Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Kitchen sink replacement


Kitchen sink
Kitchen sink  

Underside of sink
Underside of sink  
Hi Diane,
We'd like to replace our undermount kitchen sink.  Some differing opinions on who can handle the project: Plumber and/or countertop provider.  Here are some pics of the existing ceramic undermount.  The sink appears to be attached to the bottom of the counter.  Is this a fairly simple replacement?  Or, is it more complex than appears?  Thanks very much.

Hello, Len.

Removing an existing undermount sink is very challenging. It's not a D-I-Y project. In 31 years, I've never had any experience with this type of project, because my clients want to replace the countertop and the sink as part of their kitchen remodel. You'll need to talk with countertop fabricators (if possible, find the one who created the countertops and attached the sink). I do not recommend a plumber (or a handyman) to tackle this, although a plumber must un-install the plumbing connections and pipes before the sink is removed.

Often, sink manufacturers provide clips that attach to the underside of the sink and countertop, but fabricators often use an adhesive to guarantee that the sink won't fall out of place. The key to successfully removing the sink is removing the clips and detaching it, which depends totally upon the type of adhesive that was used. Many of the silicon-type adhesives are impervious to chemicals, which means that the seal must be broken with something sharp like a knife or a wire. This is done in the cabinet below the sink, balancing the heavy sink while trying to detach it. Awkward!

You do not want to cut the countertop to remove the sink! If you do, you'll have to use a different slab, because the saw kerf will leave a gap that will be visible after the piece is reinstalled. Good fabricators resist any seams at or near a sink, because of the expansion coefficient of the two materials, and the size of the hole relative to the overall span of the slab -- complicated by the proximity to the dishwasher.

If the sink is successfully removed, you have another challenge facing you: Replacing the old sink with a new sink that has the same cutout dimensions. This whole experience could be very expensive, possibly exceeding $3,000.

I'm glad that you decided to write this question for expert advice before tackling the project yourself. You said it best: It is more complex than it appears (like most remodeling and renovation)!

Wishing you the best of luck. Hope everything works out, that your investment is much lower than my guesstimate!

Warm regards,

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ
D. P. Design (
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Kitchen Design/Remodeling

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about kitchen design, remodeling: appliances, cabinets, countertops, lighting/switching, accessible kitchens, kitchens for multiple cooks, kitchen trends, flooring, windows and doors, ventilation, safety, function, and style.


25+ years as a kitchen designer; over 10 years as a Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer. Hundreds of projects completed, in all styles, all ranges of investment. Multiple design awards and published articles (see below). Public speaker and lecturer about home remodeling. Co-host of a local radio program for over three years, currently the host of "Today's Home" on Lifetime WebRadio every Sunday afternoon (website:

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association); NAHB (National Association of Home Builders); PRO (Portland Remodelers' Organization); IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council)

"THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" (book published in 2003), Gentry Magazine, Designers' Illustrated Magazine, Interior Coordinator Magazine (Japan); San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Oregonian, Statesman Journal Newspapers.

Multiple degrees, including bathroom design, kitchen design, lighting design, and residential interior design. Classes and seminars attended frequently, to maintain current knowledge about products, trends, codes, and technology.

Awards and Honors
Multiple certifications: Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer (NKBA), Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ, National Council of Interior Design Qualification), and Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (NAHB). Awards include: Henry Adams Designer of the Year, CoTY, Master Design, Chrysalis, Best of the Best, Excellence (Best home in its category), and NABE (Best how-to book, 2003).

Past/Present Clients
To see photos of completed projects, please visit my website:

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