Should you caulk a kitchen sink? Undermount and Drop-In

Should I Caulk a Kitchen Sink Banner Photo

Is it smart to caulk around your kitchen sink? Flickr Commons image via Ian Haycox

Caulk is a fabulous little invention for us DYIers. 

You may even find yourself becoming obsessed with it once you discover its magical ability to seal around fixtures in one easy motion. So, is it a good idea to use caulk around your kitchen sink?

The short answer is “probably”, but with a couple of key things in mind. 

Drop In Sinks

Drop In Sink with Caulk

Caulking is typically a better idea for a drop-in sink, like this one. Flickr Commons image via HomeJobsByMom.com

Caulking a drop in sink is likely a good precaution against water damage as well as a way to keep dirt, food and general grime out of the seam where your sink meets your countertop. That said, take a look at the place where the sink meets the countertop to determine how much space is there and whether the original caulk needs to be replaced. (We’ll take a look at how to replace caulk later.)

In some cases a sink’s lip can be so extremely thin that caulk is not even necessary, but to be on the safe side, it is usually a good idea to go ahead and caulk around a drop-in sink. 

Undermount Sinks

Should I Caulk an Undermount Sink

Undermount sinks are awkward but can still benefit from caulk around the edges. Flickr Commons image via Brian Kennedy

These sinks can be a little bit more tricky to caulk simply because the angle is slightly more awkward.

In most cases caulking an undermount sink, like a farmhouse sink, is necessary because of the way it is installed. There will naturally be more space between the sink and the edge of the counter. The sink will be supported and held in place by clips and epoxy. Since you won’t be able to see the hardware responsible for holding the sink in place you may be less likely to notice the need for caulk to seal all those little cracks.

Also, keep in mind that these sinks are usually big and heavy and made from a mold which keeps the edges from being thin like a stainless drop in sink making caulking around the edges that much more important. 

How To Caulk Your Sink

I realize you didn’t ask this question, per say, but it might be helpful to go over a quick step-by-step to caulking around a kitchen sink in case you were wondering. (You’re welcome;)

Steps to Caulking a Sink

  1. Remove old caulk and dirt and buildup at the seam where the sink meets the countertop using a razor blade. Gently slide the blade along the seam where the sink meets the countertop and wipe clean. Repeat over the same place along the sink applying a bit more pressure. Wipe blade clean. 

  2. Make sure the area around the sink is dry and free of debris from step one.

  3. Cut tip of caulk nozzle at an angle slightly more narrow than 45 degrees. Make sure to cut a small amount off the tip at first. You can always make the opening larger but once you cut the tip off you can’t make it smaller. You want to be sure the “stream” of caulk coming out isn’t too thick or you will end up with a messy line of caulk which is unsightly and could potentially compromise the quality of the seal.

  4. Once you have placed a bead of caulk along a small area of the edge of the sink gently wipe away the excess with a damp finger. This also serves the purpose of pressing the caulk into the crease and making a nice, clean seal along that sink. 

Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to work in a small space at a time before moving on around the parameter of the sink, making sure each area has been sufficiently wiped to remove excess before you continue.

Summary

And there you have it! In summary, you should usually caulk your kitchen sink and the good news is this is an easy project that beginners can tackle. Who knows, you might enjoy it and want to go caulk around all the fixtures in your house now.

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