How To Replace A Kitchen Sink or Install A New Sink

These steps will show you how to replace a kitchen sink. If you haven’t already done so, first follow directions about how to remove a kitchen sink, remove a garbage disposal and, if necessary, remove any old caulking.

Drop-in sinks are designed to simply drop into a hole in the counter top. The weight of the sink is supported by the rim of the sink as it rests on the counter top. Some drop in sinks may also be held in place with hardware, but most drop in sinks are mainly held in place by their own weight and with the help of caulking or sealant.

If there is potential for the sink to slide around within the hole, it should be attached to the counter top with caulk or sealant. If the hole is cut tight enough so the sink does not move, caulk is not necessary and the sink can simply be sealed with plumbers putty.

In our case, the hole in the counter top had been cut for another sink. When I replaced the original sink, the new sink fit very tightly and luckily, I didn’t have to expand the hole. The sink fits so tight, it does not slide around at all. Since I may replace this sink again in the future, I decided to use plumbers putty (see post about pros/cons of putty vs caulk).

Why would you ever replace your sink you ask? We already replaced a very shallow, stainless steel sink that came with the house with a deep acrylic sink. The new acrylic sink has some scratches and I may want to replace the sink if we ever decide to sell this house.

How To Replace a Countertop, Drop-In Sink

Note About Acrylic Sinks – Acrylic Sinks are lightweight, have a nice looking, glossy surface and are inexpensive. Also, hot dishwater doesn’t cool in an acrylic sink as fast as in stainless or cast iron sinks. Acrylic may scratch if you abuse it by doing very heavy duty cleaning jobs in the sink. I know I should have used the sink in the garage to clean the smoker racks. Don’t get me wrong, the sink is scratched, not destroyed. The scratches can be seen by eye, but they are not prominent enough to show in a picture.

Note About Plumbers Putty & Marble –  I read somewhere that plumbers putty will stain marble. So silicon caulk should be used on marble counter tops. I would also be very careful before using plumbers putty on other stone counter tops like granite. Remember, my main objection to caulk is the effort it takes to remove the old caulk if you need to remove or replace the sink in the future. Hard surfaces like marble should be easy to scrape clean.

Steps to Attach Sink to Counter Top

  • Clean all dirt and old caulking from sink and counter top
  • If this is a new install, measure the hole in the counter top to make sure it fits
  • Measure the sink and the hole to find the center;  front to back and side to side
  • Mark each edge of the hole so you know where to apply putty or caulk
  • If using putty, take golf ball sized pieces of putty and roll them into thin ropes
  • Place the ropes of putty or apply caulk evenly around hole inside the marks
  • Lift sink and carefully place into hole in counter top – this may be awkward and heavy – get help if needed
  • Clean away excess putty or caulk and remove tape

Removing a drop in sink that has been stuck in place with sealant is difficult. Installing a drop in sink is simple.

After I scraped up the caulking from the counter top that was used to previously seal the sink, rolled out thin ropes of plumbers putty and laid the ropes around the hole in the counter top (Figure 1).

how to replace a kitchen sink

Figure 1. Rope of plumbers putty on counter top to seal drop-in sink

Notice the tape I used to mark the outside edge of the sink rim. Be careful to make sure the putty is applied inside the marks.

The sink was somewhat awkward to lift and drop in position by myself. The sink weighs about 35 lbs with the faucet attached, which isn’t very heavy, but it is difficult to move the sink precisely because of the size and tight work space more than the weight. Precise maneuvering would be more critical for a large cut out hole than for a small one.

If my wife had been home, I would have asked for help. I have days where my back would not let me get away with this, but on this day, all was good.

After dropping the sink in place, if the sink is properly aligned, press down evenly all around. The weight of the sink basically does this automatically.

remove excess plumbers putty from sink

Figure 2. Remove excess plumbers putty.

Figure 2 shows the excess plumbers putty that squeezed out from under the rim. The excess putty was easily pulled up for a finished look.

Next we will show how to attach the kitchen sink drain basket assembly and the faucet.

Comments, Opinions, Questions?