Like the rest of your house, kitchen sinks and fixtures—spigots and faucets—have this way of wearing out. (If they haven't worn out, they are no doubt reminding you of the former owners' stale taste.) Sink and fixtures are usually easy to replace, although it does entail some overhead work. If you are replacing the sink and the fixtures, make most of the connections before mounting the sink. That will save wear and tear on your back—and your disposition.
Modern plumbing fixtures are surprisingly easy to work with, although you'll have to find the right connectors to mate them to the pipes under your sink. Look for knowledgeable folks at the store, and recognize that return trips to the store come with the territory of plumbing.
Sink projects can take several forms:
In the following, we will install a sink and fixture in a partly finished tile countertop. Please make sure you understand how to replace the countertop before beginning.
If you are replacing only the spigot and faucets, see “If You Are Replacing Just the Fixtures,” later.
If you're replacing a sink with an identical size and mounting style, skip the section on sizing the cutout.
Seeking Sink Styles
Kitchen sinks are sold with three or four holes for fixtures. Depending on design, the faucets and spigots use one to three holes. You can put a sprayer, a soap or lotion dispenser, an air break for the dishwasher, or a filtered-water tap in the other holes. We bought a four-holer and capped one with a plastic cap; maybe later we'll put a water filter outlet in the hole.
Most fixtures fit a standard hole pattern, with holes 4" apart. If your fixtures fit a nonstandard pattern, see Install a Pedestal Sink for details on connecting them.
Sinks come in several mounting varieties:
“Self-rimming” sinks, made of plastic composite, cast iron, or stainless steel, have a rim that sits on top of the counter. They are easiest to install, but the rim always seems to need cleaning. Stainless sinks are light, so they need clips to hold them in place. Plastic composite and cast-iron sinks can be held in place with caulking.
Tile-in sinks rest flush with the tile, or slightly below it.
Undermount sinks rest below the counter. They are difficult to mount because you must cover the exposed edge of the counter.