One of the most used rooms in every home is the kitchen, with one of the most used items in every home being the kitchen sink. Most of us underestimate the number of times we use our kitchen sinks and it’s one of the items in the house that is often overlooked for change, being used frequently without having to worry about the drainage and cleaning. Fortunately, kitchen sinks are designed to be tough, long-lasting and robust.
Kitchen sinks come in different sizes and styles, therefore how you need to plumb your kitchen sink in depends on the type of sink you have or the one you are replacing it with. There may be several reasons why you’ll want to plumb your kitchen sink, such as there is a leak somewhere in one of the kitchen sink pipes and you have to uninstall everything to investigate, or you want to replace your existing kitchen sink with a better and bigger one or you simply want to update an old fashioned kitchen sink to a newer style.
Plumbing a kitchen sink is different from plumbing anywhere else in your home, such as in the bathroom. Your kitchen sink has a lot of different features and plumbing going into it, making it one of the more complicated plumbing jobs to tackle. A simple plumbing job in a bathroom, for example, involves handling of two main pipes, the water supply pipe and the drain pipe. Whereas the kitchen plumbing will require handling the water supply pipe, the wastewater or drain pipe and the connection to the dishwasher if you have one. Also, if you have the old fashioned hot and cold taps, there will be separate pipes that supply hot and cold water to the taps.
Whilst many of us may think changing an old for new sink may be simple, many factors need to be considered. This article will guide you through the steps to change your kitchen sink as well as showing important considerations to take into account.
To make things as easy as possible for you, we’ve put together a handy guide that talks through the requirements. See a list of headings below!
- Tools You Will Require
- Investigating Your Needs
- Types of Kitchen Sinks
- Your Guide to Getting Started
- Things You Need to Know Before You Start Plumbing
- Removing Your Old Sink
- Preparing The Area For Installation
- Installing Your New Sink
- A Sink in Front of The Window
- Hiring a Professional Plumber
Tools You Will Require
If you are a DIY enthusiast and have planned to plumb the kitchen sink yourself, you will need some tools before you begin. The tools you will require are:
- Pipe cutting tools
- Drain rods
- Plumbing pliers
- Plumbing wrench
- Plumbing spanner
If you’re missing any of these tools for whatever reason, you can find these tools at any DIY store usually at an affordable price. These tools are crucial for the job as they’ll help to guarantee the results that you’re looking to achieve.
If you have something that you think will do, be certain that it can achieve the same results. For example, you may have a pair of pliers that are perfectly suited to the task at hand and will save you from heading out to the shops to buy some more. Make sure you’ve got all the tools you need before you get started.
Investigate Your Needs
With thousands of sinks on the market, choosing the right one would be difficult, it’s worth looking at your existing sink and seeing if it meets your requirements? Are you able to wash all items in the sink? Do you run out of space? Do you require one or two basins? And do you need a drainboard?
You need to be clear of your needs before you set out to change your sink.
Once you have a better idea of your needs, it’s time for some online research to see the different kitchen sink options available on the market, this is a great way to browse many types of kitchen sinks from many different companies from the comfort of your home rather than visiting showroom after showroom.
Types of Kitchen Sinks
There are many choices available in the UK when you are looking to buy kitchen sinks. Whatever you buy depends on your criteria plus how often you use your kitchen sink and what kind of usage. For example, a single person may not be washing a bulk of dishes and pots every day so they might be better off buying a lightweight sink.
On the other hand, a large family will have more usage of their kitchen sink and more load of washing, so they may wish to invest in a heavy-duty kitchen sink. There is one factor however that must be taken into consideration, and that is durability.
The most common types of kitchen sinks are highlighted below.
Ceramic sinks are in fashion once again. These are easy to maintain and the installation is easier too. They are strong and not easily dented. They are heat and stain resistant which makes them easier to clean. A variety of colours are now available in this type.
Stainless Steel Sink
This is the most popular kitchen sink type because of its durability. This type of sink is scratch-proof to a great extent. A big variety of designs and styles are available with the added advantage of being low priced.
These are the more traditional styles sinks. These sinks are known for their depth making it more practical to wash large and bulky items. So, if you would like a traditional look and if you have lots of pots and pans to wash, this is the type of sink you will love. This sink is strong and doesn’t dent easily plus it is suitable for hot temperatures.
