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How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > How to Install a Kitchen Sink
How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Installing or replacing a kitchen sink may be one of the final steps in a kitchen renovation or just a necessary repair, but if you can handle the job on your own you can save quite a bit on the cost of installation. This job requires common tools and basic plumbing skills, and is a project you can complete within a few hours.

Materials Skill Level Estimated Time
• Drop-in kitchen sink Intermediate 1 to 3 hours
• Basket strainer assembly
• Faucet assembly
• Drain trap kit or 2” PVC pipe and fittings as needed
• Plumber’s putty
• Silicone caulk
• Caulking gun
• Drill with spade bit and screw tip
• Wood screws
• Jig saw
• Channel lock pliers
• Adjustable wrench
• Screwdriver
• Straight edge or carpenter’s square
• Tape measure
• Putty knife or scraper
• Utility knife
• 2” Masking tape
• Scrap board
• Sawhorses

Installation Procedure

Follow the steps below to replace or install a new drop-in kitchen sink.

  1. 1. Remove Existing Sink

    If your new sink is replacing an existing one in the same opening, first turn off the water supply valves under the sink. Disconnect the existing plumbing and waste connections and remove or loosen any clips holding the sink in place. Use a utility knife to cut any caulking around the sink on the counter surface and pull the entire sink and faucet assembly out of the countertop. Use a putty knife or scraper to remove any caulk residue from the counter and thoroughly clean and dry the surface.

  2. 2. Prepare Counter Surface

    If you are installing a sink in a new counter surface you will need to make an opening for the basin. Laminate and solid wood counters can be cut with common tools, but if your counter is natural stone or another solid surface, extra skill and some specialized tools are called for. If you aren’t equipped to cut this type of counter, this would be a good part of the job to hire out to a pro to avoid making a costly mistake on the expensive surface!

  3. 3. Mark the Opening

    Position your sink so it will not interfere with the base cabinets. If the manufacturer of your sink provided a cutting template, use it to mark the location for the sink according to the instructions provided. If you don’t have a template, apply masking tape to the counter to form an outline for the cut in the sink’s approximate position. Measure 1 ½” in from the wall or backsplash and mark the tape at the back of the opening. Place the sink upside down in position, keeping the back edge on your mark and the front edge parallel to the edge of the counter. Trace around the sink. Remove the sink from the counter, then measure and mark a line inside the traced line according to the manufacturer’s specifications, following the curve of the corners if applicable.

  4. 4. Cut the Opening

    Use your drill and spade bit to drill a hole near each corner of your outline, inside the innermost line you marked earlier. Make sure your cut line is drawn on the masking tape, which will prevent the counter material from splitting and splintering. Insert the blade of a jig saw in a drilled hole and cut the sides of the opening, leaving the front and back edges intact. Place a scrap board across the sink location with ends extending over the cut sides of the opening. Use one or two screws to attach the board to the center of the piece you will cut out—the board will provide support as you make the final cuts to prevent damaging the counter or saw blade. Cut the front and back edges of the opening and remove the section of counter.

  5. 5. Assemble the Faucet

    With the sink upside down on sawhorses, assemble and install the faucet and sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and connect the flexible water supply lines. It will be much simpler to complete this step before the sink is installed, since tightening the fixture on the underside of the sink is pretty difficult when working inside the sink base cabinet.

  6. 6. Assemble the Basket Strainer

    Like the faucet, it will be simpler to install the drain basket before the sink is in place. Roll a rope of plumber’s putty and apply it to the underside of the lip of the strainer and press it into place on the inside of the sink. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the washer, paper gasket, housing, locknut, and drain tailpiece as required.

  7. 7. Install the Sink

    Apply a bead of silicone caulk to the counter surface around the entire perimeter of the opening. Lift the sink in place, check its position, and adjust as needed. If your sink came with mounting clips, install and tighten them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some clips should be mounted to the underside of the sink before it is set in place and others are installed after, so be sure to check before setting the sink in position. Wipe away any excess caulk from the counter surface.

  8. 8. Connect the Water Supply

    Connect the flexible supply lines from the faucet assembly to the hot and cold water supply lines beneath the counter. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the lines.

  9. 9. Connect the Drain Line

    Carefully measure and cut the needed lines to connect the drain tailpieces, trap, and dishwasher line, if applicable. Assemble the pipe and fittings as appropriate for your application and the materials you have selected.

  10. 10. Test for Leaks

    Turn on the hot and cold water supply valves under the sink. Turn on the faucet, stop the drain, and allow a couple of inches of water to collect in the sink. Check for leaks at the faucet and basket strainer, then release the water and check for leaks along the drain lines and trap and adjust or tighten connections as needed.

Level of Difficulty

The most complex aspects of a new kitchen sink installation are often cutting an opening in the counter and assembling the strainer basket and drain trap, making this an intermediate level project. However, an uncomplicated replacement job that requires little or no adjustments to the drain lines is appropriate for many beginners.

Find a Pro

If the plumbing or countertop work involved in a sink installation is beyond your level of expertise, or if you just don’t have the time to tackle the job on your own, contact a Sink Installation Pro to get the job done. Each Pro is background checked, licensed, and insured so you can be confident you’re hiring a qualified expert for your kitchen sink installation.

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