Simple, (I hope!), plumbing question!

So I’d like to purchase a new vanity, for a bathroom revamp I’m considering undertaking. And, of course, a new faucet. The vanity is easy, I’ve been looking around, there’s lots I can find that suit me and can be ordered online. It’s the faucet that’s tripping me up.

How exactly do you insure you’re purchasing a faucet that will properly fit, whatever vanity with sink set up, you purchase? They clearly seem to have a different set of openings, without much explanation provided.

So, like, what am I missing? Any hints would be greatly appreciated!

At a home improvement store, you can examine vanities and faucet sets in real time, and easily see what goes where. Even if you expect to purchase your final choice online, a few hours spent hands-and-eyeballs-on is a cheap way to avoid disaster.

You might even luck out and find a store employee who can help.


I believe faucet dimensions (as far as mounting goes) are pretty standardized.

These are confusing answers for me.

Should I order the vanity, take the measurements, go ‘hands on’ at a store and hope I find a suitable fit? I can’t take it with me to the store, which seems like room for error, or worse, they don’t carry THAT size. How will I know if it’s easy to match, or not?

It seems unlikely they are standard as there are a wide variety of vanities with sinks that clearly have different configurations for different style/sizes faucets.

Not trying to be difficult, just trying to avoid making a boneheaded error and end up having to switch things out, make lots of trips, or return things.

(Thanks for your input regardless!)

The hole spacing for faucets is standardized. Kitchen faucets are usually eight inches on center (meaning there’s eight inches between the hot and cold taps) while many bathroom faucets are four inches on center. If you really need something oddball, it’s always possible to have a faucet that only needs one hole or where the hot and cold taps are separated so they can be placed where you want (or you drill the holes yourself in the counter surface).

I work at a plumbing supply house. There are 3 main faucet drill options.

Single hole

4”cc also called centerset this is three holes 2” on center apart so 4” from center to center of the outer holes.

8”cc or widespread. 3 holes 4” apart.

If you want separate handles you use the 8”. 4” you will typically have either two handles or a single handle on a flared wider base.

They used to sell “mini widespread “ which are terrible. Nearly impossible to clean.

For vanities under 30” wide I recommend single hole.

If you find a top you love pre drilled for 4” cc but want a single hole faucet you can use a cover plate to cover all 3 holes. I don’t recommend this for 8” though. You have to use a kitchen cover plate and it just does not look good.

Thanks for these tips.
They help a lot!

Something that’s apparently NOT standard is how far “forward” the spout extends. I’ve seen photos and video where the water stream barely reaches the bowl of the sink. No way you could get your hands underneath to wash them of wet a facecloth.

Perhaps there were un-drilled and the installer/homeowner messed up.

Something to watch for.

While the spout length is not standard, the relative drain location is in a fairly close position. Any given spout may be long longer or shorter but the aerator angle will make up for that to end up with the stream in the same place. Grohe goes a step further with some of their aerators and they can swivel a couple degrees for fine stream placement. I wish this was on all faucets.

Another interesting point (which my unfortunate experience, was with the kitchen sink). It was a single holer, at the back of the sink. Turn out there was maybe 2 or 3 inches between the deep sink and the back of the cabinet, and from the sides, the faucet’s water pipes were in the way… First I had to wiggle in with hands around the drain plumbing, then I had to figure out how to tighten a bolt to clamp the faucet in place. (After 14 years, the original install had loosened and the whole stem turned).

So don’t neglect this issue. Perhaps put the faucet into the vanity top before you worry about attaching water feed or drain - with the counter off the cabinet, if possible.

(I ended up using a monstrosity consisting of an open-ended wrench end (Sort of “C” shaped) which took a 1/4" socket drive; then a socket wrench extension down to a small ratchet. Then I could tighten the nut 1/12 of a turn at a time, while avoiding an open “wrench” socket that wanted to drop on my head every time I took it off the nut. YMMV)

Ya needed a basin wrench!