Your Guide to Get Started
When it comes to changing your sink, the simplest and easiest method would be to change your existing sink for a like for like item. The same size, dimensions and fitting would make the change so much easier and time-effective. This is because the size and the depth of the kitchen sink you are now fitting in will affect the countertop of the kitchen, the cupboard space underneath the sink and the pipework.
As an example, if you are getting a bigger sink fitted, you will need to cut the worktop to match the size of the sink. Next, you will have to cut the supply and water waste pipe as the new sink would go deeper in the cupboard and you will need a smaller pipe to adjust to its length. Also, the cupboard space you now have will be smaller now than it was previously with a smaller sink.
When given the opportunity to replace your kitchen sink, it’s the perfect time to change to a different style of sink and give a whole new look to your kitchen. A kitchen sink may make a big impact on the look of your kitchen. So, when you have the chance you might wish to go for something that’ll make your kitchen stand out and look like new, meeting your needs and improving the usability of your kitchen.
The material the sink is constructed from will play a factor on the installation. Stainless steel sinks are much lighter in weight and could be installed by one person whereas, on the other hand, a ceramic sink is much heavier in weight and would require another person to help with the installation.
Like other home appliances and home décor items, there are thousands of choices out there for sinks. The main features to consider when choosing a new sink are highlighted below.
Number of Basins– You can select the number of basins you wish to have, whether that’s to form one large basin, two same sized basins to even a one large and one small basin. Each type of sink or number of basins has its advantages, but the key element to bear in mind in the piping.
As an example, if you have a one basin sink and wish to change to a two basin sink, you will have an additional drain point in the new sink. This means additional piping would be required to service both basins. Alternatively, if you’re changing to a one basin sink from a two basin sink, the extra wastewater piping would need to be removed.
Style of Fitting– Getting a sink which is suitable for your kitchen is important. Not all sinks are recommended for all worktops. Understanding the types is important to make sure your kitchen looks fantastic once you’re finished.
Surface/ Top Mounted Sink – These sinks are fitted from on top of your worktop. The sink would be placed into the cut out for the sink and would leave an edge above the worktop. These types of sinks are usually more cost-effective and easier to install. The worktop may need to be cut if you opt for a larger sink. Surface/top mounted sinks are suitable for all types of worktops.
Flush Mounted Sink – These types of sinks are harder to install and you might need the help of a professional. The flush-mounted sink sits perfectly in link with the work-top, blending both surfaces with no difference in surface height. The sink would insert into a perfectly cut segment of the worktop. This type of sink is more suited for harder worktops such as stone, granite or marble. This style of fitting has the advantage of ease in cleaning as you wouldn’t need to clean between the edge of the sink and the end of your worktop.
Under Mounted Sink – This type of sink fits under the worktop, meaning the sink would sit lower within the worktop. This type of sink is more suitable for stronger worktops such as marble or granite so the weight of the sink can be supported. In terms of cleaning, the lip of the worktop makes cleaning easier as crumbs can be swept into the sink with ease.
Farmhouse Sink – These are large sinks which come out past your cabinets known as the apron. Where this style of sink is the more rustic looking it is ideal for washing larger pots and pans. Farmhouse sinks are harder to install due to their size and the fact that you will have to cut your worktop and storage to fit the sink.
Current Sink – You must understand your current sink and how it’s currently set up before being able to proceed further with installing a new sink. Knowing what you have and how it works is vital if you are thinking of changing and installing your new sink yourself.
Look under the sink and take time to identify the different pipes and connectors. If you have an old sink, the feed into your taps is likely to be made from copper. These types of pipes were common in the past, but now copper pipes have been replaced by flexible pipes and these would require changing.
Things You Need to Know Before You Start Plumbing
There are a few things you’ll need to know before you start any plumbing work in your home. These are highlighted below!
- The pipes connecting the plumbing of your internal home to the sink. It’s important you know which pipe runs the hot and which runs the cold water to the sink.
- Know where the waste pipe is. This is the large pipe connected to the plughole in your sink. This allows all the water from the sink to travel to your drains.
- Knowing where the water supply to the sink can be isolated. The water supply to your sink will need to be turned off while you change the sink.
Removing Your Old Sink
The first and most important part of changing your sink is to isolate the water supply. If you’re not sure, it’s recommended to run the tap and isolate what you think is the supply. If you have isolated the correct pipe the water pouring from your tap will stop.
