How to Install a Farmhouse Sink

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Farmhouse sinks are a modern option — with vintage appeal — for kitchen renovations.

Farmhouse sinks can add great style and improved functionality to your kitchen, but installing a farmhouse sink is a much more involved process than adding a standard drop-in sink. In fact, you'll not only need to remove part of the front of the cabinet to make room for the apron front of your new sink but you'll also need to add supports to bear the weight of the sink. This is particularly important since some of these sinks can weigh as much as 300 pounds, which is why this project requires at least two people to lift the sink into place.

How to Choose a Farmhouse Sink

The number one thing to keep in mind when ordering a farmhouse sink is that it must fit in your cabinet. To properly fit, your cabinet must be at least 3 inches wider than the sink. Also, the space between the top of the cabinet and the cabinet door opening has to be at least 1/4-inch larger than the height of the sink so that the sink doesn't interfere with the doors.

Aside from size, you'll also need to keep in mind what mounting style you'd like, as this will drastically impact the installation process. The majority of farmhouse sinks are undermount style, meaning the completed installation will sit below the countertop surface. That being said, farmhouse sinks can also be installed flush with or above the countertop.

While a flush-mount farmhouse sink is the easiest to clean, many people do not like how the sealant is visible. It's possible to DIY this project by adjusting your measurements to include the height of the counter as well as the height of the cabinet, but because the installation process must be more precise, many people prefer to hire a professional when installing a flush-mounted apron-front sink.

If you prefer a farmhouse kitchen sink that's installed above the counter, you must specifically buy a top-mount sink. These sinks are the easiest to install, though they make cleaning your counters more difficult than the other two options. Top-mount apron-front sinks can often be installed with no additional support, although it's best to check the sink manual and the weight-bearing capabilities of your countertop and base cabinet first. Aside from not usually requiring supports, the installation process for a top-mount sink is slightly different in that the countertop does not need to be removed.

DIY installation of a farmhouse sink is possible but difficult.

Things You'll Need

  • Manufacturer template (optional)

  • Cardboard

  • Shims (optional)

  • Masking tape

  • 80-grit sandpaper

  • (1) 2x4 board

  • Construction adhesive

  • Screws

  • Caulk

  • Undermount farmhouse sink

  • Marker

  • Scissors

  • Screwdriver

  • Oscillating saw

  • Tape measure

  • PVC cutter (optional)

  • Pipe cutter (optional)

  • Level

  • Pencil

  • Jigsaw (optional)

  • Straightedge

  • Drill

  • Caulk gun

How to Install an Undermount Farmhouse Sink

You may be tempted to cut your cabinet or countertop before you actually get the sink in order to expedite the installation process. However, as the Sink Boutique points out, fireclay farmhouse sinks can vary in size by as much as 2 percent, so it's always best to wait until you have the sink in hand before making any cuts.

Step 1: Review the Manual

As with every home improvement project, it's important to review the manufacturer's instructions first. This is particularly true with a farmhouse sink, as some have very specific instructions or precautions to which you need to adhere. For example, some sinks require padding underneath.

Check to see if your new sink comes with a template, which can make the installation process a lot easier. If the sink doesn't come with a template, make your own by putting a piece of cardboard in front of the sink's apron, tracing around the outside of the front with a marker and then cutting the cardboard with scissors so it fits exactly over the front of your sink.

Step 2: Strip Your Sink Cabinet

If you're building a new kitchen or doing a full kitchen remodel, you can skip this step since your sink cabinet will probably already be stripped down, but if you're replacing your existing sink with a new farmhouse sink, you'll need to take everything apart until you're left with just a cabinet box.

  1. Turn off water supply lines and shut off the breakers to all electrical circuits in the area.

  2. Disconnect the pipes and unplug the garbage disposal.

  3. Remove your old sink (this process will vary depending on the mounting style).

  4. Remove your countertop by unscrewing it and using an oscillating saw to break or cut it away from the cabinet. You may need a few friends to help lift off the counter.

  5. Unscrew cabinet doors, false drawer fronts and hardware.

Step 3: Check Your Plumbing Connections

Check the height of your drainpipe and water inlets to ensure they'll work with your new sink by measuring the height of your sink, adding a few inches to account for drain fittings and the garbage disposal (if you have one) and measuring the height from the top of the cabinet to that distance to see if the pipes are too high. You may need to hire a plumber to move the connections, but if they're just too high, use a PVC cutter or pipe cutter to the right height and then deburr the pipes.

Make sure your drainpipe and water inlets will work with your new sink before installation.

Step 4: Cut the Cabinet Front

Before cutting a hole in the front of the cabinet for the sink apron, use a level on the top of the cabinet face to make sure your cabinet is level and even with the other cabinets next to it. If not, use shims to adjust the cabinet base so it sits level and even.

  1. Measure and mark the center point of the front of your sink cabinet.

  2. Center the sink template on the front of the cabinet and tape it down.

  3. Apply masking tape or painters' tape where you'll be cutting to help prevent splintering and make it easier to mark.

  4. Trace the template onto the masking tape with a pencil and then remove the template.

  5. Use a jigsaw or oscillating saw to cut out the outline.

  6. Sand the cut edges with 80-grit sandpaper until smooth.

Step 5: Add Sink Supports

While it's best to install supports on both cabinet walls and the back of the cabinet, a rear cabinet support is not always possible, as it can interfere with plumbing connections.

  1. Measure the depth of your cabinet and cut two pieces of a 2x4 board to that length. If adding a back wall support, measure this width as well, deducting the thicknesses of the two intersecting side support boards.

  2. Subtract the height of your sink from the interior height of your cabinet. Measure and mark this distance on the inside of the cabinet box using a straightedge to create a guide line. Note: Some sinks have a ledge that rests on top of the supports.

  3. Apply construction adhesive to your side supports and glue them just below the guide line. If using a rear support board, repeat the procedure along the back wall.

  4. Screw the support boards into the cabinet, making sure the screws do not go through the cabinet wall into the neighboring cabinet box.

  5. Measure the space below the bottom of the horizontal supports and then cut four pieces of 2x4 to make vertical supports for the horizontal pieces. You'll need an additional two if using a rear support beam.

  6. Glue the vertical supports and then screw them in place.

Step 6: Put the Sink in Place

With a partner, lift up the sink and lower it into place gently. Double check the height and use a level to make sure the sink is level across the top. Use shims as needed to adjust it for level.

How to Finish the Installation

Because the countertop needs to fit in perfectly with your other countertops and because many counter materials are notably heavy, it is generally best to hire professional counter installers. This step should be completed before the backsplash and faucet are installed. The installers will glue the sink to the counter.

Let the glue cure fully and then install the faucet, drain fittings and garbage disposal as applicable. Connect the supply lines, drain pipe and dishwasher lines. Finally, caulk around the perimeter of the sink where it meets the countertop.

references

Jill Harness is a blogger with experience covering architecture, design and decor trends from around the globe. As she lives in what would politely be called a "fixer upper," she is particularly interested in writing about DIY projects and repairs. Most of her home design writing can be found at www.homesandhues.com. You can find out more about Jill's experience and learn how to contact her through her website, www.jillharness.com.

View Work