11 Pitfalls of Sink Replacement

Common problems that could turn your project into a nightmare—and how to avoid them

Replacing a kitchen sink and faucet is a quick way to give your kitchen a new look, but there are potential plumbing and installation problems to watch out for. This article explains how to avoid the ten most common.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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Got your eye on a deeper sink? Measure the tailpiece first!

Make sure the new sink will cover the old hole

Swollen countertops spell trouble

Seal with caulk, not putty

Remove a self-rimming cast iron sink

Self-rimming cast iron sinks are held in place with caulk. If you’re replacing the sink but keeping the laminate countertop, you’ll have to cut through the caulk. That can be tricky, especially if the caulk has hardened.

You’ll need lots of patience and these items: shims, a few feet of 2x4, a stiff putty knife and a heavy-duty solid-blade utility knife.

Wedge a 2x4 between the sink bottom and the floor of the cabinet to create slight upward force. Then cut the caulk. If the caulk is too hard to cut, hammer an old putty knife through the caulk, driving it toward the sink a section at a time.

Once you’ve cut the back corners, sides and front, tilt the sink up and cut the remaining caulk from the underside of the sink. Lift out the sink and clean the caulk residue from the laminate.

Remove ALL the old caulk

Get the gunk out

Make sure you have enough holes

Trash all the old parts

Test the shutoff valves first

Rusty old pipe? Cheat!

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Cordless drill
  • Caulk gun
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bucket
  • Flashlight
  • Hacksaw
  • Jigsaw
  • Pipe wrench
  • Plumbers tape
  • Putty knife
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Soldering torch
  • Utility knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Drain assembly
  • Shutoffs
  • Silicone caulk
  • Caulk remover
  • Pipe joint compound
  • Transition coupling

Shopping List