How to Install a Utility Sink

@indeng / Twenty20

Sometimes a washer and dryer can only do so much. Sometimes, you just have to get your hands dirty. So many homeowners install utility sinks in their laundry room or basement. If you’re lucky, you already have water lines and piping set up. If not, your project could require a professional. Nonetheless, with the right materials and determination, you can easily install a utility sink.

Before You Begin

Are you installing a sink with a larger diameter or shape?

Take into consideration your countertop material. Do you have laminate or stone? Laminate countertops are DIY-friendly. However, before you consider trying to cut a granite, quartz, or marble vanity top, call a professional. Dangerous dust particles and cracks are two of the many factors professionals prevent for you.

Assuming you have water and plumbing lines in place, here’s a handy step-by-step guide to installing a new utility sink. If not, your existing lines are insufficient or need to be replaced, you’ll have to install new plumbing pipes, which average approximately $1,000.

Materials Needed

  • Utility sink
  • Faucet
  • PVC pipe, primer and cement
  • Assorted fittings
  • Slip coupling
  • Compression nut
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Lead-free solder
  • Washing-machine valve

Tools Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • PVC handsaw
  • Tubing cutter
  • Propane torch
  • Pliers

How to Install

If you’re replacing an existing utility sink and all piping is in good shape, remove the existing sink and skip to "Attach the Sink."

Assemble the Pipes

  1. Shut off the water supply line.
  2. Cut a section from the existing pipes to install the new PVC pipe that attaches to your utility sink.
    More often than not, you have to cut a section of your existing piping and install the new PVC pipes in its place. To do this, hold up your new PVC pipe to the existing pipe and mark the edges. Then, with your PVC handsaw, cut the existing pipe.
  1. Assemble your new PVC pipe and assorted fitting.
    Using PVC cement, mark the insides of your new pipes and the outsides of the ends of your existing pipes. Just like a school project, you want enough cement on the inside of your new pipe and the outside of your existing pipes. Once the cement is added, quickly put into place.
  2. Attach the rest of PVC piping.
    More often than not, you won’t be able to install your sink right next to the pipe, or the piping is taller than your sink. In either case, you’ll have to add PVC pipes (that connect via slip or repair coupling).

Attach the Sink

  1. Install the sink and faucet
    No matter where you purchased your utility sink, there should be a chrome tailpiece or plastic extender below the sink. This fitting will connect to your new PVC trap. Use a compression nut to attach the two.
  2. Take some plumber’s putty and wrap under the faucet. Put it into place and tighten the nuts or bolts below. If the sink did not come with a faucet, you will need to buy one. According to ImproveNet, the average cost to install a faucet is $235.

Bond the Water Lines

  1. Connect the water lines.
    Even though the faucet is in place, you have to connect the new sink to the existing water lines. To do that, you have to cut into both the hot and cold water lines and solder in the new fittings (AKA, the on and off switches). To start, take your tube cutters and cut openings where tee fittings will go. Clean your tee fittings before connecting. Place some solder between the two pipes (just like you did for PVC cement before) and blow torch them together. They should hold together.
    Your hot and cold water lines should be connected to the wall. If not, now is the perfect time to do so. Just like hanging a heavy drape, add anchors to the walls first. Then, use a copper attachment to hold it into the wall.
  1. Attach flexible hot and cold water supply lines from the sink to your tee fittings. You may need pliers to fully attach these.
  2. Turn the water lines back on and give it a go.
    Make sure both the hot and cold water lines work and the pressure is the same on both. If anything is leaking, replace the appropriate pipes, bolts or nuts.

This project may seem daunting, but any homeowner with a little DIY experience and the right materials can install a new utility sink. As always, if you need help or are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a local plumber who can install a utility sink in just a few hours.