Installing a Kitchen Sink

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Installing a new kitchen sink is not the most difficult do-it-yourself home project. But it will take all day, usually. Take it step by step and you can’t go wrong.

First, you’ll have to disconnect any and all attachments to the sink except possibly the faucet, unless you plan to re-use it.

Before that can be done it’s necessary to turn off any water valves. In most kitchens a simple turn of the under-the-sink valves will do the trick. In others, it may be necessary to turn off the main valve for the house.

Next, kick off the circuit breaker that protects the circuit for the garbage disposal unit. Don’t rely only on the above-the-sink wall switch.

Put a bucket under the pipes to catch any trapped water, along with a few towels. There’s always some water that manages to miss the bucket.

Now it’s safe to disconnect all wires, hoses, pipes and water lines that attach to the sink. That includes any dishwasher line and wires for the garbage disposal, along with any line to a separate hand sprayer.

The kitchen sink can be secured to the cabinetry in a number of ways. In some cases there are mounting clips that need to be removed. In most installations, plumber’s putty will have been used to adhere the sink into position. Even with all clips or nuts removed, it will be a challenge to get the sink loose.

Work a stiff utility knife into the line between the sink and cabinet. If you work from above, you’ll have better leverage, but a higher risk of slipping and damaging the counter. Some topside work will usually be necessary in any case to remove any old caulk. Once that’s done, the hardest part is over.

There’s still some unpleasant clean up to do, since it’s necessary to remove any existing caulk and/or plumber’s putty from the parts that held the sink. It’s important to have a clean, smooth surface before placing the new sink into position. That will require a combination of putty knife use and sanding.

Install any separate strainer into the new sink before putting it into position. Some new sinks have them already secured. Plumber’s putty is used to seal it. More putty will be needed around the rim of the opening the sink sets into.

Spread a 1/4 inch bead and set the sink onto it. With a wooden cuticle removal tool or ice cream stick, scrape any excess off before it has time to dry. Remove any small remainder with a very slightly damp sponge. Repeat the operation with caulk along the back and side edges if there are any areas where water might seep in.

Allow the sink to set untouched for a few hours to give everything time to solidify. Now is a good time to attach any mounting clips, while things are still somewhat flexible.

In the meantime, you can measure all hoses, pipes and other attachments to ensure they all fit well with the new sink. Trim as needed. Now is a good time to inspect any rubber hoses for possible replacement.

Replace the garbage disposal unit. Then, re-attach all hoses and pipes, using Teflon plumber’s tape. Open the water valve slowly and test for leaks. Then turn on the circuit breaker for the garbage disposal unit and test.

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