sink and swim

Well, yesterday was definitely Sink Day. I got up in the morning and decided to tackle the disgusting underbelly of the kitchen sink. For some reason, the drain pipe loosens and leaks water all over the “floor” (really glorified cardboard) of the cabinet. I try to remember to tighten it and keep a bucket under the p-trap to catch water, but it’s not always successful. I mean, who wants to check out the drain under the sink at regular intervals? I have enough trouble getting the stupid dishes done.

Anyway, it came out easily since it was really just soggy cardboard with Contact paper over it to simulate wood (?!) so once I pulled out all the cleaning stuff, the rest was easy. A 1″ drill bit to bite through the surface followed by the scroll saw, followed by a mallet and finally a hammer. I thought I would leave the back side, which was drywall, but discovered that it was pretty rotten with moisture. Were we really meant to have indoor plumbing? I think not. Our houses should be made completely of concrete that we can hose down to clean and never destroyed by water.

Yes, it’s icky. Plumbers use that word to officially describe the underworld of sinks.

So, I began ripping it out, carefully preserving the middle support and the back piece because I planned to cut a piece (probably two, due to the middle support that would not allow a full piece) of treated plywood, which happens to be languishing the dry space under the shower house and would need something to support it. As I went along, thinking I would use 2×6’s for joists like I did for the bathroom floor I imagined kind of needing the support brace in the middle. Alas, everything was rotted — well, melted — and the further I got, the more I ripped. I opened up the base cabinets on either side and didn’t find any actual moisture, but you can bet your boots there’s more to this than meets the eye. Or nose, as it’s smelling very musty. We must not have must. It’s a must.

Meanwhile, the Ikea delivery guy called and said he was delivering the new Ikea sink and some other stuff (copious amounts of GREEN silverware. Oh how Irish I’ll be). So I did dual sinks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

By the time I reached the edges of the kitchen sink base cabinet walls, I was using a mallet, then a hammer to simply crush the soggy shit out of there. Drywall in the outside wall was a mess, too, so I cut that out along with the vapor barrier. Fortunately, only a teensy piece of insulation was moldy. Easily replaced. Stuck a fan in front of it along with the dehumidifier to pull the sog out of the space. Left that running while I unpackaged the Ikea Lillangen sink for the bathroom.


I still maintain that this was an awesome idea. I think there’s a post about this project, but I’ll review. I made the counter out of a piece of treated 2×12, cut, primed, painted with marine paint, sanded, sanded, sanded (I hate sanding) put together the two pieces which now display a large crack and generally treated the whole thing with tlc. Then drilled a hole for the sink drain and the faucet and mounted it on two large shelf brackets. The sink bowl was actually a second-hand ceiling light — they often have holes drilled in them for mounting. That hole is exactly the size of a drain. I kid you not. The first one I used seemed very large for the space, plus it was kind of golden — a color I don’t like — but it worked really well. I replaced it with this smaller white one, but soon the plumber’s putty became discolored and the drain began to leak underneath the bowl — between the bowl and the counter. It worked for three years, but the mess was visible under the bowl. 🙁 So I ordered a new sink from Ikea.

Ick. There’s water (and the creepy stuff that goes with it) between the bowl and the counter. The crack in the counter is way beyond adding character. 🙁

I’m getting better at putting together Ikea stuff. You have to look VERY CAREFULLY at the pictures, because they have teensy details that may escape notice. Besides, I would put things together in a different order than the people who draw all those pics.

Each project comes with its own set of problems. The drain assembly, which is customized to attach to the visible drain in the top of the sink, looked like it would never fit the existing drain. See that mallet? No, I didn’t pound it into shape. There are a thousand details in how I eventually got it to work, the delightful part of which is that I never needed a trip to town. I was able to use parts of the old drain assembly as well as stuff from my magical Plumbing Tote in the shed. I managed to replace the shut-off valve (maybe two), extend the supply line, maneuver the drain, and switch the faucet to the left side. I love plumbing. 🙂

The faucet was a bear. True to form, there wasn’t enough room under the ceramic sink to tighten the nut on the bottom of the faucet to keep it from going the route of wherever the supply lines felt like it should go. . . which resulted in it facing the floor. Water would not even THINK of going into the sink, it would splatter on the floor. After a long time of trying to fit under this tiny sink and tighten that )&(*)(*&)( bolt, I removed all the fittings and put it on the floor. Fortunately, my dementia has not advanced to where I’ve forgotten everything, and I remembered that plumbers have a tool for just such a tight place. I knew I had one (why? search me) so found it in the box labeled Things That Grip and tried it out. Still too tight to turn. However, tenacity wins and I finally was able to get it in there Just Right to give it teensy little turns (hoping not to crack the ceramic sink) until it was tight.

Reassembled everything (good thing plumbing is a forgiving soul) and Voila!

It’s very little.

But all one needs for brushing teeth. There are two little hooks on the side for towels and other necessities.

Now to wrap up the Kitchen Sink Story. Left the fan running, doors open, etc. all night. In the morning, I looked at the whole weird mess and decided to leave the concrete underneath exposed, the drywall unfinished, and put everything back inside the cabinet on the floor. The house’s floor, not the cabinet floor, since it’s gone. This will allow it to dry thoroughly over the summer while still storing my cleaning stuff. Not sure we really need floors in our kitchen sink base cabinets. I sprayed it with Mold Eliminator, which has never worked a jot for anything else, plus vinegar which was efficient at killing the mold on my clothes this spring — they’d been stored in a leaky tote and I used vinegar to launder them.

Anyway, the kitchen sink looks weird underneath, but who cares? The doors are closed.

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