Canadian Woodworking

Installing a drop-in kitchen sink

Author: Carl Duguay
Photos: Carl Duguay
Published: October November 2020

Replacing a top mount kitchen sink isn’t overly complicated. Preparation and patience make the job quick and easy.


Top mount stainless-steel sinks (also called drop-in, over mount or self-rimming) are the most common type of sink, particularly when matched with laminate countertops. They’re super durable, and unless you drop a heavy object into the sink, they’ll likely last for decades. What’s more likely to happen are cosmetic issues – they’re prone to scratching and tarnishing – and over time your sink can look dull and drab. If the scratches aren’t too severe you can try a stainless-steel scratch repair kit. But if you’re going to be doing any kind of upgrade in the kitchen, such as installing a new faucet, countertop or backsplash, or replacing major appliances, then it’s probably time to replace the sink.

Strainer Assembly
The strainer assembly consists of a basket, strainer, gaskets, pressure cup and tailpiece.

Order of Operations
The strainer and Styrofoam gasket go inside the sink. The rubber gasket, pressure cup and tailpiece go on the bottom of the sink.

Shutoff Valve
There will be one hot and one cold shutoff valve, and possibly one valve for the dishwasher. Both hot- and cold-water supply valves will need to be turned off before turning on the taps to empty any remaining water.

Start Removing Parts
Disconnect the tailpieces from the drainpipes.

Mounting Nut Removal
A mounting nut secured the faucet to the sink and countertop. It can be removed now.

Torque Clips
EZ Torque clips, available on some Kindred products, are fast and easy to install.

Mount From Above
The EZ Torque base (in black) slips into the sink from above.

Simple Installation
Simply tighten the set screw to the faucet of the EZ Torque base.

For anyone with a modicum of DIY skills, replacing a top mount sink is straightforward if you choose a replacement sink that is the same size (in both width and depth) as the original. Allow a couple of hours for the job and another hour or so if you’re adding a gar­burator or water purifier. Before beginning the installation, remove everything from the cabinet below the sink.

While the steps I outline below are typical for most installations, it’s time well spent to review the installation guides that come with your specific sink and faucet.

The obvious first thing to do is have all the materials and tools you need on hand. These include the sink, faucet (unless you plan to reuse the old one), new supply lines (unless the existing ones are new), basin wrench, socket wrench, screwdriver, small bucket and absorbent towels. Many new sinks have a gasket that runs around the lip of the sink to provide a watertight seal, and these typically don’t need silicone or plumber’s putty.

If the sink you purchase doesn’t come with strainer assemblies, you’ll need to pur­chase them. Mount the strainer assemblies and tailpieces onto the new sink before you start your installation. For a double bowl sink, you’ll need two sets of strainers and tailpipes.

  • Close the shutoff valves for the hot- and cold-water supply and then open the kitchen sink faucet to relieve any pressure in the lines. Place a small bucket under the supply lines to collect water and then disconnect the water supply lines.
  • Disconnect the tailpieces underneath the sink from the drainpipes. In most cases there is no need to remove the P-trap or trap assembly.
  • Remove the mounting nuts that secure the faucet in place. A basin wrench comes in handy here. If the nuts are stuck or rusted, use a wire brush to clean off any corrosion. Spraying the nuts with a penetration oil might also help loosen them.
  • Using a screwdriver or socket wrench, unscrew the bolts that secure the sink to the countertop.
  • Lift out the sink and faucet, and then clean the top rim of the sink opening.
  • Lower the new sink into the opening, ensuring that the tailpieces align with the drainpipes and then tighten the tailpiece couplings.
  • Install the new faucet and reconnect the supply lines.
  • Tighten the sink retainer clips.
  • Open the shutoff valves a quarter turn and check to ensure there are no leaks. If all is good, fully open the valves.

The sink and faucet line that I now use exclusively is from Kindred. Compared to traditional sink mounting clips, Kindred’s EZ Torque clips make it considerably easier and faster to secure the sink to the countertop. These fasteners are installed single-handedly using a ratchet wrench or power drill. The clips are pre-mounted on the sink so they won’t fall off when moving the sink around or when securing the sink to the countertop.

Even more impressive is the EZ Torque base that enables you to mount the fau­cet to the sink from above the countertop – there’s no crawling under the sink with a basin wrench while someone holds the fau­cet in place from above the cabinet. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver. The made-in-Canada sinks have a high nickel and chromium content that makes them equally resistant to heat and corrosion.

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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