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Installing a Kitchen Countertop and Sink

Here's how to put in a sparkling new sink, faucet and countertop in a weekend.

Turning your kitchen into a showcase doesn't require lots of time and money. With the addition of a sparkling new sink and faucet to coordinate with a new countertop, you'll have a new kitchen any cook would be proud of. Fix It Up! shows you how to get it done.

Materials and Tools:

countertop, sink and faucet assembly of your choosing
tape measure
writing tablet and pencil
adjustable wrench
power screwdriver
screwdriver
wood glue
4-foot level
circular saw
drill
paddle bit
jigsaw
plumber's putty

Figure A

Steps:

1. Begin by taking measurements for your new countertop, then transfer those measurements to a simple diagram on paper of your kitchen (figure A). Be sure to measure wall to wall, not from the inside edges of the old countertop. Remember: measure twice, cut once! Once you have your measurements, you can place your order for a new countertop.

Figure B

2. Disconnect the plumbing under the sink. Turn both hot and cold water lines off and disconnect the lines with a wrench (figure B). If you have a garbage disposal, disconnect that as well, along with the pvc pipe. Have a bucket and rag on hand to catch drips from the plumbing.

Figure C

3. Remove all items from the countertop and all drawers. Use both a power screwdriver and regular screwdriver to remove all screws holding the countertop. Once all screws are removed, carefully lift the countertop up and away, revealing the base cabinetry (figure C).

Figure D

4. Prepare for the countertop installation by first running a bead of wood glue along the mitered corner of one of the pieces of countertop. Position the countertop against a second piece, placing both upside-down across the cabinets to more easily join them. Place the corner clips inside the depressions and tighten them with a wrench (figure D). Tighten until snug and the corners are true.

5. Make sure the countertop surface is smooth at the seam. Completely tighten clips. Place onto cabinetry, ensure that it is level and secure with screws. Don't overtighten the screws — this could destroy the particle board. And, even though it is common sense, make sure the screws are not too long and don't penetrate the countertop surface. (These directions pertain to the section of counter not holding the sink).

Figure E

6. To measure for the sink, place the new countertop on sawhorses, then place the old countertop on top (figure E). Make marks for the area to be cut out, flip the new countertop over, then transfer these marks to the back using a tape measure. Cut the counter with a circular saw, with the guide set to run along the edge. Once the dimensions are cut, set the new counter in place and secure (figure F). Note that you haven't cut away the sink area yet.

Figure G

7. A handy way to measure for the sink is to use a template provided by the sink manufacturer (figure G). Cut away the sink area by drilling a pilot hole with a paddle bit, then use a jigsaw to complete the cut. Closely follow the pencil line until the entire section is completely cut away.

Figure H

8. For this project, the sink hardware is installed before the sink is dropped into place. Begin by inserting the faucet body through the cutout in the sink. Attach the gasket and threaded collar ring to the unit from below (figure H). Don't tighten all the way — you'll want room to attach plumber's putty underneath the faucet assembly.

Figure I

9. Roll plumber's putty between your palms (like Play-Doh) and then set it on the sink top just under the faucet. Press the faucet down onto the putty and then secure the threaded collar underneath the sink. Use plumber's putty around the bottom of the sink strainers, then insert them into the holes in the sink (figure I).

Figure J

10. Line the perimeter of the sink cutout with a thin rope of plumber's putty (figure J), then wrap thread tape around the water supply line threads. Lower the sink into the putty, then, when the sink is well-seated, remove the excess from around the sink. Finally, attach the supply lines and you are done (figure K). This project costs around $1,400 and takes one day to complete.

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