anyway.
“If you do any electrical work, be careful,” a handyman once told me. “Some of the wires in this house are installed backwards.” I must admit that to this day I don’t understand exactly what he meant by that, but I get the sentiment: Expect the unexpected.
So when I couldn’t find replacement washers for the leaky old faucet, it didn’t surprise me. When my options for a new faucet were limited to ones that stick directly out of the wall, again, par for the course. And when I had to shut off the water to the whole house because there’s no shutoff valve under the sink? No worries. But when removing the old faucet from the granite backsplash resulted in unscrewing the whole pipe from the wall six inches behind the granite? Gotta say, I wasn’t prepared.
After a trip to Home Depot, I returned with replacement 6″ pipes and held one end with my fingertips as I tried to screw it into the wall–holding a flashlight up to the hole in the granite, squinting to try to see the hole in the wall, hoping I wouldn’t drop the pipe into the inaccessible space in between that goes directly to the crawl space.
I got the pipes in there, but I can’t tell if they’re leaking. So, I just try not to think about it.
The next steps were pretty straightforward. Put Teflon tape on things and screw them together. Got it. Done. But when it came time to actually put the faucet on, a decorative ball on the back of the spout happened to line up juuuuust right with a ledge of granite jutting out above the sink, preventing the faucet from attaching.
Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! When I saw the faucet on my porch after arriving home from work, it seemed like such a good idea to install it right away. But after spending two hours on the project, including my Home Depot trip, I was starting to get frustrated. So frustrated in fact, that in a Clark Griswold haze I had my drill in hand, concrete bit pressed to the granite, starting holes marked in Sharpie, every intention of creating room for that damn little ball to move back and forth. I pulled the trigger and as the bit spun fecklessly, a snap of reason warned that I simply could not fix what I was about to do if it didn’t go well.
So I took a breather. And less than a minute later, a smile crept across my lips as two words emerged from the haze: scroll saw.
Before my mind had a chance to rebut, the tiny blade had made short work of that stupid, needlessly decorative, arrogant little stainless steel ball. And it was solid. So I don’t even need to use silicone. So suck it.
This was luck, as I didn’t measure a thing. As you can see in the picture, there’s only about 1/4″ to spare. And it’s a little crooked. But when I look at it, I don’t see “messed up.” I see victory.
This faucet does more than simply provide water and refrain from dripping when I turn it off. It tells me not to worry. Sure, this house is old and I don’t know what I’m doing. Things will break and I won’t know how to fix them. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to fix them.