A Home Remodel Series (Part 3-How to replace a kitchen sink and faucet)

Day 3 has everyone hopping at my friend’s house!  With white cabinets and dark granite, she decided to switch from a stainless sink and faucet to a nice white Kohler sink with a Delta oil rubbed bronze faucet.  I love the contrast the new sink provides.  I think she’ll be very happy with the finished project.

Continuing with our series on quick and easy home improvement projects, lets move into the kitchen:


Advice:  This type of project requires a little more advanced plumbing know how since it may involve some modification of the underside drain plumbing if a new sink’s drains don’t match up exactly to the old ones.  However, this is not a complex job that takes many hours, so if you do decide to hire a plumber, allow 3-4 hours at the most in their estimate; the parts should also be relatively inexpensive since they are standard PVC pieces that they are reassembling.  A little time and money can be saved though if you do the removal yourself following the steps below!

When selecting a new faucet,  make sure that your new faucet needs the same number of holes as your old faucet.  In other words, some sink faucets only need one hole in your counter tops whereas some others need 3 or 4.  Sometimes it might just be easier to take the old faucet with you to your local store to ensure a match.  The contrast from before to after really gives it a bolder place in her kitchen.

Here are the basic steps to follow when replacing a sink and faucet; most faucets also come with complete step by step visual/written instructions as well:

1)      Don’t give yourself a shower in the kitchen

Turn off the water supply under the sink cabinet.  There should be 2 shut off valves that resemble an oval or a triangle; one for the hot water and one for the cold water.  Hand tighten the valves all the way to the right (lefty loosey, righty-tighty).

Test your accuracy by turning on the faucet; the water should eventually come to a complete stop once the remaining water is out of the line.

2)     Removal of old faucet

Once the water is completely and safely off, you can use a wrench to loosen the nuts of the supply lines where they each connect to the faucet.

Have a towel down in the cabinet in case there is any remaining water in the lines once you lower them away from the faucet.   Leave the supply lines in place hanging loose for the time being.  Faucets usually also come with a larger “nut” that anchors the faucet to the underside of the counter top; you can usually turn these by hand.

3)  Disconnect garbage disposal and drain lines from underside of sink

A kitchen sink has several components that need to be loosened and removed.  First, you will want to disconnect the garbage disposal.   Unplug the disposal first since it is usually directly wired into the disposal and plugged in under the sink.  Then disconnect the dishwasher drain which is usually clamped to the side.  Unscrew the nuts that also connect the main PVC drain line from the unit and the opposite side of the sink; in the picture below the dishwasher line and PVC drain line are on the left.  Taking a screwdriver, you can insert it into the slots at the top of the unit to provide enough leverage to loosen the unit by turning it to the left.

4)  Removing the sink

Once your drain lines are free and the disposal is set aside, check the underside of the sink for any attachment clips holding the sink in place.  Most clips can be removed with a screwdriver.  Once the clips are removed, you should be able to pull it right out.  If not, you might run a utility knife around the edge of the sink to see if there is caulk that is adhering to the sink.

5)  Plumbers Tape…the best $1 you’ll spend

At this point, I find it easier to wrap the new faucet’s water supply connection threads with plumbers tape.  Usually found in a blue dispenser with a white latex type of non-adhesive tape inside.  Wrap the threading in a clockwise pattern until the lower ½” of the new faucet connections are wrapped well in tape.  This is an exercise where less is NOT more since the tape inside the threading serves the purpose of helping to ensure a good watertight seal.

6)     Putty in your hands

Take a small amount of plumbers putty (looks like silly putty)  and roll it out into a nice even “snake like” cord.  Place the putty cord onto the bottom side of the new faucet AND sink that will meet with the counter and sink top. Place the new faucet inside inside of the pre-existing holes of the  sink top and press the faucet firmly down onto the surface ensuring it is square and even with your sink.  The putty will help form a watertight seal between the faucet and your counter tops.

Using silicone caulk, run a bead of caulk around the entire perimeter of the new sink.  I recommend silicone in wet locations because it creates a more permanent seal and doesn’t crack or mildew like other caulks.

7)      Out with the old, in with the new

Next, you will basically do a reverse of steps 1 and 2 above.  Secure the new faucet firmly to the counter top by spinning the provided nuts or bracket from underneath the counter until they are “hand tightened”; careful not to over-tighten because it could cause your counter top to buckle or crack.  You should not be able to wiggle the new faucet at all from the top of the sink.  Check your alignment of the faucet to the sink one more time.

8)  Installing the new drain

Taking a coil of plumbers putty, attach it to the underside of the new drain top before inserting it into the sink.  From the underside, tighten the lower piece of the unit to the topside which is threaded.

9)  Reattaching the garbage disposal

Again, this is basically in reverse of the above step 3.  Hopefully, all of your existing drains will line up with the new sink.

If they do not, I recommend having a plumber make these final connections for you to ensure it drains properly and is leak free.  This is an area that I don’t recommend risking something going wrong in DIY if you don’t have the plumbing know how.  One leaky dishwasher into the underside of your sink can cause a big problem.

10)     You’re hot then you’re cold

Next, attach the water supply lines to the new faucet supply lines.  Typically, Hot water is on the left and cold water is on the right so attach each of these to the appropriate spot on the new faucet from the underside.  Some newer faucets tag their lines so you can’t get them confused.  Tighten the supply lines to the faucet using a wrench.

11)     All systems go!

Now is the time to test your work.  Slowly turn on one supply valve and watch for leaks at the connections to your new faucet from under the sink.    Repeat for the other water supply line.  If you encounter a drip, most likely it is because the new connections needs to be tightened some more.  Turn the valve off again and try to re-tighten, assuming you also used adequate plumbers tape.

A trick of the trade to be completely sure you don’t have any leaks is to use a towel to wipe all connections, then once you are sure it is dry, wrap a small amount of toilet paper around each connection.  Come back in a few minutes to see if any part of the toilet paper is wet.  If s0, you’ll have to tighten some more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *