Owners Stateroom Head Faucet upgrade

The rear head on DreamChaser was originally built with a nice marble countertop and separate hot and cold faucet for the water supply.  At some point prior to us buying her, someone removed the hot faucet and we were left with just the cold one, and the copper line that supplied water to the missing faucet was just crimped in half and sealed up.  
In addition to that obvious issue requiring upgrade, there was also an issue with these faucets that we didn’t realize until using the boat more.  They were not very high off the countertop (Maybe 2 1/2” or so) and the also didn’t stick out over the sink very far.  This led to two problems, the first being it was just hard to rinse your hands when washing them because you had to rub or touch the side of the sink to get water to run over your hands.  The other was that because they didn’t stick over very far, if you were healed even the slightest bit to port, the water would hit the edge of the sink basin rather than go down into it, making a mess and allowing water to run between the marble and molding.

As we prepped for the project we gathered our supplies.  I don’t know how many other people do projects this way, but we knew this was a project we wanted to do, we had found the faucet on clearance one day so we picked it up and have had it stored this whole time until we were ready for the project.  We like the look of the faucet that kind of looks like the “old time” water well.  The spigot has sides and an open top so you can see the water flowing down it.    

We also picked up the connections that we would need.  In our case, we wanted to make sure that we had a way to turn off the water at the faucet to facilitate working on it or isolating sections of the plumbing system if there were a leak so other parts may still be able to work. We picked up 2 inline valves for turning off the water supply for hot and/or cold.  This allowed us the correct fitting to connect the faucet to as well since we used standard home size/style faucets.  If you take on this project, I would also suggest that you dry fit your parts in the store.  There is nothing worse than getting wiggled into a contorted position to connect 2 plumbing components together and find out that the threads don’t match or the sizes are slightly different.  While we used standard faucets for houses, we have run into issues with previous boats where we still had to make the right sized fitting by combining 2 components. Best to know that prior to starting the project.

I have learned a few tips & tricks for making the work go more smoothly (Mainly because I didn’t do these things in the beginning and figured there had to be a better way ).  If you can lay out all of the parts and tools you believe you will need so they are all close by.  If you thin you might need something it is best to grab that as well.   When doing this project, I did grab an adjustable wrench and have it close by in the event I needed it.  Of course I did, so that turned out to be a good choice to save me some time.

The first step was to remove the old hardware.  This is fairly easy to do and will vary depending on the connections that you have in place with your specific installation scenario.  For us it was rather simple to remove the hardware since one of the faucets was already missing, it was just a matter of disconnecting the copper line and removing the locking nut that held the faucet to the countertop from underneath.  

Because we were going to be replacing the two separate hot/cold faucets with one combined unit, we figured we might have to make the hole larger so we dry fit the unit as soon as we had removed the old one.  Sure enough the opening was too small as we suspected it might be, but the good news is that it was not off by much.  Suspecting we may have to do this, I read up on marble and how to drill or cut it.  Everything I read indicated that this was typically difficult and that marble tends to crack along the “veins” or “grain” of the marble.  I told Deb before we started this project that there was a 50/50 chance that we might crack the marble and have to replace it.  
Frankly Deb was ok with that, it is not a large piece of marble so cost wouldn’t be as much of an issue as the work to install it, trim around it and cut the openings for the sink and faucet.  

I saw this bit online that is designed to go in a “Roto-Zip” tool and was designed for stone such as marble, granite, etc.  I don’t have the “Roto-Zip” but figured I may be able to get decent results with a drill on high speed.  

With the bit in the drill, I was able to run it on high speed in a circular motion around the inside of the hole to smooth it out and make it a bit wider.  
The shape of this particular faucet we were installing had 2 anchor points below so the hole had 2 divots on each side where these bolts would go through the counter top.  This was rather easy to widen using this bit but moving it an up and down motion while it was turning.  The key was to not push too hard, but rather let the tool do the work by applying gentle pressure.  
Once the hole was ready to accept the faucet, I cleaned up the countertop and removed all dust to ensure none was trapped under the new fixture.  The faucet was tightened to the bottom side of the counter with the rubber mat and metal backing plate.  From here is was pretty easy.  Attach the hot and cold water lines to the source and validate that all was working
according to plan.   With this particular unit, there was a small brass fitting and screen that went between the water source and the faucet connection.  The opening in this brass fitting was only about as thick as a #2 pencil lead, which indicated to me this would be a good way to help reduce the amount of water used as well while still having plenty of pressure and supply.

We have enjoyed the new fixture and realized that it is the small things that sometimes you really appreciate.  In this case that little bit of extra height and ability to easily wash and rub your hands together under the running water was really something I appreciated more than I expected to.  One of the things that may have made this better was if the drain and plunger plug that came with the faucet would have been the right size for this sink.  I ended up not installing it and if we want to “fill” the sink we will have to use the small rubber plug as opposed to pulling up on the small lever behind the faucet. 

One of our future projects will be installing a shower in this rear head as well, however that is not a priority right now given the shower/tub combo in the forward head.  

Until next time, here is hoping you have a favorable wind and a following sea.