How to Replace a Kitchen Sink

Replacing a kitchen sink can be a simple way to update your kitchen both aesthetically and functionally. In this guide, we’ll cover the steps you need to both remove your old kitchen sink and install a new one. Replacing a sink isn’t a difficult task, but it’s important to follow the right steps to avoid any potential leaks or malfunctions. 

replacing a kitchen sink, black sink

There are generally three different types of sinks that you’ll find in a kitchen. The most common, and the kind that we’ll be covering today, is a top mounting sink. This is where the top of the sink drops in and fits right over the top of the counter.

There are also under-mount sinks, where the sink gets mounted from underneath the counter. This type of sink allows you to wipe things from the counter, right into the sink.

The third type sink is called an integral sink, where the sink and countertop are all one piece. This type of sink is most common in bathrooms and is rarely found in a kitchen. 

What you’ll need 

  • Large Pliers
  • Wrench
  • Plumbers Putty
  • Caulk
  • Putty Knife
  • Level
  • Bucket or Towel

Turning off the Kitchen Sink Water Supply

Before removing the old sink, you’ll want to start by shutting off the water supply to the sink. Most newer sinks will have a supply valve on one or both of the pipes to stop the water supply to the sink, but if you have an older house you may need to shut off the water to the entire house. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the flow of water to the sink.

After the water is turned off, you can open the valve to the faucet to release any pressure in the lines. 

Removing the Old Sink

Now we’re ready to begin removing the old sink. We’ll start by disconnecting the P-trap. This is the U-shaped pipe held together by a slip-nut on each side, connected to the drain pipe. If the nuts are too tight to loosen by hand, you may need to use pliers.

You’ll want to have a bucket or thick towel below the trap before you begin un-screwing it, as it will retain a small amount of water. 

Next, you’ll disconnect the coupling nuts the connect the water supply tube to the faucet’s tailpiece. This is the line that feeds water through the faucet. The faucet can also be removed, but it’s just as easy to leave it connected to the sink while it’s being removed. Just be sure to disconnect the water supply line that runs to the faucet below the sink. 

You’ll also need to remove any other plumbing fixtures that connect to the sink, such as a garbage disposal or sink sprayer. Be sure to double check that there are no plumbing lines still connected to any part of the sink. 

Image: HomeTips

If you have a newer sink, you might notice that there is a U-shaped bracket system connecting the sink to the bottom of the counter. You’ll need to make sure to unscrew all of these brackets before removing the sink, so as not to risk damaging the counter. 

Finally, you’ll need to take a utility or putty knife and break the seal of caulking between the counter and sink, all the way around the sink. Do this carefully so as not to damage the counter. Although, it should come up without any issue. 

Now you’re ready to carefully lift the sink from the counter. After you remove the sink, take your putty knife and clean up any loose caulking that remains on the lip of the counter. 

How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Prior to installing the sink in the opening, you’ll want to install the faucet, basket strainer, and any sprayers to the new sink. This will save you the hassle of having to keep getting up and down after the sink is in the opening. However, if you don’t have enough space to do so prior to installation, it’s fine to wait until the sink is in the opening. 

If you have saw horses, use them to set the sink on. This will make it easier to move the sink around while attaching the hardware. 

To install the basket strainer, start by forming a ring with your plumbers putty that will go around the underside of the strainer, between the strainer and the drain opening in the sink. Make the putty rope about 1/4″ thick. 

Place the putty ring in the drain hole in the sink. Make sure it completely covers the opening. 

Now press the basket strainer into the opening, applying even pressure around the opening. You’ll notice that the excess putty will be squeezed out, both on the top and below the sink. Wipe away the excess putty with a dry rag. 

Now from the bottom of the sink, you’ll attach the rubber washer, large metal washer (sometimes called a pressure cup) and locknut to the bottom of the basket strainer.

The rubber washer will go in between the bottom of the basket strainer, followed by the pressure cup, which will then be held down by the locknut. 

Hand tighten the locknut, then use a pipe wrench to finish. To keep the basket strainer from spinning while you’re trying to tighten the locknut, you can use needle nose pliers to hold it in place or there is a special basket installation tool you could purchase.

Now you’re ready to set the sink in the opening

  • Start by placing a bead of caulking around the perimeter of the opening, on top of the counter. This will hold the new sink in place.

 

  • Next, carefully set the sink in place. Check it with a level to make sure that everything fits as it should.
  • Reconnect the drains, water supply lines, and any other plumbing connections, then turn the water back on and check for leaks.
  • Wipe away the excess caulking between the sink and counter.

If your new sink comes with a bracket system of any kind, be sure to attach them from the sink to the counter. There any many different types of attachment systems, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

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