A kitchen sink, in front of an open window

4 Steps to Replacing a Kitchen Sink

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink

Do you hate your kitchen sink and long for a deeper or more useful style? Good news! Replacing a kitchen sink can be done, but there are a few things you should know before you jump in your car to buy that dream sink.

Here’s our handy guide on how to replace a kitchen sink!

New Sink Checklist

There are a few things you’ll need to investigate and confirm before you purchase a new sink. For sinks, it’s not always a one-size-fits-all, which makes this checklist all the more necessary:

  • Make sure the new sink you’ve picked out will cover the old opening. You don’t want gaps along the sides, so be sure to measure the opening from underneath before taking out the old sink.
  • Measure all four sides, noting if the corners are 90-degree or rounded off.
  • Measure the tailpiece. The tailpiece is the metal tube that sits right below the basket strainer underneath your sink. If you are getting a new sink with a deeper basin, make sure it doesn’t hang too low, or you’ll have trouble draining unless you lower the sanitary tee (which sits under the tailpiece and connects to your disposer).
  • Make sure you have enough holes. There should be enough openings for your new faucet and any accessories like a sprayer or soap dispenser. You can always buy plugs for holes you don’t need.
  • Check for water stains. If your countertops are particleboard, look for signs of swelling because it could prevent your new sink from sitting flush. A little water damage is normal, but if the countertop is warped, you’ll need to address it before setting in a new sink.

Installing Your New Sink

Now that you’ve selected your new kitchen sink, here’s what you’ll need to install it:

  • Nut driver
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • PVC pipe saw
  • Putty knife
  • Caulking and gun (preferably 100% silicone caulk designed for kitchens and baths)
  • Pliers
  • Rags
  • Plumbers tape
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver

Step One: Prep Work

First, shut off the hot and cold water valves. These valves are located underneath your sink. Use your adjustable wrench to disconnect the water lines from the valves; otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself sopping wet.

You’ll also need to use your pliers to disconnect the trap for your sink’s drain pipe (the trap is the U-shaped piece). Unplug the garbage disposer as well, if you have one.

Step Two: Removing the Old Sink

Now it’s time to take out the old sink. Loosen the screws that secure the old sink (located underneath the countertop). Many sinks are set into the countertop with putty. The putty is stubborn when it’s dried and cured, so use your putty knife to wiggle the bond loose between the countertop and the sink’s rim.

This can be a demanding task, so be patient. Don’t be afraid to use small shims to help lift the sink so you can wiggle your knife in between. Pull the sink free from the countertop.

Step Three: Preparing the New Sink

Next, you’ll be prepping your new sink. First, secure the new faucet onto your new sink by tightening the nut on the sink deck. Then, you’ll place the counterweight on the spray nozzle, connecting the spray nozzle to the faucet.

Step Four: Plumbing

Prepare the plumbing area for the new sink by cutting the PVC standpipe that’s currently there and the trap for the garbage disposer. Use a rubber cap to seal off the old pipe, tightening it with a nut driver.

A note on your old parts: it’s tempting to save a few bucks to keep your old drain pipes, but a new drain assembly is actually a smarter and easier way to go. It’s easier to install, and you won’t risk having to deal with corroded threads that won’t connect properly with your brand new sink.

For plumbing purposes, keep in mind that plastic piping is superior!

It’s time to set your new sink in its home. Once the new sink is in place, you’ll re-mount it. Use your screwdriver to secure each of its mounting units. Now you’re almost done! You’ll just need to reconnect everything by putting in the hot and cold water shutoff valves once again.

Before you reconnect the water lines, consider purging the lines to avoid having sediment clogging up your new faucet.

When to Call the Pros

Installing a new kitchen sink can be done with some plumbing knowledge and a few necessary tools you probably already own. The only real costs are in the equipment you’d be purchasing, like the new kitchen sink, the faucet, caulking, and a new drain assembly for easier installation. You might need to buy a new transition coupling.

Your overall cost for this DIY project will be around $300-$600. It’ll take some time, so plan to be at it for a half of an afternoon (or longer, if you run into trouble or are new to plumbing projects).

Installing a new kitchen sink is a little bit of a misleading project. It seems as if it is easy, but the deception lies in the fact that there are a lot of issues you could run into, which can make this less of a DIY project and more of a nightmare.

Some cases call for shutting the entire house’s water off, and there’s also a question of if you’ll run into needing a hand with any electrical fixtures, warping of the countertops, or if the project begins creeping into the cabinet territory.

Professional plumbers can have a wide range of per-hour rates, anywhere between $45-$200, depending on the going rate where you live. However, for a professional plumber, a new kitchen sink install is achievable in just a few hours.

If you aren’t familiar with plumbing, you’d probably save yourself a huge headache by calling in the pros.