Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sink Repair

Six years ago when we were rehabbing our house I had an idea of what I wanted the kitchen to look like.  One thing on my list was a big farm sink.  I ended up having to special order the one I wanted.  It was perfect.  I built our concrete countertop to fit this sink.  James and I carried the giant slab in and out of the house at least 3 times until I got the sink to fit in it just right.  The cabinet also had to be built around it. 

Maybe a year and a half later a crock pot was dropped in the sink and the sink cracked.  The crock pot was fine.  The cracks grew and grew over a few days and eventually it leaked if you let water sit in it for any length of time.   I bought some epoxy paint hoping to cover and seal the cracks.  The paint didn't really match the color of the sink just right (do you know how many colors of white there are?).  I did a poor job and the paint pealed off and the crack showed through as time wore on. 

James and I had discussed building a new sink out of concrete but that seemed like too big of a job and I wasn't sure I could get it right anyway.  How would I build the form to be exactly the shape of the old sink?  Also, I think it would have been too heavy for our cabinets to support.  I went back to Lowes to see if there was any other sink with the same dimensions that would fit our countertop and cabinet perfectly.  Of course not.  Even though I didn't want to buy the same sink again because I'd hate to have a repeat performance, I looked in the catalog to see if Kohler still made them.  They did but now the sink was double the price.  No, thank you. 

We've lived with the sink this way for about 3 years now and I mentioned how I wanted it fixed to my sister and her boyfriend.  He suggested I tile it.  Why didn't I think of that?  It seemed like a good idea except for the fact that an enamel/ceramic sink is so smooth I didn't think I could get tile to adhere to it.  It was worth a try. 

Here's the cracked sink before.
I removed the drain and got started.  Of course it took forever to find the right tools.  Any wrench that opened up big enough to remove the nuts on the drain were too long to fit in the space under the sink.  I worked it out.  Next I used my grinder with 2 different wheels and removed the epoxy and then roughed up the sink the best I could.  It still felt pretty smooth to the touch but I'm hoping it's rough enough for the tile thinset to adhere to.
There was dust all over the place and I had made a real mess of the kitchen.  This had better be worth it.
I set the mosaic tiles and had to wait another 27 hours before I could grout it.  I used very thin tiles I was told by the young Lowes employee wouldn't scratch when we cleaned them.  Today I caulked around the top of the tiles and hooked the plumbing back up.  We've been doing dishes in the 1/2 bath or down in our basement kitchen since we couldn't run the dishwasher without the drain hooked up.  We can't fill the sink with water for another 9 days but at least we can run the dishwasher and not worry if someone dumps a glass of water down the drain. 

Here's the finished product.  It's not perfect and there are things I would have done differently, but as a good friend of ours always says, "it's good enough for who it's for".  
I'll let you know if the tile falls off.  Or maybe I won't.


  1. Karen, good job!!! I couldn't imagine it but it looks great!!
    XO LO

  2. Wow! Beautiful!! And I love "it's good enough for who it's for". I'm gonna remember that one!