Ok, in this blog entry, I step out of my comfort zone of electronics, videoconferencing, and remote work, to replace our old 34 year old sink, faucet, and shut-off valves with brand new stuff!
Very scary as I needed to shut off the main water supply to the house for a period of time (to replace the sink shut-off valves) with NO guarantee of success and a proven track record of plumbing fix failures.
But……I was ready, once again, to give plumbing a try!
Spoiler alert: It works! No leaks! But…..I get ahead of myself. 🙂
I learned sooooooo much doing this project, much of it technical in nature, that I had to write about my experience. Hopefully, this article will help others gather up the nerve to give it a try.
When it was done, I had a nice feeling of accomplishment and came out with an even greater respect for those who work in the trades than I had before.
Earlier in 2019, Simpson Plumbing of Tracy, CA came out to the house to replace the main shut-off valve to the house. As with all the valves in our 1985 built house, they did not stop the water flow, forcing me to turn off the water at the street.
Now, the new 1/4 turn main shut-off valve makes turning off and on the main water supply into the house a breeze.
A bunch of years ago, the sinks that were installed when the house was built in 1985, started to corrode. Not one to fix sinks (until now) I let it get worse and worse, until I could no longer stand it. To make matters worse, the faucets started leaking and the old shut off valves under the sinks no longer stopped water.
Time to get to work! But first I had sooooo many questions, that, I finally decided would only be answered by trial and error.
Goals / Questions / Unknowns / Installation
First and foremost, I needed to replace the old shut-off valves so I could work without shutting off the main water supply. I chose to use 1/4 turn valves and some nice connectors from Amazon and ACE Hardware. I did this well in advance of the sink replacement and on a weekday so I could summon help if needed.
Luckily, with a little help from 3 in 1 oil, I was able to get the 34 year old valves unscrewed and the new valves and connectors installed! Whew!
The picture below shows the new shut-off valves and connectors.
Now I could concentrate on the new sink and faucet and measuring the future sink hole as best I could with the old sink still in it. Not as easy as you think, but, I got a pretty good estimation.
The old sink was installed under the counter, but, I wanted a sink that I could plop in from the top. Will a top drop-in sink fit in the hole? How do I connect the sink to the counter? Why was the sink missing the hardware (pipes, stopper, etc)?
Looking online at Home Depot’s offerings for sinks and faucets, we selected a few alternatives for each before I took a trip to Home Depot early one morning.
Seeing the stuff in person I realized that one of the sinks I had dismissed looked REALLY nice, and, as luck may have it, it met my measurement criteria for the hole-to-be. So I bought it!
Looking at the sink they had on display at Home Depot, I was wondering why it was only a sink. Where was the hardware, the pipes, etc that belong in a sink???? A helpful sales person there educated me: “The faucet has all the hardware you need”.
Oh, cool…..I learned something new!
Will the three hole sink / faucet combination fit where I need it to fit when I plop it in the hole? Do we go with a two handle job, or stay with the one handle lever thingy?
The faucet was easier to get Lori’s opinion on, so I purchased three faucets to bring home to show her. The winner was the Moen Adler. The other two were returned (I asked a sales person at Home Depot if that was ok to do….she said yes).
Opening the Moen faucet box, I saw three items.
Left to right in the picture: The stopper hardware, the drain pipe (which happens to be 1.25 inch diameter), and the all important faucet itself.
I followed the directions for installation on the new sink and an hour later, after fiddling with the stopper hardware mostly, I was ready to take the old sink out and plop this new one in!
Removing the Old Sink
This is the scary part!
Under the sink are clips that hold the sink in place. There were supposed to be 4, but, ours only had three. I loosened them and fully expected the sink to plop out. Nope.
I grabbed a flat head screwdriver and a hammer and gently pounded the screwdriver between the counter top and the sink. I did it in two different locations…no luck. The third location, however, produced amazing results!
We have a hole! Yippeee!
Taking my newly put together new sink and faucet, I practiced placing it in the hole. Will it fit?
Looking under the sink, I realized that the house drain pipe was too close to the pipe coming from the sink AND that drain pipe is 1.5 inch diameter while the sink pipe is 1.25 inch diameter!
Another Trip to ACE Hardware
How do I connect the 1.5 inch drain pipe to the 1.25 inch sink pipe?
It turns out, thanks to a salesperson at ACE, that there is an adapter that allows this connection, and that adapter has a nut with a built in washer to stop leaks.
Cutting the drain pipe back a few inches (I have worked with PVC pipes for my sprinkler systems for many years, so I was in my comfort zone here) I connected (not glued or tightened, yet) all the pieces…
…of the undersink 1.25 inch hardware. The red arrow goes into the house drain pipe while the blue arrow connects to the sink.
It all fits!
Now that everything fits…..I took the sink out for the last time and applied a silicon bead all around the bottom edge, then……drum roll please…….put it back in the hole, connected and tightened / glued all the pieces, and tested for leaks!
I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned a whole lot of new things and also had fun tackling a project that pushed the limits of my current abilities.
I was so empowered, that I am ready to tackle the guest bathroom sink and faucet. I am hoping it goes as well as this installation, and that it will take a bit less time, since I am now a wanna be plumber. 🙂
Life Lesson: Take chances, step out of your comfort zone, and remember the goal is to learn and grow as a person. If you need help….that is a good thing as long as you learned something.
Oh, here is the finished sink.