How to Install a Kitchen Sink in 3 Steps

by Lisa Ward | Last Updated: December 22, 2019

There are a lot of reasons to install a new sink, but whatever your reasons, installation is one thing that you need to think about. Sometimes installation is included with the purchase, but often it is pricey and not worth the hassle.

Installing a new sink doesn’t have to be a hassle. With only a few tools you can easily install a sink in your home by yourself without the help of a plumber or any other professional in only an hour or two. In this article, we’ll break the sink installation down into three-steps. Here is how to install a kitchen sink in three steps.

Choose the faucet and accessories for your sink before beginning installation. Some sinks have holes that are made for integrating a faucet, so you’ll want to select the right faucet and make sure that a matching faucet is available for the sink you choose.

You may also want to choose a sink with additional holes for a sprayer or soap dispenser. Other sinks require that the faucet be installed into the counter or completely separately so you should keep that in mind as well as you shop for the right sink and sink accessories.

Safety Tips & Precautions:

How to Install a Kitchen SinkBefore you attempt to install a sink yourself you should take the appropriate safety precautions. Taking these steps not only prevents personal injury but also prevents injury to property that can cost thousands of dollars due to negligence.

Before working on the sink be sure to cut off all water supply. The water line supply is usually located under the sink as a handle or lever that can be flipped or turned to off. The water supply for the whole house is usually in the basement. Double-check the water before beginning installation.

Turning off the water is essential to preventing accidents. If the valves are leaky you will need to shut off the water to the whole house. This is very inconvenient, so be sure to fix or replace leaky water connections and valves to prevent injury and property damage.

Working in the kitchen or bathroom around water may create a slip hazard. Wearing slip-proof shoes will ensure your safety while you’re installing your new sink. This is especially important if you’re home alone and stand a risk of falling.

To prevent accidental burns, cuts, or bug bites you should always wear a sturdy pair of work gloves while installing the sink or doing other home improvement projects.

You should always check the size of the cabinet and the tailpiece before purchasing a sink. The cabinet will determine how large of a sink it can hold, and you don’t want to get a sink that’s too big for the cabinet. If it’s too small it can also leave gaps and won’t work either. If the sink hangs too low it may have problems draining, so seek to find a sink with an appropriate size tailpiece for your cabinet set-up.

Choose plastic pipes over metal for easier maintenance. If you’re doing the cutout yourself, try to round out the corners to match the sink. If the contractor has previously cut the corners into a 90-degree angle, take this into account for your measurements as not all sinks will have square corners.

If you are installing a kitchen sink into an existing hole in the cabinet you should measure your existing sink. The existing hole can be modified or made large to accommodate the new sink.

In addition to the sink, faucet, accessories, and the appropriate plumbing attire/safety gear, you will need a few tools to get the job done. Almost all of these tools are found in the most basic of toolboxes so you should have no trouble acquiring them.

You will need:

Step One: Cut Out the Cabinet Template

How to Install a Kitchen SinkIf you are setting up a new sink you may need to cut out a hole in the counter for the sink. If you are replacing an existing sink, you will want to measure the hole and assess any previous damage that maybe there from old installations. If you need to remove an existing sink, use a strong solvent to pry off the caulk and gently lift it out of the counter.

In the package with the sink a template should be included that specifies what dimensions will need to be cut out of the counter. Whether the sink is an under-mount sink or a dropdown sink may affect how you configure the cabinet beneath it. You will want to draw around the template to mark where to cut, or if there is no template you can use tape to mark the edges. If the sink has curved edges you will want to account for this in your drawing.

Drill a hole into each corner of the square or rectangle, and then connect the holes using a blade. Once the lines have been cut, you should have a square cut out of the cabinet that is easy to remove. Place the sink down into the hole without caulk to check to see if it fits. You can turn the sink upside down on the counter to trace its edges to make a new cutout for a jigsaw.

Step Two: Installing the Sink

How to Install a Kitchen Sink

If the faucet is set into the sink you will want to make this connection before installing the sink. Turn the sink upside down to feed the faucet and/or handles through the holes. Tightly secure the faucet to the sink deck.

Test the swing of the faucet before tightening the connections all the way. While the sink is out you will also want to add the drain and strainer and secure them with a little bit of plumbers putty. Attach the threaded flange to the drain. You can tighten the nuts by hand to hold it in place. Remove any excess putty.

While the sink is still upside down, remove any tape from the hole that you cut out. Apply silicone caulk to the rim of the inside of the sink, and quickly flip it over and set it down flush with the counter inside of the hole so that the corners match up. Make any necessary adjustments before the caulk hardens.

Sometimes plumbers putty is used for sink installation, which is less favorable than caulk because caulk is far more durable. Putty will dry out over time. Use a 100% silicone caulk to attach the sink to the counter. Remove any excess caulk. If the sink has clips on the bottom you will want to attach these as well to secure the sink further. Add a small rim of sealant around the edge of the sink as a final security measure.

Three: Connect Water Lines

How to Install a Kitchen Sink

The sink/drain tailpiece should be connected to the trap adapter first. Connect the trap adapter to the waste line using PVC pipes. Cement the PVC pipes together and tighten all other connections by hand. The sink should have hoses beneath that connect to the water supply.

Using new water connections and flushing out the system before attaching it will help to prevent any sediments from working on the sink from clogging up the faucet. Don’t reuse old drain pipes. Replace all of the old connections and pipes with new ones. Saving a couple of bucks by using old parts may compromise your system and cost you more money in the long-run. Turn on the water and check to see if the faucet works.

Summary

Safety Precautions to Get Started:

You Will Need:

How to Figure Out What Size?

How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Conclusion

With the right tools, installing a sink yourself can be a breeze. Even an inexperienced home improver can install a sink with only a few tools. The most important thing is safety, so be sure to take the necessary safety precautions. Calling a plumber for installations and other “easy” household jobs is a good idea because it guarantees that the product will be installed correctly without voiding the warranty. However, home installation projects can be fun and rewarding. You can be proud to know that you installed your sink all by yourself by following the steps in this article.

Before working on the plumbing, turn off the water supply and put-on the appropriate gloves, shoes, and goggles for safety. One person can install a sink by themselves in less than an hour, but it is helpful to have a friend to help you lift the sink down into the hole and to keep you company during installation. Installation doesn’t have to be a chore, turn it into a fun activity as you continue to improve your home and life with new upgrades such as a new kitchen or bathroom sink.