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We have bathroom sink faucets where the centers of the hot and cold handles are 4 inches apart, which means it is a mini widespread faucet. They need to be replaced. There are fewer good choices for affordable mini widespread faucets, so can they be replaced alternatively by a regular widespread or a centerset faucet instead? Centersets are made with both handles and the spout all mounted on the same flat bottom metal piece, and the sink the holes are cut into is slightly curved (see photo), however we do have another similar sink which does have a centerset faucet working fine.

Alternatively we may be interested in a widespread fixture. They typically say to use them for a range of 6 to 12 inches (sometimes explicitly saying not to use it for a 4-inch spread). But would it still work? The sink is over a cabinet, and the hoses are typically flexible, so I don't know what the reason would be that it couldn't work, but I'd like to check before ending up with an unusable faucet.

I found that according to a post on Faucet Shower Guide:

[Y]ou can replace a centerset faucet with widespread faucet. If you have proper space in the bathroom sink then do three holes for the widespread faucet and now you can easily replace the faucet. At the time of replacement measure faucet size, it is 4-inch or 8-inch. Replace it with the same so you don’t need to do any extra work for installation.

However I was confused by that and am not sure what it's saying.

Sink faucet Old mini widespread sink faucet with ruler

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  • Maybe it would help if you'd link to one of the faucets you've found that claims a 6" minimum spread. In my experience you can put most on a 4" spread.
    – isherwood
    Jan 6 at 21:44
  • @isherwood In our house with the bathroom sinks, some of them have an 8 inch spread and some have a 4-inch spread. The faucets for three distinct holes listed online, as per their description, seem to exclude use on the 4-inch spread. We actually do have a third bathroom where it appears to be a 4-inch spread of 2 handles and the spout all mounted on a single metal structure and it is on a similar looking sink, so perhaps we should get a replacement like that rather than looking for one that more matches the current old faucets we need to replace?
    – A L
    Jan 6 at 21:47
  • @isherwood I’m having a hard time pasting into the comments but you can look on Amazon for “8 inch 3 hole widespread bathroom faucet with metal pop up drain by Phiestina” - that was the one I was looking at, but the other 3 hole faucets that weren’t mounted together said the same thing.
    – A L
    Jan 6 at 21:51
  • @isherwood Trying to find other faucets, the TimeArrow TAF830Y-CP actually even explicitly says not to use it for 4-inch spreads.
    – A L
    Jan 6 at 21:56
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    I googled bathroom faucets and got 4" spreads. Jan 6 at 22:02
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The problem with a traditional widespread faucet would normally be the sheer physical size. You will probably find that the girth of the spout where it meets the deck will interfere with the handle escutcheons/trim. However, if you find one that fits there should not be a problem.

Centerset lavs are typically fine to use where a mini-widespread was installed. In fact, the mini-widespreads are a (relatively) new type of product to give consumers a more decorative option for sinks originally designed for the formerly "standard" 4" centerset lav.

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