Create Sink Cutouts in Solid Surface Countertops

Kitchen sink

 

Vedrana Sucic / EyeEm / Getty Images

True, full-scale Corian or other solid-surface brand counters nearly always turn out best when certified fabricators and installers do the job. But as a do it yourselfer, you can produce a pretty good small solid-surface countertop on your own for bathrooms, bars, or small kitchens.

After you cut the material down to size, you will need to make a more complicated inside cut for your sink.

With a little prep work, it is easy to make a cutout for a top-mount sink without special fabricators' tools or a router. All you need are common shop tools and some patience.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Rotary cutting tool
  • Extra blades for rotary tool
  • Cutting guide track

Materials

  • Painter's tape
  • Spring clamps

Instructions

Tip

Rotary cutting tools are not mentioned in the Corian Fabrication Manual as being a recommended tool, yet they will work for this purpose. Dupont (and all other makers of solid surface counters) recommend against tools, like jigsaws, that create excessive vibration. Be aware that besides slower cutting, the price you pay for using a rotary cutter is that you might run through two or three blades per sink cutout, which is why we recommend having a few extra on hand.

  1. Create Sink Outline on the Counter With Painter's Tape

    Lay the sink face-down on the solid surface. Draw an outline of the sink or, as shown here, mark off the outline with painter's tape. Be precise about this, as errors will become magnified with the next few steps.

    Once you have created the outside outline, you will need to create another outline. This second outline will be just inside the previous one. All sinks have different specs. With the 15" x 15" bar sink shown here, the inner outline should be 3/8" farther inward.

    Mark off this second inner outline with painter's tape.

  2. Drill 2 Pilot Holes Per Straight Side

    Think of your sink cutout as happening in two phases: straight lines and corners. You'll cut straight lines first, corners second.

    Press 4 tabs of painter's tape down on each corner at a 45-degree angle. The purpose is to preserve this area for your future corner cuts.

    Because rotary cutting tools are drills, you can drill straight into the solid surface material. Drill two pilot holes per side.

  3. Clamp Down Your Cutting Guide Track

    Rest your rotary cutter on the solid surface material, with the blade extended into one of the pilot holes. Place your guide track (fence) next to the rotary cutter.

    Clamp down the fence at this spot, with the fence touching the guard of the rotary cutter. Repeat for the second pilot hole on that intended line. Readjust the first clamp if necessary.

    Tip

    There are numerous ways to create a straight, rigid edge to serve as your cutting guide track, or fence. One easy (but expensive) way is with metal cutting guides, such as the Empire 98-Inch Cutting Guide. But you can use any straight, rigid material that will keep your cuts on track.

  4. Make Your Straight Cuts

    Power on the rotary cutter. Move the cutter slowly along your fence, starting at one pilot hole and ending at the next one. Let the rotary cutter "tell you" how fast you can move; do not rush.

    Warning

    Wear eye and hearing protection when cutting any solid surface counter material. A respirator is also recommended, as melting solid surface materials can give off noxious fumes.

  5. Make Your Corner Cuts

    With four lines cut, you now must cut the inside corners. Dupont recommends that the inside radius of your corner be no less than 3/16 of an inch (5mm).

    You can trace this out with a coin or you can just eyeball it as you cut. Since the lip of the sink will cover the corners, appearance does not matter.

    After the last cut, the inside cutout will drop. If solid surface debris is clogging any of the cut lines, lightly run the rotary cutter through that line to remove the debris.

    Now you've just proven to yourself that you really can tackle a fairly involved home project by yourself. Congratulations!

Create Tape Outline For Sink on Corian
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Drill Pilot Hole At Each End of Sink Outline
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Set Guide Track In Place With Clamps
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Run Cutting Tool Along Guide
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Stop Straight Lines Before Corners
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