Installing And Removing Sinks

A new sink and faucet installation will do wonders for an older kitchen. New colors, shapes, and features create a wide range of options in the world of sinks and faucets. Materials for sinks include porcelain, fired clay, porcelain-coated cast iron and steel, stainless steel, and more. Other alternatives include quartz-acrylic and solid-surface drop-in sinks. Quartz-acrylic sinks are popular among many homeowners and designers because they are attractive, durable, and heat resistant. Solid-surface drop-in sinks are popular for their longer warranties and a seamless look. Clean up debris and tools as you go. It makes the installation easier and faster, plus you won’t bruise your knee on a pipe wrench you forgot was there.

USING ESCUTCHEON PLATES - Split-ring escutcheon plates, available in metal or plastic, fit around the drainpipe covering the hole where the drain line enters the wall or floor. Where plumbing is visible, such as under a wall-hung lavatory, they add a finishing touch. Using escutcheon plates inside cabinets isn't required, but they do help seal around the hole to avoid drafts and insects.


1 Do as much work above the counter as possible. Install the faucets and drain on a single sink before you set it in place. It will make the job easier because space to work is scarce when connecting fittings from beneath a counter.

2 The drain holes on a double sink make perfect handholds for setting the sink into the countertop opening. Install the drain system once the sink is in place.

3 Square up the faucet body on the sink top before you go below and tighten it.

4 Flexible, braided supply line is a great alternative to copper because of its ease of installation. Carefully follow the instructions for hooking up compression fittings to prevent leaks.

5 Avoid using pipe compound on compression fittings; it keeps the fitting from connecting tightly, which can cause leaks.

6 Pipe compound and Teflon tape act as sealants, but they also lubricate the threads so you can fully tighten the connections. Don’t use too much—no more than one pass with compound or two wraps of tape—or you may not get a good connection.

7 PVC is light, easy to use, and more flexible to work with than steel pipe for drain systems.

8 Joint compound is available with and without Teflon. Compound with Teflon is better for general use because it can be applied on plastic, brass, copper, steel, PVC, ABS, and CPVC. Joint compound without Teflon can damage plastic pipe.

9 Avoid using plumber's putty on cultured marble or plastic sinks or fittings; it can discolor surfaces and weaken fittings. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and/or use silicone products.

10 Metal strainer basket assemblies are superior to the plastic kind; they last longer and are less prone to leaking.

11 If the drain isn't exactly where you need it to be, you can usually combine 90-degree and 45-degree elbows and short pieces of straight pipe to make the connection. P-traps and extensions with flexible sections may also help.

12 If the stub coming out of the wall or floor for the drain is metal or an incompatible plastic and you want to install PVC or ABS, use rubber transition fittings to make the connection.

Installing A Countertop Sink

MATERIALS: Countertop sink, fixtures, cardboard template, silicone caulk, masking tape

TOOLS: Tape measure, scissors, carpenter's pencil, power drill and bits, saber saw, caulking gun, putty knife, screwdriver, utility knife, rags

1 CREATE A TEMPLATE. If the sink doesn't come with a template, create one by laying the sink facedown on a sheet of cardboard and drawing a line around the edge. Lift off the sink and draw a second line 3A inch inside the first line. Cut along the inside line with scissors. MARK THE CENTER OF THE CABINET FROM BELOW. Drill a hole large enough to fit a finishing nail.

2 MARK THE CENTER OF THE TEMPLATE. Push a nail through the center of the template into the hole. Center the template and square the edges so the rim will lie entirely on the surface. TRACE THE OUTLINE ON THE COUNTERTOP. Remove the template and place tape along the edge. Replace the template and draw the outline of the sink on the tape. Remove the template.

3 DRILL A 3/4-INCH HOLE INSIDE THE CUTOUT LINE. Use a power drill and spade bit to make a starter hole for the saber saw. INSTALL BRACES BENEATH THE COUNTERTOP. The braces will support the section to prevent it from binding while cutting.

4 CUT OUT THE OPENING. Use a saber saw with a blade designed to cut countertops without chipping the surface. Remove the masking tape. Test-fit the sink and trace the rim lightly on the countertop. APPLY A BEAD OF SILICONE CAULK INSIDE THE LINE. Apply a steady, continuous bead between the mark and the opening.

5 PLACE THE SINK IN THE OPENING. Press the sink firmly into the silicone caulking, then level and clean. Connect the faucets and the drains. Test for leaks. CLEAN AWAY EXCESS SILICONE. Trim silicone caulking with a plastic putty knife fora professional look.

CUT IT SHORT - High-speed cutting tools make short work of cutting holes in drywall and are a perfect alternative to using a saber saw for cutting out a countertop.

Installing A Self-Rimming Sink

1 INSTALL THE SINK. Follow the steps for installing a countertop sink through the first part of Step 4, check for fit, then caulk the rim and lower the under-mount sink into place.

2 TIGHTEN THE CUMPS BENEATH THE SINK. Align the clamps over the countertop; stagger-tighten with a screwdriver as you would the lugs on a tire, alternating so that the clamps tighten evenly.

Removing An Old Sink

OUT WITH THE OLD. Like many plumbing projects, removing the old sink can be the toughest part of a replacement job. Fittings may be rusted or fused tight, and getting around under the counter can be tricky. If it’s a cast-iron sink, it will be heavy, so get help for removal.

1 Before you begin, make sure the new fixture will fit properly into the old hole.

2 Turn off the water supply valves to the hot and cold water faucets. Place a bucket beneath the drain trap. Loosen the slip nuts and remove the trap. Support the bottom of the trap with your hand while loosening the nuts.

3 Remove the bucket and place a shallow tray or rags beneath the sink supply lines to catch remaining water.

4 Remove the coupling nuts connecting the supply tube to the faucet tailpiece.

5 Disconnect additional plumbing for disposers, dishwashers, and sink sprayers.

6 Slice through the caulking around the rim using a utility knife.

7 Lift the sink from the countertop using the drain hole as a handhold.

8 Look for water damage to the countertop and clean any excess caulking from the rim before you install the new sink.

Call your local waste removal service for instructions on disposing the old sink.

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