Kitchen faucets tend to get loose with time. Loose kitchen faucets are not only annoying but can also damage your plumbing. Here’s why your kitchen faucet keeps coming loose:
The primary reason for kitchen faucets to come loose is an untightened nut that holds the faucet base and head together. This nut is located on the underside of the mount and can get loose with time as its threads get damaged.
Loose kitchen faucets are a fairly common issue. If not repaired timely, they can cause leakage in plumbing. Fortunately, tightening a loose kitchen faucet is an easy DIY job with the right tools!
- 1 Why Does My Kitchen Faucet Keep Coming Loose?
- 2 Repair Your Loose Kitchen Faucet At Home (5-Step Guide)
- 3 Tighten Kitchen Faucet Handles at Home
- 4 Loose Kitchen Faucet Repairing – A Word of Advice
- 5 Wrapping it Up
Why Does My Kitchen Faucet Keep Coming Loose?
Kitchen faucets can keep coming loose even after you’ve tightened them again and again. This is common in older kitchen faucets but can happen with new ones as well.
The faucet base and head are coupled together with an undermount bolt. When the screws that hold this bolt in place come loose, the faucet also loses its place and starts to swivel.
Here’s a visual representation of a faucet’s undermount bolt and the screws holding it in place:
The most common reason for this nut to get loose is damaged threads on the bolt. In other cases, the nut may be loose because an old plumber made it to “slip”.
Here’s what damaged threads on a bolt look like:
If a nut is overtightened to the point that it slips on the bolt, it is likely to lose its grip on the bolt. This causes the faucet to keep coming loose as well!
Repair Your Loose Kitchen Faucet At Home (5-Step Guide)
Fixing a loose kitchen faucet doesn’t require much hassle or even a plumber. It is really just a task of tightening the bolt that fastens the faucet base and head together. The only not-so-simple task is locating the nut. Once you’ve found it, it’s just a matter of rotating it till it is tight enough.
To make it easier for you, I’ve broken down the entire procedure into 5 simple steps. But before we move on to the step-by-step guide, here’s what you will need to carry out those steps and fix your lose kitchen faucet:
- A flashlight to find the undermount bolt under the sink
- Adjustable basin/sink wrench to tighten the faucet bolt. You can try using a regular wrench, but it didn’t work for me so I won’t recommend it to you either. Basin wrench makes it easier to access the bolt.
Tip: Since you’re probably only going to use a basin wrench once, it’s understandable to not go through the hassle of buying it. Fortunately, you can also rent one instead of buying. (Try to look online for possible opportunities in your area).
With the right tools in your hands, this should hardly be a 30-minutes job. Let’s get started!
Step 1 – Empty Out the Under-sink Cabinet
If you’re like me (and 80% of the people I know), you use the cabinet under your sink as a storage space for cleaning products and tools etc. Remove all the items from the cabinet and clean it a bit so that you don’t get yourself all dusty.
Make sure to clean the upper surface so that you don’t end up with dirt on your face (or eyes, in the worst case) when you’re trying to find the bolt. Although optional, it doesn’t hurt to take this extra precautionary measure to prevent any mishaps.
Step 2 – Turn Off Water Valves
Before you start searching for the bolt, find the water valves under the sink and turn them off.
This is another precautionary measure to take. You would find two valves under your sink. Turn them off so that in case of a pipe-burst or anything else, you don’t end up getting soaked all over.
Step 3 – Get Under the Sink & Find the Bolt
Finally, take the flashlight and slide into the cabinet under your sink facing upwards. Position yourself such that you’re facing the underside of your sink directly.
Turn the flashlight on and locate the bolt on the roof of the cabinet. This bolt should be directly below your kitchen faucet’s location. (I shared an image of this bolt in this post’s beginning. You can refer to that if you’re not sure what exactly you’re looking for)
Step 4 – Set the Wrench to Right Size
Now, set your wrench’s size according to the nut on the faucet bolt. This is the nut that you’re going to tighten.
