How To Install A New Kitchen Sink In 20 Easy Steps

27 Apr

On occasion I have been accused of not being too incredibly bad at home repair and improvement. You would think that with a TiVO full of This Old House, New Yankee Workshop and shows of their ilk I would do more. Meh.

I bought a 24 year old house almost a year ago. I bought it from the original owners, a nice older couple. She had decorated it in “country.” Which means wallpaper that would make Martha Stewart gag. But causing former felons to experience involuntary gastric distress is not the point of this post.

Much of the house has not been upgraded since 1983. Among other things the kitchen sink was a constant source of annoyance. A two bowl sink that didn’t fit half of my pots and pans. It was dented and worn with a faucet that barely got the job done. Barely.
Old Sink

Thanks to I found a new faucet. Several weeks after the faucet arrives I finally get around to finding a nice big single bowl sink

6½ hours after beginning yesterday morning it is installed and working great. Granted there was much cursing getting the clips installed to hold down the sink. No really, A LOT of cursing. How much you ask?

A lot.

So you fancy yourself handy with tools and have a day free of other commitments? Follow along on my “Handy Twenty Step Guide To Replacing Your Old Sink With A Shiny And Pretty New One.” Hopefully you will find this incredibly superior to this place.

  1. 9:30AM turn off water and unscrew the barely accessible water feed lines to the old faucet (moderate cursing).
  2. Unscrew old stinky, messy, dirty, icky (did I say stinky?) drain pipes.
  3. Remove disposer. This is less fun than it sounds.
  4. Crawl under the sink. Probably best to clean up the toxic spills under there before you do this. Unscrew the 10 hold down clips (slight cursing)
  5. Pop old sink out with a hearty punch or two from below, exult in your new sinklessness. Regret you used your knuckles rather than your palm. With the hand that is not in ice water clean up the goop that was under the lip of the new sink. You need a clean surface for the wrong color silicon you just bought.
  6. Put new sink in newly revealed old sink hole and examine how much counter you have to trim away to make it fit (mine was about 1/16th-inch all the way around). Note that step six is free from snark, mostly.
  7. Loud noises of saber saw for about 45 minutes as I shave little bits of counter (very carefully) away. Sawdust everywhere (probably up your nose too) new sink fits like a glove.
  8. Apply half a tube of clear silicone. It comes out white. Sigh. Tube says “CLEAR” (not out loud, mind you) Sighing resigndedley (yeah not a word) I continue to glop a big thick bead of white silicone (over half a tube) around the underside edge of sink. Plop sink into place (in fact it did make a PLOP noise, very strange).
  9. install the 10 clips.
  10. Evil Clip

    These things were designed by Torquemada’s much more eviler older brother Spanky. Much time was spent on my back trying to install these clips in the narrow space between the sink and cabinets. Imagine a space your average Kitteh could not fit into. My hands are much bigger than the average Kitteh. This is where 95% of the cursing happened. Note that the first clip took 4.5 (subjective) days to put in, while my caulk was rapidly curing. Frustration + dry silicone = even more cursing. As you can imagine this was my second favorite step.

  11. Caper about the kitchen like a madman once the final clip is installed. Now you can clean up the (white) silicone that squeezed out around the rim of the sink. Apply a small (white) bead all around the sink and wipe up the excess with your wet index finger and a damp paper towel.
  12. Look in despair at the job Spanky did on the drain pipe coming out of the wall. Grit your teeth and cut it at the only place that would allow you even think of the remotest possibility of you even thinking about possibly not calling a plumber to bail you out when you screw this up.
  13. Draw several sketches and fiddle with the old fittings till you think you have a general idea of what to buy. It is now 2PM you should go to TacoDeli and get a HappyTaco plate. Plate is happy. Very!
  14. Realize you forgot to bring a couple of old pipes with you to make sure you get the right kind. You’ll spend about thirty minutes wandering thru the plumbing aisle with your sketch muttering to yourself and pawing thru boxes of white PVC fittings. If you only ask for assistance once you are allowed to feel (moderately) happy about your purchases. For the engineers: 70% happy 30% anxiety at the prospect of having to come back for different parts.
  15. Actually using some of the knowledge you have gained from thousands of hours of This Old House, dry fit the parts from the (new) disposer to Spanky’s “Plumbing Tribute To MC Escher®”. Hmmm, you say to yourself, “I think this may work.”
  16. Clean off the old protruding PVC pipe with some sandpaper. Pipe will be happy in it’s protudeness and new found lack of grime. Open the Purple Stuff. A stinky can of evil smelling purple liquid that primes the surfaces about to to be glued together. Make a “Note To Self,” Purple Stuff stains everything it touches permanently. Fortunately my kitchen floor is next in line to be replaced. Besides it’s only one little spot. So yes it would be good to put down a drop cloth, Mister Fumble McFingers.
  17. Apply the PVC cement and using more of those thousands of DIY show viewing hours cement the adapter on using the Exact Proper Method For Cementing PVC Pipe. cool, it works! Richard Trethewey would be proud.
  18. The rest of it is all hand tightened screw-type fittings. So fit and hand tighten to Richard’s specs. Avoiding another trip to Home Depot at this time would be good. Hopefully you succeed in this too.
  19. Alright you big dummy you forgot to connect the dishwasher drain tube to the disposer drain fitting. So now you have to disconnect all that pretty new drain pipe and remove the disposer. By now you should be getting good at this. Knock out the, errr, knock out plug. Remount everything and attach the dishwasher drain.
  20. Reach up and turn on the water. Woo! Fucking! Hoo! Everything (should now) work with no leaks. Spray head works, and you have both hot and cold water. AHA I am done! Hopefully you are too. More capering about the kitchen is now called for.
  21. Done capering? Good! Look around and note the extreme mess. Also note that the white silicone is clear, it just comes out white. Oh yeah with all the capering and happiness with the (now) clear silicon, you forgot about the twentieth step: cleaning up.

New Sink


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