I am not a plumber but I am quite handy and I want to replace an ancient bathroom faucet in an attempt to upgrade my apartment. I am not positive what material the sink is, whether marble or porcelain, but there are hairline cracks surrounding the drain. My concern is that I will pull out the old pop up drain to replace it and the sink around the drain is going to crumble. Am I underestimating the durability of these sinks and should everything stay intact? Just how much does the thickness of the sink extend beyond these cracks.. are they just superficial? Looking under the sink there is a lot of bulk and I don’t see how these tiny cracks could eacalate to a major leak (unless the sink were hollow..?)

I am basically just asking whether it would be safe to remove/replace this popup drain on a sink in this condition or if I should just leave it alone. Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

thermal cracked sink

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    I'm pretty sure those cracks are only the glazing on top of the sink which is most likely porcelain. I can't imagine that would be structurally unsound, but my experience is not vast in this area. – UnhandledExcepSean Jan 11 '19 at 16:52
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    Fifty years ago I would do some repair and upgrading on rental apartments. On one occasion I damaged something and the landlord was very cross with me to put it mildly. Things can always go wrong. If you would install a new faucet and a catastrophic leak develop while you were not there, you could be the cause of major damage. If at all possible check with your landlord before doing this. – Jim Stewart Jan 11 '19 at 17:27
  • I'd guess that the sink is some form of plastic (solid surface countertop material - imitation marble - fiberglass or the like) from those cracks, which are a common sight in older plastic sinks. I'd be very wary of trying to remove that drain, as the plastic may be very brittle. Replacing the whole sink is the proper approach when you see those cracks forming, though they can go a long time without leaking or falling apart if left alone. But they are ugly and unsanitary. If you are using apartment in the usual sense of the word (you rent, not own) check with the landlord about a new sink – Ecnerwal Oct 4 '20 at 12:04

I'm a bit confused by the depressed nature of those cracks, but I agree with UnhandledExcepSean. They're probably cosmetic. I've worked on some old sinks and have never had one disintegrate.

I'd look at the underside and see whether any of the cracks translate through. I'm guessing that if they did you'd have substantial leakage already.

Also, you could ask the property owners if they're willing to compensate you for expenses. You might get a new sink out of it.

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