Many people wonder how to install a farmhouse sink, but it’s relatively easy if you understand the style and purpose of this type of sink.
Farmhouse, or apron-front, sinks are characterized by their exposed front basin and installation underneath countertops (as opposed to a lip sitting on top of the counter)—but their most distinctive feature is their vintage style that’s reminiscent of the large practical working sinks in, you guessed it, farmhouses. Oftentimes, these sinks are white porcelain, but they also come in stainless steel, which is easier to maintain and aesthetically complements more modern kitchens.
Because farmhouse sinks sit inside cabinets and countertops differently than a traditional drop-in sink, installing a farmhouse sink is easiest when you’re simultaneously getting new cabinets and countertops.
If you’ve decided that a farmhouse sink is right for you, great! Below, you’ll learn how to install a farmhouse style sink in just a few simple steps.
When choosing the size of your new sink, keep in mind that farmhouse sinks sit underneath countertops, so you don’t see the top edge of the sink. Because you don’t have the “traditional” drop-in style that rests on the counter, your countertop will need to extend farther over your farmhouse sink, or your new sink will need to be larger than your current sink cutout in order to fit underneath and not have any edges exposed.
Before you move forward with your sink installation, you’ll need to remove your old sink. Turn off your water to avoid any unexpected sprays, and then unscrew all the pipes and garbage disposal hookups from your old sink. Unscrew the sink from the countertop and cabinet base, and run a knife along any caulking to break the seal. Scrape off any remaining caulking, and clean the countertop of all food debris and residue.
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re switching from a drop-in to a farmhouse style sink, it’s best to install new countertops at the same time because the countertop is going to go on top of the sink itself. Installing it beneath existing countertops, especially marble or granite that cannot easily be cut, is extremely challenging. You might have rough or uneven edges.
If you’re not installing new counters, you need to ensure your existing counter isn’t damaged from your old drop-in sink, doesn’t have any drill holes, has enough overhang to cover the top edge of your new sink, and has enough depth to provide space at the back for the faucet to be installed into. (Farmhouse sinks typically don’t have cutouts for faucets, so faucets are drilled through the countertop behind the sink.)
With this in mind, we recommend including your farmhouse sink installation as part of your larger kitchen renovation that includes new countertops. You can opt for a high-quality counter like granite, which complements farmhouse sinks nicely, or a more affordable option like butcher block to lean into the rustic feel of farmhouse sinks.
If you haven’t installed your new countertops in yet, you’ll just need to make sure your countertops are the correct measurements to meet all the requirements listed above.
One of the most distinctive features of a farmhouse sink is their exposed front of the basin. In traditional sinks, the entire sink is dropped in, and the front is covered by a faux-drawer panel above the under-sink cabinets. When you want to install your farmhouse sink, you need to cut out enough of that panel to fit your new sink.
Your new cutout on the front of your cabinet should be deep enough that your sink will sit beneath the countertop. To make the cuts, you can flip your sink onto the existing space and trace with a pencil, or you can create a pattern using a large piece of cardboard. Make your cuts in the cabinet using a jigsaw.
Alternatively, you can buy specialty apron front farmhouse cabinet sink bases. We recommend this option if you’re replacing all your cabinets anyway!
Because farmhouse sinks aren’t sitting on top of the counter and being supported in that way, you have to build an inner support system under the sink to ensure it holds its own weight. Farmhouse sinks can be heavier than traditional sinks as well, especially if you opt for porcelain, so this support system is crucial.
Screw wooden boards into the side of the cabinet walls, additionally securing with wood glue. Create a strong support pattern by aligning your support beams in an inverted U-shape (one horizontal beam with two beams supporting it vertically—all glued and screwed into the cabinet wall). Use a level to make sure everything is perfectly aligned; you don’t want an unlevel sink!
If you’re installing a sink that has the same amount of basins as your old one, you won’t have to do any reconfiguration.
If you’re switching from a two-basin sink to a single basin farmhouse sink, you’ll need to reconfigure your garbage disposal and drains by connecting your drain to your garbage disposal so there’s only one drain to hook up to your new sink. This is the one part of your installation that will potentially require some expertise—call a plumber if you’re not sure.
Now’s the time to see your project really come to life! Carefully place your sink in your cabinet base on your support beams. Rest it there and make sure it’s level and seems to hold its weight. Most experts agree that the front of the sink should extend about half an inch farther out than the cabinets. If everything looks good, you can place the sink and caulk the edges to water seal them. Immediately wipe away any excess caulk.
After you’ve sealed in your sink, hook up your garbage disposal and drainage pipes. Seal them like you usually would, and then turn your water back on. Run water, checking for any sign of leaks. Additionally seal your pipes and drains if necessary.
Once your counters are installed (with pre-drilled faucet holes) over your sink, you can install your faucets.
If you’re looking to make your farmhouse sink installation as easy as possible, turn to Cabinets To Go and order your sink, countertops, and special farmhouse sink cabinet base all in one place!
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