removal and installation guide

Single Kitchen Sink Installation Guide

Handy DIY homeowners often install their own kitchen sinks. It’s a fairly easy procedure when the sink hole has already been cut. If you do need to cut a hole in a countertop, see our Triple Kitchen Sink Installation Guide for details on how that is done.

For the installation, you’ll need:

  • The sink installation manual
  • Clamps – usually included with the sink kit
  • Silicone caulk
  • Driver or screwdriver

kitchen sink installation

Installing a Drop-in Sink

These sinks are also called topmount sinks and self-rimming sinks. They are the easiest type to install. Here are step-by-step kitchen sink installation instructions.

  • Make sure the countertop and the bottom of the sink rim are clean
  • Run a ¼” bead of silicone caulk around the countertop where the sink rim will rest
  • Install the sink through the hole, and press it snugly into place
  • Wipe away excess silicone caulk
  • From underneath, install all of the clamps, and finger-tighten them
  • Once they’re all installed, use your screwdriver to tighten them a few turns
  • Tip: Heavy sinks must be supported by the sink cabinet to relieve weight from the countertop. See our Farmhouse Sink Installation Guide for how to install supports for heavy sinks
  • Install the drain, garbage disposer and other accessories using the instruction manuals for guidance

Installing an Undermount Single Kitchen Sink

If you’ve chosen an undermount sink, you’ll install it onto the countertop before attaching the countertop to the cabinets. See our Countertop Removal & Installation Guides for details on countertop installation. Here’s how to install an undermount sink to the countertop.

  • Turn the countertop upside down
  • Clean the sink rim and area on the underside of the countertop where it will fit
  • Run a ¼” bead of silicone caulk where the rim will connect with it
  • Place the sink, and press it down firmly
  • Remove excess caulk from the underside of the countertop
  • Install the included clamps, and finger-tighten them
  • When all clamps are in place, use the screwdriver to tighten them – being careful not to over-tighten them
  • Tip: If installing clamp screws into granite, quartz, concrete or similar materials, the holes should be carefully pre-drilled to prevent the material from cracking
  • Once the countertop has been installed, excess caulk can be removed from the inside of the sink using a utility knife
  • Install the drain, garbage disposal and other accessories
  • Tip: Very heavy sinks must be supported by the sink cabinet, and you can find details on adding supports in our Farmhouse Sink Installation Guide

The Cost to Install a Single Kitchen Sink

This cost is typically included in an estimate for a complete kitchen remodel. However, if you’re just having a sink installed, the price range will be:

  • Single kitchen sink installation cost: $100-$350

A single sink with one drain line will cost $100-$125 unless the installer has a minimum service fee higher than that. From there, the kitchen sink installation cost will go up based on how many extras are included such as a garbage disposal, dishwasher, tankless water heater or a water filter. If you need to run a gas line for a gas water heater or an electric line for disposal or electric tankless water heater, the total price will exceed $350.

Single Kitchen Sink Installation FAQ

This single sink installation Q&A covers additional important topics.

I’m installing an undermount sink. What is a reveal, and what type should I choose?

The reveal relates to how much of the kitchen sink top shows. You have three options:

  • Positive reveal means that the sink opening is cut slightly too large, so that the top of the sink bowl is exposed
  • Negative reveal means that the sink opening is cut 1/16” to 1/4″ too small to produce a slight overhang of the countertop
  • Flush or zero reveal means that the sink is installed so that the sides of the sink bowl are flush with the edge of the countertop

The main reason for a positive reveal is for cleaning purposes. Some installers interpret local building codes about cleaning food prep surfaces to mean the sink rim must be exposed for cleaning. However, not everyone interprets codes in that manner. If there’s any confusion about the issue, contact your local building code department.

A positive reveal exposes silicone caulk which eventually becomes stained. The top of the sink rim might collect food debris and become discolored too, depending on what material it is. The appearance of a positive reveal isn’t optimal, in most homeowner’s opinion. It can look like the countertop doesn’t fit properly, especially if the countertop fabricator doesn’t do a near-perfect job and the reveal isn’t uniform all the way around. This is one of the reasons your countertop contractor might try to talk you out of a positive reveal.

Most undermount sinks are installed with a flush or negative reveal, so the top rim of the sink doesn’t show at all. Keep in mind that a negative reveal makes sweeping food debris into the sink an easy task, but at the same time, it creates a hidden overhand where mold can grow. If you choose a negative reveal – an overhanging countertop—plan to clean beneath it very regularly.

I have a handyman who does odd jobs. Should I hire him to install my sink?

It all depends on experience. If he knows what he’s doing and the job doesn’t involve running gas or electric lines, there probably won’t be a problem. After installation, turn on the water, and check for leaks in the drain fittings.

If you’re having a gas or electric line run as part of the project, you should hire a professional plumber or electrician who is licensed and insured.

What sinks require additional support?

Adding support to any sink over 30lbs is a good idea. If the sink weighs more than 75lbs, then the supports should rest on the floor of the sink cabinet, not simply be attached to the walls of the cabinet.

Related Content in this Series

View other guides in this series which you may find useful.