Thursday, May 27, 2010

Never Take Running Water for Granted, Part 3: Carvin' a Sink Hole!

Alright! Now that we had the faucet mounted in the sink, it was time to drop that shiny new baby in there and strap it down to the countertop! Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Physically mounting our sink into the countertop was perhaps the most daunting step in this whole running water deal.

Well, I guess this might be a simple, quick step for many people, but in our true style (or lack thereof!), we ran into many complications.

Before dropping your beautiful new sink into your beautiful new counters, you need a really big hole. A lot bigger than you think! We soon realized that this would be tricky: because this was a tiling job (we did a DIY granite tile countertop), we needed to ensure a perfectly cut sink hole at every layer. Plywood, mortar, cement board, mortar, tiles. Yup, every step of the way. It was no picnic.

After laying our plywood, it was time to cut the first hole, which we figured was the most important. New sinks come with an outline in the box. The alternative, which we used, is to lay the sink upside down on the counter exactly where you want it. You trace around the sink, remove the sink, and then draw a line 3/16" inside the outline all the way around. This allows the lip of the sink to overhang the countertop just enough.

The real trick is the exactly part. You must center the sink exactly over the center of the cabinet underneath it or you will run into problems later! Also, measure the distance from the front edge of the sink to the countertop edge in several places to ensure the edge of the countertop is parallel to the sink.

Once we had the line drawn 3/16" inside the sink outline, we cut along this line with a jigsaw.

On the other hand, we cut the sink hole in the cement board before laying it. This allowed me to cut it outside, which made Chelsea very happy because cutting cement board inside would leave our furniture covered in dust for weeks! Hmmm... or maybe it just made Chelsea not mad rather than happy... either works for me! :-)

Laying the tiles around the sink hole was difficult. It will also vary by project, so the only advice I can offer is go slow, be patient, and be prepared to "waste" a few tiles while trying to cut tiles around the opening. These do not have to be perfect! Just make sure that (1) the opening is fully covered by the sink, (2) the sink fits into the opening, and (3) lip of the sink is supported by the countertop.

And yes - that sink opening will be ugly when you're done! At least ours was. After all it doesn't matter as long as your opening follows the three guidelines above! It doesn't have to be pretty, just able to hold your sink where you want it. Keep that in mind and you may just keep your sanity.

Just be patient, work carefully, and double check your measurements. Definitely do not be afraid to frequently place your sink in the hole-in-progress to check that it fits properly, especially countertop installation with multiple steps (like granite tiles). Just be careful not to scratch that shiny new sink!

Jeez, I am tired just thinking of this again. Have you ever cut a hole for a sink? Did you have as much "fun" as we did? If you haven't done this project, did we inspire you - or just scare you? We'll be interested to know :-)

Stay tuned for part 4!

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  1. "Not mad" is almost as good as happy when it comes to a remodel. And "ugly" is relative. The closer you get to done, the prettier everything is.

    You guys really impress me with the beautiful job you're doing. We broke a hammer trying to get a nail out of the wall when we first bought the house.

  2. oh boy that sounds stressful! you guys do such a good job. i really want to put a farmhouse sink in my kitchen some day...a little scared to try it on our own though! :) you give me hope though.

  3. Thanks for the comments! Projects like this are an adventure but they are totally worth it. And, they're a good learning experience, too. It's a nice challenge to try to do something for the first time.


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