Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Never Take Running Water for Granted, Part 4: Preventing a Flood

Hey everybody! It's been a while since my last post! If you don't remember me, I'm Tom, Chelsea's husband and the man-power behind many of these projects. I've been on a little hiatus from the blog because I took a board certification exam last week!

We last left off where I showed you how to disconnect your old sink, install your faucet and water lines, and how to carve out a sink hole for your new sink. Now we'll actually install the new sink in the countertop and connect the drain pipes.

Since we already had the sink prepped and the hole cut, all we had to do was take our sink (with the faucet already installed) and drop it in the hole. Before we dropped it in the hole permanently, however, we took measures to make sure that sink was gonna go exactly where we wanted it to go. So we placed the sink where we wanted it and measured carefully, on all sides and from the sink to the countertop (ensuring that the sink was even) and placed masking tape around the sink edges so we would know exactly where to place the sink.

Then we just squeezed a line of silicon-clear-waterproof caulk around the edges of the sink hole (so water doesn't seep under the rim and rot out the wood cabinet underneath), and we placed that baby into the hole, making sure to stay within the masking tape perimeter we had created. I tell ya, that masking tape worked like a charm!

Once the sink was in place, it was time to clamp it down to the countertop. On the underside rim of the sink there are specific places to use the sink clamps, effectively ensuring that the sink wasn't going anywhere once those babies were in. But sheesh - talk about difficult! If you remember our setback with the sink clamps awhile ago, you'll know that our countertop was too thick (since it's a DIY granite tile) for the regular clamps that came with our brand new sink, and we ran all over town trying to find some to fit. Luckily, we finally just up and called the sink company and told them about our situation - and they very kindly overnighted us the right clamps -- for free! Talk about saving some serious dough on this one (online the right clamps were priced at 40$ plus shipping!).

Chelsea came in handy here, and took a paper towel to wipe off the excess caulk around the sink rim before it dried, while I started workin' my magic under the sink.

Installing the drain pipe in your new kitchen sink might be the most important step. Sure, running water is great, but we didn't want the water to run straight on to our beautiful new laminate floors!

Chelsea was pretty excited about getting a one drain sink- which was fine by me! She could be excited about the sleek, modern look and I could just be excited that there were half as many drains to install! Can't beat that deal.

A garbage disposal is "optional", I suppose, but for us it was a must have! Luckily, our house came with one installed. We were convinced it didn't work for a while, but after pulling a quarter out (yes, really, a quarter was jammed inside the garbage disposal - not surprising in this house!) we had a perfectly functioning garbage disposal, no purchase necessary!

We mounted the garbage disposal to the drain hole using a stainless steel flange and plumber's putty (and wiped off the excess with a paper towel), but I won't go into the details because garbage disposal installation may vary by manufacturer and, quite honestly, it isn't that exciting.

The drain pipe really only needs to satisfy three criteria: One, there must be a trap beneath the drain. This creates a plug of water that separates your home from nasty sewer gases! Second, you need to get the drain pipe to the main drain pipe that runs directly to the sewer. In our house, this was located in the back left corner of our sink's cabinet. Third, the pipe must not leak! This can be tricky, and as we learned, it's a process of trial and error.

You can find kits with all the sizes/shapes of pipes you need and all the fitting. The parts for a complete drain pipe only cost about five bucks! In addition, you might need a hacksaw, and a little teflon plumber's tape comes in handy!

All in all, it's like a giant puzzle to try to get from point A to point B! Dare I say this project was kind of fun? It was challenging but not impossible, and I am a big fan of that. Here is the end result:

With this, we finally had our kitchen sink back after six long weeks! All in all, this installation was pretty challenging. This is not for beginners in home improvement, but it is definitely do-able with some research, sweat, elbow grease, and, of course, plenty of grumbling underneath the sink!

May I introduce you to our new sink:

Ain't she a beaut?

So, what do you guys think? Have you ever installed a sink yourself? Did you run into some of our own problems (such as the frustrating sink clamps sizes)? Is this something you that leave to the pros (we wouldn't blame you!)? Or are you just as shocked and surprised as we are that we were actually able to pull this one off without flooding the house? Let us know what you think!

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  1. Tom, that picture of you looking up through the drain is priceless!

    Another great tip-filled tutorial guys. Will you hold my hand when I start on the kitchen in October?

  2. The sink looks great now; all's well that ends well, right? Your idea to call the company was obviously the best idea ever...we did the same once on a new faucet installation because no matter what, the darn thing kept leaking. So, rather than bother taking the thing back to the hardware store, we called the manufacturer. Yep, they did overnight the part we needed and problem solved! Yeah! Every time you do a DIY, you learn something new! Isn't it great? Already a follower. Pam @ Sallygoodin

  3. It looks great, but it also looks like a lot of work. We may hire someone to install our sink after seeing all the work that goes into it! Good job, Tom! I agree with Sunny, those photos are great of you looking through the drain. :)

  4. Thanks for commenting! Like I said, this project was pretty difficult, although it was worth it! I am glad we called the company (Elkay), too, because they were very helpful. I was going to be upset if we had to fork over another 40 bucks on top of the already-expensive sink, but it all worked out.

    Glad you like the pictures, Chelsea is always ready with the camera!


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