Getting a Kitchen Sink Installed
Steps // How to Install a Kitchen Sink
1 ×

Sink Overview

Step One // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Sink Overview

Sink anatomy illustration
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

The trickiest part of installing a new sink and faucet is connecting the sink's drain—the pieces between the sink's tailpiece and the waste line. Always start at the sink tailpiece and work down. This is where a swivel P-trap with a trap adapter earns its keep. It can swing side to side on two different axes and adjust up or down.

Before you head off to the store, Richard recommends drawing a "map" like the illustration here and checking the inside diameters of the tailpiece and waste line, usually 1 ½ inches. Then, instead of buying a kit, get only the pieces you need, including Schedule 40 PVC pipe to cut and fit as needed.

2 ×

Lay out Sink Location

Step Two // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Lay out Sink Location

laying out sink location
Photo by Keller & Keller

Mark the counter's back edge to center the sink within its cabinet.

If sink has a template, align it with the mark on the counter. Place its back edge 1½ inches from and parallel to the counter. Trace around it; proceed to the next step.

If there's no template, use 2-inch tape to outline the sink location.

Mark the center of the sink on its back lip.

Lay the sink upside down on the counter. Align the mark on the sink with the one on the counter.

Adjust the sink to leave 1½ inches between its back edge and the backsplash. Be sure sink is parallel with the counter's edge.

Trace around the sink, then remove it.

Measure the width of the sink lip, subtract 1/8 inch, and mark inside the sink outline by that much.

To make the cut-out lines, connect all the marks with a straightedge.

3 ×

Mark the Cut Lines onto the Counter

Step Three // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Mark the Cut Lines onto the Counter

marking the cut lines
Photo by Keller & Keller

After using a straightedge to connect the marks, you'll end up with a rectangular outline of the sink's hole on the counter.

Round off the corners by hand to approximate the radius of the sink's corners.

Next, use a spade bit that's slightly wider than the jigsaw blade (½-inch bit is usually sufficient) and drill a hole inside the radius at each corner of the cut-out lines.

4 ×

Cut Sink Opening

Step Four // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Cut Sink Opening

cutting the sink opening
Photo by Keller & Keller

Lower a jigsaw blade into a front hole and saw along the cut line to back hole. Repeat on the other side.

Lay a scrap of wood a few inches longer than the cutout across the sink area. Screw through the scrap and into the cutout waste to prevent it from falling or binding the saw blade.

Cut along the front and back cut lines. Remove the cut-out piece.

Check the fit of the sink in countertop; trim the hole with the jigsaw, if necessary.

5 ×

Install Faucet

Step Five // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Install Faucet

installing a kitchen sink faucet
Photo by Keller & Keller

Set the sink upside down on a padded sawhorse or counter.

Feed the faucet's supply tubing and tailpiece through the gasket that seals the faucet to the sink and then up through the hole (or holes) in sink.

Screw the mounting nuts and washers to the underside of the sink deck.

Make sure the faucet can swing in a full arc across the sink before tightening mounting nuts.

6 ×

Attach Strainer

Step Six // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Attach Strainer

attaching a kitchen sink strainer
Photo by Keller & Keller

With the sink still upside down, pack a thick roll of plumber's putty under the strainer's lip and push it up through the sink's drain hole.

Slip the gasket, washer, and housing (if your strainer has one) onto the strainer and against the underside of sink. Dab pipe-joint compound onto its exposed threads.

Thread the locknut onto the strainer by hand, then tighten it with pliers while holding the strainer in place.

Fit the gasket onto the sink-drain tailpiece and attach it to the strainer with its slip nut. Tighten the nut by hand while holding strainer.

7 ×

Set Sink; Connect Water Supply

Step Seven // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Set Sink; Connect Water Supply

Richard Trethewey setting a kitchen sink
Photo by Keller & Keller

Remove the tape, pulling toward center of hole.

With sink still upside down, squeeze a bead of silicone caulk around the underside of the sink's lip.

Turn the sink upright and set it into the countertop hole.

Check that the front of the sink is parallel with the front edge of countertop. Adjust it, if necessary.

Connect the faucet to shut-off valves using acorn-head supply tubes or braided stainless steel hoses.

Attach the sprayer hose to the faucet's threaded tailpiece.

8 ×

Connect Drain

Step Eight // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Connect Drain

connecting the drain of the sink
Photo by Keller & Keller

Assemble the trap adapter onto the sink-drain tailpiece.

Cut and dry-fit lengths of PVC pipe to connect the trap adapter to the trap and the drain elbow to the waste line. Swivel the trap or slide it on the tailpiece to fine-tune the pipes' lengths and alignment. Take the drain pieces apart.

Clean off the cut ends with a utility knife. Coat them and their mating pieces with PVC primer. Let dry.

Swab PVC cement on both ends being joined. Immediately push pieces together. Hold for 30 seconds.

Reassemble and hand-tighten all threaded connections.

9 ×

Attach Dishwasher Drain; Tidy up

Step Nine // How to Install a Kitchen Sink

Attach Dishwasher Drain; Tidy up

attaching a dishwashing drain to a kitchen sink drain
Photo by Keller & Keller

Attach the dishwasher drain line to the waste nib of the tailpiece. Tighten the hose clamp with a screwdriver.

Remove excess putty from lip of strainer.

Remove the aerator from the faucet and run the water full blast. Look for leaks at all connections along the supply and drain lines. In case of leaks, carefully tighten the nuts by one-eighth turns until the leak stops.

Make sure the sink's front edge is parallel to counter's edge. Fill the sink with water to weigh it down and hold it tight overnight as the caulk sets.


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