- If there is no isolation point under your sink or you are unable to find an isolation point you may need to turn the main supply in your home off. If this is the case, you must add an isolation point during your new sink installation. The easiest and cheapest option is to add a compression fitting. This is a small connector that fits the pipe of your home supply to the flexible pipe that feeds your sink. When you wish to isolate your supply, the compression fitting houses a notched screw which when turned isolates the supply.
- Remove the water feeding pipes from your home’s connection with an adjustable wrench.
- Though many people disconnect the wastewater pipe next, it would be safer to loosen any nuts and bolts holding your taps in place. This is because if any excess water that is left in the tap, there is no danger of damaging the storage under the sink as the wastewater pipe is still connected. Once you have loosened the taps, you can pull the taps away from the sink as well as pulling the water feeder pipes. If its too tight to pull through, the pipes can be removed first.
- Once the water supply has been isolated the next step is to disconnect the wastewater pipe (the drain of the sink). This will be disconnected from under the sink.
- The only things that should be holding your sink in place now are any nuts/clamps and silicone used to glue the sink down. Loosen any nuts or clamps before cutting the silicone with a Stanley knife. When this is completed the sink should be easily removed. Depending on the sink, you may need some help to lift the sink from its possession, especially if it’s a ceramic sink.
- Surface and flush-mounted sinks can be lifted, however you may need to push the sink from below to allow you to hold the edges. Under mounted sinks will need to be removed from under the worktop. Ensure you have enough space to manoeuvre the sink out of the cupboard. For farmhouse sinks, as they are fitted below the work surface, you will need to pull the sink out towards you to remove them.
Preparing The Area For Installation
Before installing your new sink, its important the area is prepared and ready for the new sink. This will vary depending on the type of sink you have purchased. If the sink is a like for like change, all you’ll need to do is clean any silicone left on the edges from your old sink. This can be scraped away. Make sure the edges are smooth so the new sink can be fitted flat.
- If you have upgraded the size or design of your sink, you may need to cut your worktop to accommodate the new sink. The two options for this are either measure the dimensions of your new sink and mark the size on your worktop, or place your new sink upside down on top of the existing cutout. Mark the size of the new sink onto the worktop.
- Carefully cut along the markings for the new sink. Ensure the edges are smooth with no protruding parts. Its good practice to try inserting the sink into the new hole to ensure it fits. It’s safer to cut within the line with the margin to increase the size rather than cutting too much as you can’t go back, so be careful!
- Once the sink fits in the hole and you are satisfied, check around the sink whilst it’s sitting in the worktop to identify where the sealant is needed and what areas would require more. Also, don’t forget to check under the sink to ensure there is adequate room below also.
- If you have changed the basin quantity in your sink. It’s a good time to change the waster connections under the sink whilst the sink is not fitted giving you more room to work.
- You may be able to just change the waste connecter part which connects into the sink. If you have increased the basin number from one to two, simply remove the single waste pipe connector already fitted and replace with a dual waste pipe fitting. Ensure you have a tight seal at the connections to eliminate any risk of leaks.
Installing Your New Sink
Installing a new sink is just as easy as removing the old one, in reverse. Once you’ve got the area cut out and ready to go, you’ll be able to crack on with the installation without any hesitation.
- Add a thin layer of silicone to the edges of the worktop. Depending on the type of sink you have, this can vary where it needs to be located. For surface and flush-mounted sinks, this will be on top and for under surface and farmhouse this would be below the work surface.
- Place the sink into the hole and apply pressure on the edges to allow the sink to join with the silicone. Once you have created a strong bond between the sink and the work surface, you may need to wipe the excess silicone coming from the edges to create a clean finish. Make sure to ask someone to help you and hold the sink in place!
- The next step is to install the taps, once you have placed the taps into the sink secure them and connect the water hot and cold fittings to your home’s connection. Re-connect the wastewater connection under the sink. You must ensure all connections are tight to remove any risk of leaks.
A Sink in Front of The Window
For lots of homes, the kitchen sink is placed in front of the window. If your home is one of those then are a few things to bear in mind when installing and replacing the kitchen sink. It’s mainly the type of taps you are selecting that will make a difference if your sink is below the kitchen window. For example, a long tap that hinders the opening and closing of window can be replaced with a short and stout tap which will make the window operating easier.
