Cutting a Hole in a Kitchen Sink: Plumbing Installation

Learn How To Cut Precision Faucet Holes for Stainless Steel Sink Installation

Man fixing sink

Part of your kitchen renovation might entail redoing your countertops. The kitchen sink, considered by most decorators as the focal point of the kitchen, is an integral part of your countertop design.

Choosing a sink that matches your kitchen décor is important, as well as finding accompanying fixtures such as faucets, handles, sprayers and soap dispensers. When you choose a sink, you will need to install it. This is where having some kitchen sink plumbing knowledge is helpful. Here are the steps you should take to learn how to cut a hole in a sink with professional results.

  1. Fasten the sink. Stainless steel, in particular, can be difficult to drill. Fasten the sink to a work bench or have a buddy hold the sink tight to a stable surface. It's critical to have a good hold on when drilling so slippage doesn't occur, especially when working with a stainless steel sink.
  2. Make a template. Regardless of the type of material your sink is, make a template for the cuts. You do not want to make a mistake. Take a piece of heavy draft paper (so it won't tear) and mark where you need your holes. Use the owner's manual for the attachments (faucet, sprayer, soap dispenser) for exact diameters.
  3. Make a dimple in the sink in the center of the hole. Use a hammer and a nail to create this small dent.
  4. Tape. To prevent the drill from "walking" as you drill, place a strip of masking tape over the dimple. This will keep your drill on target.
  5. Drill. Using a heat treated 1¼ inch bit, drill a hole at the site of the dimple. It is very important that you drill at a slow speed (no more than 300 RPMs) and that you press down very hard as you drill.
  6. Use antifreeze as cutting fluid. Apply antifreeze to the drill bit and drilling surface as you drill for lubrication. This cools the tip of the bit, which is good because it prevents overheating. Oil will work as well for this function.
  7. Look for chips. If you see little chips of sink material flying out from the bit, then you are drilling correctly and your plumbing installation is going well. If you do not, it is likely that the bit is not breaking through, is overheating, and dulling. Press harder if this is the case.
  8. Speed up. As you get closer to drilling through the sink, speed up your RPM. If you stay at the same speed, you make break the bit or the sink material will tear.
  9. Get professional help. You should know that sink plumbing and making a hole in a stainless sink can be very difficult. It may be worth a trip to your local hardware store or a wholesale hardware center to see if you can rent more heavy-duty equipment. There are drill punches out there that may work as well or better than the regular 1¼ inch bit drill. Ask around, as you may find tools more specially designed for cutting holes in stainless steel sinks that perform as well as the generic heat-treated drills.


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