How To Install a Kitchen Sink Yourself

Nobody really thinks about a sink cabinet, until it’s broken. Then, it becomes painfully obvious how big a role it plays in day-to-day life. This is where you prepare the food, wash the dishes, and throw the leftovers. You need your kitchen sink to work, and if it breaks down, you will most likely need to repair or replace the sink. Hiring a plumber for a professional installation might be the best option. However, if you want to save on expenses, and if you are on a do-it-yourself streak, then you can install the kitchen sink yourself.

Measurement. That task is actually easier than it sounds. The most crucial part, actually, is getting the right measurements. Most homes have a 24-inch cabinet that will accommodate a 22-inch sink. However, if you have a backsplash, your sink should only be about 20 inches deep. Still, it pays to be sure.  With a handy ruler or tape measure, check how wide and deep your lower cabinets are. Take note of these measurements, so you won’t forget. It’s a good idea to sketch the sink and dimensions, so you have something to show the salesperson at the store.

Tools. While you’re shopping for a sink, you should also get a few installation tools and materials, too. You probably already have a saw, screwdriver and drill. If you have a surface mounted sink you will need caulking and clamps. If you have a self-rimming sink, check if it’s porcelain (which only needs caulk) or stainless steel (which needs clamps, too). 
Installation. Now it’s time to install the sink.  Thankfully, this does not require an engineering degree. You just need the ability to follow a template, which is usually provided by the sink manufacturer. Here is a brief outline of what you need to do:

  • Simply place the sink at the center, with a 1.5-inch margin from the front edge of the counter (you may increase this to a maximum of 4 inches, if you happen to have a deeper countertop). Once you’re happy with the position of the template, use a marker to draw an outline around it.
  • Then, break out the power tools! You’ll need a drill to make a hole in the 4 corners. The hole should measure about 3/8ths of an inch.
  • From there, use a saber-saw blade to cut through the lines, starting from the hole. It may help to stabilize the cutout by screwing a slab of wood across it. You don’t need much—just enough to go across the opening with a couple of inches for margin. Once you’re done, remove the cutout.
  • The next step is to install faucets and sink strainers, taking care that they are watertight. You may also want to slather silicone caulk or plumber’s putty around the sink’s “lip” (where it touches the countertop). This also prevents any annoying leaks.
  • It’s time to insert the sink. Yes, it can get heavy; some recommend propping the sink with wood scraps so it doesn’t crush your fingers as you lift it into place.  Once you’re done with that, look for the special mounting clips that are designed to latch on the sink’s underside.  Arrange them—following the manufacturer’s instructions—then use a screwdriver or nutdriver to secure them. Since the caulk or putty is still soft, it may squeeze out as you tighten the screw. Just wipe it away with a clean cloth.

You’re almost done! You just have to connect the P-trap, then the faucet lines, then the strainers. You will need flexible supply tubes to attach it to the water supply. Temporarily remove the aerator and then twist the faucet to release water to flush the system. Let it run for about 60 seconds, then replace the aerator. You’re done!


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