How To Tighten A Kitchen Faucet Nut Under The Sink

Perhaps your new (or seasoned) kitchen faucet sprung a leak near the base of the unit. If you don’t have any plumbing experience, this can seem like a horrible outcome causing you to jump to conclusions. But before you get too carried away with what you might have to do for repairs, read through our guide. 

A wobbly faucet leaking from the base (or one that is leaking but not noticeably wobbly) is a common issue. Luckily, the fix is easy – generally, it’s as simple as tightening the nut securing the faucet to the sink deck. We’re here to help, so continue reading to learn more!

Can A Loose Faucet Nut Cause My Faucet To Leak?

A leaky faucet can quickly become a nightmare. If your faucet constantly leaks and the issue goes unchecked for a while, it could lead to considerable water damage in the cabinet beneath your sink. Water damage opens the door to other problems, including unwanted visitors like mold and mildew. 

But if you catch the problem fast enough, these potential problems shouldn’t be an issue for you. Even if they are, you can remedy the situation (clean out the mold and dry out the cabinet).

While there are multiple potential culprits behind your leaky faucet, a loose faucet nut is one of the most common issues. Beneath your sink, you’ll find a faucet nut securing the sink to the countertop or sink deck. If this nut is loose, it can give water an alternative path (out the bottom of the faucet) instead of sending it where it needs to go. 

In other cases, the leak might actually be coming from the faucet handle, even though it looks like it’s leaking from the faucet base. So, before you assume the worst of the nut underneath the sink deck, check the handle for leakage. Sometimes, water will run down the backside of the faucet and pool around the base, making it look like the faucet is leaking from the base. 

When the handle is the culprit, it’s usually due to a loose nut within the handle assembly. You can quickly remedy this problem by removing the handle and tightening the nut to prevent water leakage. If you determine the handle isn’t the problem, there’s a good chance the problem originates beneath your sink. So, let’s turn the focus to beneath the sink.

How Do You Tighten The Faucet On A Kitchen Sink?

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Once you determine that the faucet nut underneath the sink is the problem, you can start the repair process. Tightening the faucet nut is a simple process that usually only takes a few minutes, provided you have the necessary tools on hand. If you don’t have the necessary tools, you might have to run to your local home improvement store to pick up what you need. Other than that, you should have your faucet fixed within a few minutes. 

Collect Your Tools

First things first, you need to gather your necessary tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Basin wrench
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Flashlight
  • Towel (as needed)

While a basin wrench isn’t a standard tool for most folks, it’s good to have it on hand. The space between the sink and cabinet wall is often tiny, so installing and removing a faucet is tricky. Wiggling your hands into this tight space to tighten or loosen the faucet assembly can be complicated with standard tools, so investing in a basin wrench doesn’t hurt. 

This tool allows you to easily access the faucet nut for easy installation and removal. You can buy one from your local home improvement store for reasonably cheap if you don’t have one. 

Prep The Area

After collecting your tools, it’s time to prepare your work area. You can skip this step if you don’t store anything underneath your sink. However, since many of us store everything but the kitchen sink in there (okay, not really, but close), you’ll need to clear out this space.

Remove everything you can from the cabinet and set it aside to give yourself enough space to work. If the area underneath the sink is damp due to the leak, use a towel to wipe up the water (or lay a towel in the cabinet). 

The cabinet space underneath a sink is usually restricted enough as is, so be sure to remove everything that doesn’t need to be in there. 

Align The Faucet

Once you’re ready to start tinkering with the faucet, check its alignment on the sink deck or countertop. Make sure it’s facing forward and isn’t twisted toward one side. When the faucet’s retaining nut is loose, the faucet can wiggle around, so be sure to check this before you tighten it underneath the sink. 

Tighten The Nut

After you align the faucet’s position, have someone hold it in place while you switch your position to underneath the sink. Use your headlamp to visualize the assembly, then reach up and tighten the retaining nut by hand (if it’s excessively loose). 

Next, use your basin wrench to finish tightening the nut. Simply clamp the tool onto the nut, then turn the handle clockwise to tighten the nut. Secure the nut firmly in place, but don’t overtighten the nut, as this can make removal a nightmare. 

In some scenarios, you might need to remove nuts on the P-trap that secure it to your sink’s tailpiece, as the P-trap might block access to the faucet assembly. If you need to remove the P-trap before tightening the nut, be sure to catch the excess water in a bucket (there will be water in there if the trap is functioning correctly). 

Note: If your faucet has screws or hex bolts securing it to the sink deck, use a long-handled screwdriver to tighten the screws or a socket set to tighten the bolts. 

Check Your Handiwork

Lastly, it’s time to check your handiwork. Check the faucet for movement, ensuring it’s firmly in place on the sink deck or countertop. Turn the water on and look for water leakage at the base of the faucet. If everything looks okay, then you’re good to go!

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