Got that sinking feeling
November 9, 2013 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Our underhung kitchen sink detached itself from the countertop this afternoon - can I repair this myself? How?

I put a heavy pot in the sink and a few minutes later the whole thing dropped out from under the counters. None of the plumbing is damaged and the counter is fine, but several of the brackets that held it in place have popped out of their holes (in fact, I think that part happened before we moved in - I found a bunch of them in the under-sink cabinet and didn't know what they were at the time).

It seems like it should be fairly straightforward to fix this but most of the resources I found online warn that only a professional should attempt to install an underhung sink. Considering the hole is already cut in the counter and everything is sized properly, can I do this on my own? What do I have to do? The brackets that have come out have some sort of hard resin on the end that goes in to the underside of the counter - what is that material? Do I need to buy new bolts and whatever epoxy or adhesive that might be?

Assume a general level of competence and an overabundance of tools.
posted by backseatpilot to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What material is the counter?
posted by notsnot at 8:41 PM on November 9, 2013

Yep, we have to know the counter material.

No matter what the counter is made of though, it would probably be unwise to use the holes that the brackets were originally fastened into.

A picture of the underside would also be very helpful.
posted by deadwax at 10:09 PM on November 9, 2013

One thing to consider is finding a way to support the sink from below. Ideally this would have been done at installation but depending on the material of the cabinets and especially the cabinet base you could design a sort of scaffold of substantial lumber, or perhaps metal pipe, that is either braced against the floor or attached to the cabinet material itself so that any downward pressure is distributed.

I have to assume this is true, but anything is possible:
An undermount installation leaves the edges of the cutout exposed, so undermount sinks can be used only with waterproof countertop materials such as granite, marble, or a solid-surface synthetic.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 PM on November 9, 2013

I DIY almost everything around the house, but this is one thing I'd probably hire someone to correct. The resin on the brackets is going to be a particular epoxy used to cement them into the (presumably granite or some synthetic stone) countertop. At the very least you will need new specialty brackets and some new specialty epoxy, which any professional countertop guy probably has in his pocket but which you would have to spend some time tracking down. Then there's the problem that there apparently weren't enough brackets installed in the first place, so you may need additional brackets which will either require more holes to be drilled into your expensive countertop using a specialty drill, or maybe some kind of surface-mount bracket you don't even know about. A professional will have a substantial comparative advantage over you for all of this.

Dhartung's idea of supporting it from the bottom is feasible too and that's one thing I'd feel comfortable doing myself, but if it were my sink I'd rather support it from the rim as designed. Undermount sinks are often quite deep to begin with, so adding a structure underneath it could really eat into your cabinet storage space.
posted by jon1270 at 3:33 AM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The counters are granite. I have a feeling the previous owners did the installation themselves, hence the shoddy workmanship.

So is this a job for a plumber? Counter installer person?
posted by backseatpilot at 4:24 AM on November 10, 2013

Counter installer / granite shop. A plumber just hooks up the pipes.
posted by jon1270 at 4:41 AM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

This happened to me and I called a plumbing company and a plumber fixed it up pretty well - he left some expoxy stuff around the edges that I ended up removing. That said, I imagine a counter person would have been better
posted by Lescha at 11:38 AM on November 10, 2013

Alright, the counter guy came by today. He told me whoever installed the sink didn't use any silicone adhesive and the whole thing was being supported by the brackets only, hence the failure. Rather than gluing the old brackets back in to their holes, he used new ones that are epoxied to the underside of the counter rather than into the holes. Hopefully this won't happen again!
posted by backseatpilot at 2:24 PM on November 11, 2013

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