How to Plumb a Sink: The Do?s and Don?ts

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1. Don?t: Install the Sink First

Installing a new sink can be a beautiful addition to any bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, laundry room, and more. However, if it is not installed properly, or if it is not installed using the proper steps, it can quickly turn your project into a hassle. Therefore, before installing a new sink, there are few expert tips to consider in order to help ensure your project runs smoothly and the sink works efficiently. Follow our expert tips on the do?s and don?ts of how to plumb a sink.

When installing a new sink, there is a common misconception that the sink can be installed before the piping, and then simply run the piping through the floor to the existing pipe system. However, this is simply not true because sinks not only require drain pipes, which slope downward and into the stack, but they also require vent pipes, which extend upward and join the stack higher on the line, usually in the attic.

Be sure to apply a thread lubricant on all treads to fill the gap between the thread joints to help make them pressure proof and leak proof. You should also be sure to add drain clean-outs where applicable to help make it easier to clear clogs.

Though you can use sturdy copper pipes or even CPVC pipes to connect to the main water line in the crawl space, PEX piping, which many professional plumbers often prefer, helps make your job a bit easier because it is flexible and great for long runs. It is also less expensive and easier to fit than both copper and CPVC pipes.

Connect the PEX pipes to the main hot and cold water lines, and then run the piping up the floor and then into the sink area via a pair of drilled holes, 3/4-inch holes for 1/2-inch piping and 1-inch holes for 3/4-inch piping, on the wall or floor near the sink.

When using PEX piping, be sure to fit the main water pipes with PEX adapters, and then solder them before connecting the flex tubes to the adapters for a sturdier fit.

Connect the handles and the faucet to the sink. Afterward, run the PEX pipes to the sink handles using hard lateral rises, which are available in chrome and copper. Secure the hard lateral rises to the handles with nuts. Be sure to secure the base of the PEX pipes with grommet rings.

Though plastic drain pipes, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE), are a common choice for many plumbing projects due to their low cost, many professional plumbers recommend using metal pipes when possible because they are more durable and last a long time.

Assemble the top half of the drain pipe system together, and use adhesive on all threads to help secure it. Apply plumber?s putty around the sink?s drain hole to help seal it, and then insert the drain into the sink.

Connect the top of the drain pipe system to the sink?s drain hole and the linkage to the faucet if you are installing a bathroom sink.

Applying a sealant, such as pipe dope or Teflon tape, to all threaded plumbing connections helps provide a watertight seal, so keep this in mind when connecting and installing the drain pipes.

2. Do: Open the Wall from the Crawl Space to the Attic

Should you choose to run copper lines or tie into copper lines for your project, be sure to use lead-free solder for any water that may enter the body.

When soldering joints, consider using a soldering flux on pipe fittings. It helps ensure the solder gets way down into the fitting as opposed to just remaining on the surface. This helps ensure the joints are filled with solder and properly fitted to prevent leaky joints.

3. Do: Consider PEX Piping to Connect the Hot and Cold Water Lines

Dry fit the pieces together before soldering to help ensure a proper fit.

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