Step 5 – Rotate the Nut to Tighten it
Finally, get a firm grip on the nut with your wrench and turn it clockwise. Depending upon the exact location of this nut and the size of your cabinet, you may have to get into awkward positions to get the task done properly.
Be careful while tightening the nut. Under-tightening will not fix your faucet in place but that doesn’t mean you can tighten it as much as you want. Keep going until you feel like it cannot be moved further and stop. Don’t try to overtighten it or else you may cause it to slip over the bolt.
And you’re done! Get out of the cabinet and turn the water valves on again. Before placing your stuff back in the cabinet, I recommend trying the faucet first to check if you have really repaired it. If it’s no longer loose, you’ve done it! Place the things back in the cabinet.
Note: If the faucet still seems loose, go back to see if you can tighten it further. If nothing works, it’s wise to call a plumber and have him inspect the situation. Before doing that, you can also try another DIY-solution: tightening kitchen faucet handles.
Tighten Kitchen Faucet Handles at Home
Loose kitchen faucet handles also hinder the proper functioning of the faucet. If tightening the faucet itself doesn’t work, you may want to check the faucet handles as well.
To do this, you’ll need:
Step 1 – Empty Out the Sink Cabinet
Remove all objects from your sink cabinet and clean around a bit.
Step 2 – Turn Off Water Valves
Find the two water valves in your sink cabinet and turn them off.
Step 3 – Identify Your Faucet Type
Your faucet is likely to be secured with either a hex-head screw or a phillips-head screw. Here is how they both look like:
However, if you can’t see the screw’s head, it means you have to remove the decorative cap first to reveal which kind of screw you’re dealing with. A decorative screw cap looks something like this from an external point of view:
(before indicates the screw without the cap and after shows the screw covered with it)
You can remove the decorative cap in the handle using your flathead screwdriver or a knife. (Use the edge of the flathead screwdriver or the knife to remove this cap. Simply slide the edge under the cap and lift it.)
Step 4 – Tighten the Screw
Depending upon the screw type, you may use a hex head or Phillips screwdriver.
While using a hex head wrench, you may need to turn your faucet handle on to fix the screw (this is why we turned off the valves earlier).
On the other hand, if you’re using a Phillips screwdriver, you may need to hold the handle in place while rotating the screw clockwise.
Turn the valves on and check your faucet base and handles again. Put the decorative cup back if everything seems fine. Don’t forget to put the cabinet’s things back in too.
However, If the problem persists, it’s best to contact a professional.
Loose Kitchen Faucet Repairing – A Word of Advice
A loose kitchen faucet base moves freely and can cause the faucet’s water supply lines to rupture. This results in an annoying leak. The way to fix this is to tighten the bolt that fastens the faucet base and head together.
However, this is not always the recommended solution. If your faucet is only leaking off and on or only a little, it may be best to leave it alone for a few months. In such cases, an attempt to tighten the faucet may cause irreparable damage, leaving you with no solution but to get a new faucet.
If you’ve decided to buy a new faucet, our detailed review of the best kitchen faucets on the market will be a helpful resource.
If you’re really confused, consult a trusted plumber and get his opinion on the matter.
Wrapping it Up
Loose kitchen faucets may be annoying, but they are more common of an issue than you may think.
Fortunately, they can usually be fixed easily at home. All it takes to tighten a loose kitchen faucet are the right tools and a bit of willpower.
You can also get a plumber’s help if you really want to avoid the hassle but it still doesn’t hurt to know a basic how-to for an emergency, right?
I hope you got all your queries answered in this post. If not, drop your questions below and I’ll get to them ASAP!
George: I’ve got a 1 year old, single hole moen faucet with a pull out sprayer. It sits on a granite countertop. The faucet tends to turn/rotate fairly easily. I’m going to remove the spray hose and re-tighten the nut (cap nut?).
Should I put some plumbers putty or silicone under the faucet to help prevent it from turning?
Either should work fine in my experience.