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Install a Drop-In Sink

Transform the look of the entire bath or kitchen by replacing the focal point of the room—the sink. Drop-in sink installation is a basic project for a beginning DIYer. It's easier than you think to complete.

Project time: approximately three hours

  1. Gather your materials. You will need: safety goggles, bucket, measuring tape, utility knife, adjustable pliers, pipe wrench, adjustable wrench, crowbar, jigsaw, screwdriver, tube cutter, copper tubing, emery cloth, propane torch, solder, flux, tape, screws or nails, taping knife, paint and paintbrush; tiles, adhesive, and grout as needed to finish the countertop; spirit level, plumber's putty, power drill and carbide bit; GE Silicone II* Kitchen & Bath caulk, and a caulking gun.

  2. After you've determined the best location for the sink, turn the sink upside down and position it on the countertop in the spot you eventually want to place it. Measure the width and depth of the sink. Check under the cabinet to make sure the new sink will have enough clearance for the faucet supply plumbing and the drain assembly. Also, you will need to be sure it will clear the structural parts of the cabinet.

  3. Trace the sink onto the countertop. With the sink still upside down and in its final position, lightly trace the perimeter of the sink onto the countertop with a pencil. Measure the lip of the sink. Measure the depth of the sink's lip (the part that will lay flush on the countertop). Most sinks have a 1/2" lip. Remove the sink. Draw a cut line 1/2" inside the previously traced perimeter line.

  4. Drill a pilot hole. Before you drill or cut, measure everything again to make sure your sink will fit properly. Every good carpenter measures twice and cuts once. When you're sure of the placement, at any point along the cut line, drill a hole big enough to accept the blade from your jigsaw. Then, cut the opening. With a jigsaw, cut the opening along the cut line (1/2" inside the sink's perimeter line).

  5. Mount all of the sink hardware. Following the manufacturer's instructions, mount the faucet and drain assemblies to the drop-in sink. Be certain to apply a bead of plumber's putty to the underside of the drain in order to provide a watertight seal. Wipe away any excess sealant before it begins to cure.

  6. Check the sink's fit. Before applying any sealant, place the sink with the drain and faucet assemblies into the opening to ensure it will fit. Position the sink in its absolute final location and mark several guide points around the sink and countertop with a light pencil.

  7. Apply the sealant. Remove the sink and place it upside down. Apply an unbroken 3/8" bead of GE Silicone II* Kitchen & Bath to the underside of the sink's lip.

  8. Carefully lower the sink back into the opening and align it with the pencil guides. Press the sink down firmly to spread the sealant and form a watertight seal between the sink and the countertop. Wipe away any excess sealant with a clean, dry cloth before it begins to skin—within two to five minutes. Allow the sealant to cure completely before connecting the plumbing supplies and drain. GE Silicone II* Kitchen & Bath caulk will normally cure in 24 hours.

  9. Attach plumbing to sink. Once the sealant has completely cured, follow the manufacturer's instructions and attach all of the plumbing components.
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Don't Waste Time and Energy

Not all caulk is the same. Because silicone is permanently waterproof, flexible, and shrink-/crack-proof, unlike acrylic, it won't leave gaps or cracks for air and water to seep through over time. Those leaks can lead to water damage, mold growth, and higher energy bills—all of which can translate into your lost time (when you have to do the job again), lost energy, and lost money.

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