Another alternative is that you go for the type of tap which can be tilted from one side to the other, so it can be moved out of the way when you need to reach to the window. You may wish to buy a modern tap where you can extend the tap from its main holder and even take it out to make access easier. This type of sink has added advantages of ease of cleaning. If you have a big sink, the tap typically doesn’t reach the corners which gather food and grease so, with this type of tap, you can remove the tap from its holder and pour water in the corners.
Hiring a Professional Plumber
If you’re think plumbing the kitchen sink yourself is a risk you would like to avoid, then you can take the help of professional plumbers. They can make your life easier by plumbing the kitchen sink for you. These are the things you need to bear in mind if you are hiring a professional plumber, which we’ve highlighted below for you.
Ask About Prices
Make sure you ask them if their service includes the price of labour and installation only or if it includes the material as well. Some companies will show you the price of all the materials which may seem affordable until the final bill comes through. It’s important to know whether the cost includes the labour and installation costs, or if it’s just for the materials.
A great way to guarantee a good price is by getting multiple quotes from different companies. A minimum of three is advised to help make sure you’re getting a good quote, every time.
Buying Materials Yourself
Often companies will charge extra if they need to source the materials themselves, which is something you can avoid the extra charge for. If you talk to the company and advise that you’re happy to purchase the materials yourself, and you only need the labour and installation costs, they may be able to give you a better deal.
Always Get Quotes First
Getting a quote before you hire a company is a great way to guarantee you’re not overpaying. Getting a quote will help you to see any charges and costs and how they’re allocated, allowing you to get the best deal.
As mentioned previously, it’s always advised to get multiple quotes together. The minimum we advise is three, as this helps to outline any anomalies in quotes and help you to get the best deal possible.
Hire a Specialist
Several people specialise in fitting either kitchens or bathrooms, so they’ll be more than suited to installing your sink for you. It’s important to look for a company or a tradesperson who has the expertise in rooms that involve a sink, as they’ll have more than enough exposure and experience in installing a sink.
Check Online For Reviews
When looking to hire someone for any work for your property, always look online to see if there are any reviews. These reviews are a great indicator of what sort of service you can expect to receive and how your experience will be. A great experience will be shown through these reviews, but not nearly as easily as a negative one. People are much more likely to leave negative feedback, so it’s important to take a look online.
If you’re struggling to find any reviews online, try searching for the company name and putting ‘reviews’ at the end. This will help your computer to find the results you’re looking for if there are any. If there aren’t any still, you may wish to talk to family and friends to see if they can provide any further information for you.
Ensure They Know The Job at Hand
When hiring a professional, you’ll need to make sure they’re fully aware of the job at hand. It’s a bit different than a typical room installation, as there won’t be room plans drawn up, therefore you need to make sure they know what you’d like doing.
Measurements are a great way in guaranteeing good results as you can say directly what it is you’re looking to achieve from using their services, where it’s going to sit. Another great way is to use pictures. Perhaps you’ve bought a cupboard and sink set. This will show you exactly how it should look so you can share this with the plumber.
They’ll have a lot of knowledge about what needs to be done, but it’s always good to share information wherever you can.
Double and Triple Check Once They’ve Finished
Once you’ve had the installation completed, be sure to triple check that everything is installed properly and you’re happy that it functions exactly as it should be. There are a few things to check, such as:
- Check the sealant around the sink to make sure it’s fully applied
- Check to make sure the sink works and the drain removes water from the basin
- Make sure there are no leaks
- Check to make sure that any cupboard doors and/or drawers are working as they should be
- Make sure that you’re happy it’s fully fixed to the wall and it feels sturdy.
A lot of problems are obvious early on, so it’s important to make sure you’re fully satisfied. If you’re not, in most cases the company who installed the sink will be more than happy to take a further look and understand why and if there’s anything they can do to help further.
If you’re looking to install a new sink, it’s not too difficult if you’ve got the right tools. You just need to be sure of what you’re doing to make sure there are no mistakes that are made!
If you’re not 100% confident for any reason, get in touch with a professional. They’ll have the experience and the knowledge to help you get the results that you’re looking for. It’s much better than a big bill due to a small mistake!
We hope the above comes in handy and helps you transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Enjoy your new sink!