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How-To Kitchens
Hometime Logo Dean Johnson
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Trans 1) Getting Started Trans
2) Demolition
3) Removing Windows & Doors
4) Framing
5) Plumbing
6) Electrical
7) Drywall
8) Soffits
9) Cabinet Prep
10) Cabinet Installation
11) Laminate Counters
12) Countertop Options
13) Flooring
14) Electrical Fixtures
15) Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances

Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances:

Installing Faucets

installing a faucet on an unmounted sink

It's easiest to attach most faucets to a sink before you install the sink. Otherwise, you have to crawl into the sink cabinet and reach up to the back of the sink to tighten the retaining nuts, and that's no fun.

The exact installation can vary greatly by style and manufacturer, but most sinks have three pre-cast holes for the basic single lever faucet with an 8" base.

The tail pieces for the hot and cold water valves go through the outside hole, and if there's a sprayer, the hose stub out for that goes through the middle hole. Mounting nuts screw over the tail pieces from below to secure the base.

If there's a sprayer, thread the hose through the mounting hole, screw the base in place, and connect the end of the hose to the hose stub out.

It's also a good idea to install the sink strainers, with a ring of plumber's putty around the rim of the strainer to seal it as you tighten the lock nut from below. Remove any excess putty that squeezes out from under the rim.


Installing Sinks

Dean Johnson installing sinkIf you have a new countertop, an opening for the sink will have to be cut eventually. The fabricators handle that if you order granite or solid surface, and you have to cut the opening in the sub-strate before installing a ceramic tile top. But if you have a new laminate countertop, that's probably your next step.

Your new sink will have instructions of some kind on cutting the proper opening, and most likely it will supply a template that you lay down over the countertop to center and mark a cutting line. Pre-drill a couple starter holes on your line and then cut the opening with a jigsaw.

TIP: After cutting halfway, screw a brace into the bottom of the countertop to hold the cut-out in place while you finish cutting. Otherwise it'll start to sag and possibly damage the cabinet when it breaks free.


Most sinks are self-rimming so the rim rests on the countertop and supports the whole unit. Run a bead of silicone caulk around the opening and drop the sink in place. Wipe away any excess caulk.

If you've been doing the plumbing yourself, take time now to turn the water off. Remove the caps on the hot and cold water pipes and install shut-off valves that usually connect with compression fittings. If you're installing a dishwasher, put a valve with two outlets on the hot water stub-out.

Connect the hot and cold water valves on the faucet to the proper shut-off valves. The flexible connectors

with compression fittings on both ends are the easiest to connect.

Water LinesAfter the water supplies are connected, hook up the trap assembly to the drain's tailpiece and to the drain stub out leading into the wall.

That can all be accomplished with slip nuts and compression fittings. Just be sure to include any fittings needed for a second drain on a double-bowled sink (usually a t-fitting with an opening for a continuous waste pipe connected to the second sink strainer), a dishwasher or a garbage disposer.

TIP: Connect the trap fittings loosely to start so you can make adjustments as needed before tightening them.



Installing Garbage Disposer

installing garbage disposerA garbage disposer is attached below the second bowl in a double-bowled sink to a flange inserted in the drain opening and sealed with a series of mounting rings secured from below. It's easiest to install the flange before setting the sink in place but hold off on the disposer.

Install the sink as described above, but incorporate a waste-tee fitting in the main drain above the trap. Then attach the disposer to the mounting ring and run a continuous waste pipe from the disposer's discharge tube to the waste-tee fitting to drain the disposer.

Plug the disposer into its receptacle in the sink cabinet.


Installing Dishwasher

dishwasherDishwashers are generally slid into their openings next to the sink and secured to the bottom of the countertop to keep them from tipping outward.

The plumbing should be connected before they're slid in. Drill a hole in the side of the cabinet for the drain hose, the water supply tube and the electric cord.

Codes usually recommended that the dishwasher drain hose be mounted up under the sink as high as possible, called an air gap. Also, a second hose should then be run to the dishwasher nipple on the disposer. That's to prevent backups caused by clogged drains.

If there's no disposer, include a special waste tee with a small port for a dishwasher hose in the drain assembly, run the drain hose through the hole in the cabinet and connect it to the fitting.

Secure the end of the supply tube to the second port on the hot water shutoff valve and run the other end through the hole in the cabinet to the front of the dishwasher opening.

The dishwasher's supply valve is usually mounted in front, so you'll have to push the dishwasher into place before connecting that. If the cord's long enough, run it through the hole into the sink cabinet as well.

If the cord still isn't long enough, push the dishwasher part way in, reach in and try again. If it's still no go, pull the dishwasher out, tie a string to the cable and run the string into the cabinet. Then push the dishwasher in and pull the string to draw the cable through the hole.



Once the dishwasher's in place, connect the supply tube to the valve, level the unit as described in the instructions, secure it to the countertop through the brackets attached to the top and plug it in.


Installing Ice-Maker Refrigerators

Dean Johnson in a KitchenA refrigerator's ice-maker usually requires a single run of quarter-inch tubing back to a cold water supply source. Here's what you do if you're running it down into the basement:

Drill a hole in the floor in the back of the refrigerator opening down into the basement
In the basement, drill holes through the joists as needed to reach the water supply.
Turn the water off, cut through the cold water supply line and install an icemaker t-fitting with a 1/4" port and shutoff valve.
Upstairs, uncoil one end of the flexible copper tubing and feed it down through the hole in the floor as your partner directs it through the joists to the water supply. (Or if you're working alone, feed a little through the hole, run downstairs, push that through the joists, run upstairs, feed a little more down, run back downstairs...well, you get the idea.)
Connect the tubing to the shut-off valve (usually a compression fitting)
Cut the other end, leaving the coil intact and leaving enough to stretch through the opening to the back of the refrigerator.
Connect the tubing to the valve on the refrigerator (also a compression fitting)
Turn the water on to test for leaks and if it all stays dry slowly push the refrigerator into the opening, plugging it in at some point and making sure the coil of tubing doesn't crimp or bind.


Finishing Touches

Dean Johnson in a KitchenAs you wind up a kitchen remodeling project, there are a couple of other jobs to take care of, like installing the toe-kick along the cabinet bottoms. That's a finished piece of stock that you cut to length and nail over the individual toe-kicks to create a built-in look.

Many cabinet manufacturers also supply kits for installing matching panels on your large appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and even trash compactors. Installation usually involves screwing on trim pieces with channels or grooves that retain the matching panels.

And a few items that are very easy to forget—until you go to open a cabinet door or drawer—are the door and drawer pulls. It seems like a simple task, but it's not that easy to get the pulls in exactly the same place on each door and drawer front. So the pros usually create a jig; a piece of wood for example, the exact same size of a drawer front with a hole drilled in the right spot. Then when you line the piece up with the drawer, the hole can be used to mark the right spot to drill.