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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From Drop In Sink, to Undermount Sink.

Great Deals on Undermount Stainless Steel Sinks.

A good portion of my customers that have me to replace a perfectly working sink are wanting to go from a drop in sink to an Undermount Sink.

In most cases the reason is because they just don't like having the sink sitting up above the surface of the countertop. For some people, they don't care whether they have a sink that sticks up or not. Other people just can't handle it so they bite the bullet and call me to change it out.

These customers had a really nice stainless steel drop in sink but they wanted to go to an undermount stainless steel sink

They knew, because I had prepared them ahead of time, that this was no easy job and that there were a lot of variables to doing a switch from a drop sink in to an undermount sink. In almost every case when you go from a drop in sink to an undermount sink you will have to shrink the hole when you remove the drop in sink to accomodate the curves and overall size of the new undermount sink.

That means that you will have to add material to all four sides of the sink cutout making the hole go from approximately 32"x21" to 26"x15". Once you shrink the hole, then you have to cut the hole to the correct dimensions and with the correct radius in the corners. It is time consuming, dirty, and expensive. For me though, it is also very rewarding to tackle a job like that.

It's the kind of job not just any countertop company will even take on if asked, but the kind of job that I absolutely love to do. It's what makes my inner craftsman giggle.

Enough yapping. Here is a series of pictures from the job process. Not every single step is shown. I was too busy working to stand around taking pictures(:!

This is their perfectly fine stainless that they just stopped liking. (:

After removing the drop in sink, this is the cutout that you have to work with.

This is the hole after I had already done the shrinking process. Notice the squared off inside corners. Most of the time I would have just filled in the entire cutout but I was very limited on material. I needed to shrink the hole 4" smaller in all directions but all I had to use was strips of 3" splash. For this reason, I had to shrink it in two stages. The first stage, I shrunk the cutout by 3", and in the second stage I filled in the corners to provide enough matereal to follow the contour of the undermount sink.

The pencil marks are where I am going to cut the new cutout.

Here is the new cutout for the undermount sink. It's really good to get to this point on this job. But now the real work starts. Shrinking the hole and adjusting the new cutout is pretty tough and time consuming but now it's time to attach the new sink.

When you are fabricating a countertop from scratch, attaching an undermount sink is fairly simple. You have the countertop flipped upside down, lay the sink into place, silicone, and ad the holding clips.

When you do this as a retro fit it is many times harder to accomplish. You are fighting gravity through the entire process. In most cases, and in this case, you can't get all of the clips on it because of the work area under the sink. There just isn't much room to work.

In order to hold the sink in place permanently I had to build a support structure. Being the airhead that I am, or maybe it was the 10 hours of work with no lunch break, I forgot to take a picture of the structure for you to see. Anyway, if you subscribe to the blog on the form on the right of the page, you can get instant email messages when I have new posts. I am certain that I will be doing another one of these jobs.

Here is the finished product. Nevermind the dusty upper bar.

If you live in North Carolina and need countertop repair then stop by Complete Solid Surface Refinishing and contact me or send me an email to blogreply@bryand.ws


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wilsonart Gibraltar Countertop Repair

Here is a repair that I recently did that is a Wilsonart Gibraltar countertop. This color is a discontinued color and it is the old formulation of Gibraltar which is a polyester blend. I forget exactly when they did it but Gibraltar changed over to an acrylic formulation that is much more reliable than the polyester.

I have always disliked the polyester tops but they have provided me with a ton of repair work over the years so I guess there is an upside to them, for me anyway.

The problem with repairing a discontinued countertop is trying to either find a place to "harvest" the material from in the kitchen or finding a fabricator that keeps material laying around for years and years in the hopes that one day he will actually be able to use the old stuff for something. Fortunately for these customers, I am that fabricator . I never throw any material away no matter how old it is, how ugly it is or what size it is, or what it is made of. You just never know when a 1" wide by 6" long piece of some discontinued color may just save the day.

This countertop cracked right at the corner of the wall and came forward. A crack like this offers up a special challenge to a repair man. Any time you are working within about 3 inches of the wall you can't really get a good cutting tool there. You either have to alter a router to make it be able to cut all to the wall or spend way too much money on a special router that is made just for that, or do some very precise free hand cutting with a Dremel tool.

On this one, I chose to try the precise free hand method first. Fortunately for me, that was the key to making this repair.

I have posted about odd dye lot, or non dye lot repairs before to show just how the repairs can turn out. I have to say, I am very pleased with this repair and the customer was ecstatic too because even though it is a non dye lot repair, the color was remarkably close and is not obvious without some very close scrutiny.



Sunday, April 6, 2008

Installing Drains in a Corian Sink.

There seems to be a lot of different ideas about installing the drains, or strainer baskets in Corian or other solid surface sinks. I thought I should address it.

When you install the strainer baskets you will do it just as you would any other sink. Here are the steps.

Step 1:Use plumbers putty around the strainer. Do not, do not, do not, use silicone. Some well meaning plumbers and do it your selfers have told a lot of people that it is best to use silcone instead of plumbers putty.

That is horrible advice and here is why.

Silicone does what the plumbers want it to do. It holds the strainer baskets in place and it keeps them from leaking. But, it holds everything together a little too well. If the baskets ever need to be changed, it is not going to be easy. And what happens when it isn't easy? Brute force comes into play, along with frustration. For a solid surface sink, that is the last thing you need. A little too much frustration mixed with brute force and you have the recipe for a sink replacement.

Step 2: Tighten your parts just enough. Do not under tighten them or you will have a leak. Do not over tighten them or you will get a crack in the sink.

I hope this is helpful. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog for regular updates and articles. The sign up form is on the side bar to your left.

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