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July 2008
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Single Handle Faucets and Countertop Surprises

My grandfather taught me, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, where are you going to get the time to do it over?”

I am a lazy guy. If there is anything I can do to avoid working hard, I will spend lots of time figuring it out. Go ahead and laugh, get it out of your system. I’ll wait. From cleaning to building, anything that will make my life easier, I will be first in line.

One of the things I am a fan of, are Single Handle Faucets. Kitchen, Bathrooms, Showers. Single Handle Faucets have the virtue of 50% less moving parts, half the number of replaceable parts, and need 2/3 less holes for installation. Having one small area to clean around rather than the deckplate that most faucets have including that place in the back next to the backsplash, is less time cleaning and more time for other things.

My current client is on the same page. In doing the previous bathrooms, Master Bath Project, Guest Bath Project we had the ability to control the entire process as we gutted and rebuilt them.

 One of the things to do in a bath project is to select the fixtures first.

A couple of reasons. First, sticker shock. Some of those elegant fixtures, and especially sets sink, tub/shower sets, are expensive. Now that you are over that, look at towel bars, hooks, t.p. holders, grabbars if you are so inclined, and try to match the finish to the fixtures you have sold your children for, remember what the goal is.

The Third Bath Project is a refresh rather than a total gut job. We are keeping the vanity and countertop, keeping the tub and tile, removing the old shower door, and reshelving the closet.

This is the new faucet for the vanity. This is a Price Phister, an elegant faucet in a brushed nickle finish, selected for style and repairability. Why would I think about fixing a new faucet? This is Arizona. We have
hard water, full of minerals, which grind the moving parts into
leaking. Replacement parts are widely available. Having spent a significant amount of time selecting a fixture,
as well as a not inconsiderable sum of money on it, It makes no sense
to buy something that will cost as much to repair as it cost in the
first place. 

A lot of other plumbing fixtures, most notoriously Kohler, do not have
parts that can be picked up at your local hardware or supply store. Having to wait for parts is not at the top of the list of
things you can be doing with your life. And if you use a plumber, he will have to come twice. Once to confirm that it needs repair, and again after ordering the parts, getting them in and rescheduling.

Having been through two bathrooms we were ready. So we just need to remove the old faucet and pop in the new one.


Surprise, Surprise,  Surprise!!!!

I have mentioned how I like surprises before,This is what was under the old faucet.


Not one hole or three holes but TWO holes. The tape measure shows that they drilled the holes on a 4 1/2 inch center, not 4” which has been standard for years.The pin hole is for the stop rod for the drain that they managed to drill off center as well. It puts a crimp into the single hole faucet deal.

There are some things I have had no experience with, fewer every year, but repairing solid surface is one of them. So while I did other things, the client tracked down a company, PRO TOPS, 623-388-0660 who said that they could make this go away. 

Since I like to share, here is the setup.

First, the top goes wall to wall, Actually imbedded into the wall. Secondly the mirror goes wall to wall, up to the ceiling. Around 12 feet. The problem is getting the top out without breaking the mirror, or destroying the top. It can’t be repaired in place.


Mike from PRO TOPS showed up, took a look and called Mark. Mark showed up, and ten minutes later the top was out, and on saw horses ready for repair. Notice that they left the mirror back splash in place, only removing the side splashes. The drywall damage was from the original installers. Remember I said that it was in the wall.

Deck2  A couple of hours later it was back in place. With a single hole.


We had the counter left from the Guest Bath project for material to match. This is at least 10 year old Corian.  Repairing holes requires a lot of routers, sanders and a buffer.

First you use a big V profile bit to enlarge the hole, to receive the plug. Next you make plugs using an even larger bit that cuts a large hole outside, and a matching V profile inside to fit it the hole. Then you use colored adhesive to seal the plug. Sand it down, and buff it out.

It took a couple of hours because Mike is one of those guys who does what needs to be done to get it right. The plugs were a problem producing. When he got two he liked he installed them. When he got through, one of them has a faint white line. Called ‘Bruising’. I mean it was a faint line and you has to look real hard to see it. He re-drilled it out and replaced it. This is the finished product.

HoleYou live in Phoenix or nearby, these are the guys to call.