I am removing a sink cabinet temporarily to demolish the tile floor under it. The cabinet is going away in about a month when new kitchen cabinets arrive, so after demolishing the floor, I need to put it back temporarily to have a functioning kitchen sink.

The hot and cold water pipes are 1/2" copper with sweated Ts for the taps for dishwasher and icemaker. The hole at the bottom of the cabinet is hard to get to due to cover but looks 1.5" in diameter. The drain pipe is cemented as shown.

What is the typical procedure for removing these fixtures to swap out the cabinets? I don't mind hacking up the back of this cabinet just so that I can easily remove and put back the existing sink but when the new cabinets arrive, I'm thinking I could heating up the reducing coupling (circled in red), cutting it across (shown in green) and peeling it from the drain pipe. Then I could remove the compression fittings on the copper Ts, Pull cabinet forward a bit to clear the drain, and lift the cabinet up, hoping the Ts will clear 1.5" hole. This would avoid me doing unsweating of those T's. Anyone has better suggestions? I have done some limited sweating (actually I added a pressure regulator to my water main and other minor jobs), so I have some experience. Should I just do that? Or since I need to put it back temporarily, should I just cut at the tees and go with Sharkbite fittings that I can remove and pit back at will?

Thanks, David enter image description here

  • It's not very likely that heating up that PVC reducing coupling will have any effect on the joint (at least not if it was done correctly). It should have been done with a solvent weld cement which chemically melts and fuses the pipes and coupling together.
    – brhans
    Nov 3, 2020 at 4:03
  • @brhans. I actually did this to another drain pipe that I needed to cap off close to wall. Once I softened the coupling, I surface cut it and while it evidently had cement on properly, due to the fact it was softened as rubber, it just peeled off quite cleanly.
    – David
    Nov 3, 2020 at 4:10
  • 1
    Well that's ... interesting ... It's not supposed to do that if the correct type of cement is used to match the material the pipes are made of
    – brhans
    Nov 3, 2020 at 4:13
  • @brhans, the only way to know is to try it. My guess “Big Fernco” won’t be pleased :). I made sure the coupling was evenly softened all around.
    – David
    Nov 3, 2020 at 4:16

2 Answers 2


Shut the water off to the house, drain the water from the copper lines, cut them below the Ts leaving enough for a sharkbite to grab back on, put sharkbite couplings on. For the pvc drain line I'd flush cut that to the fitting with the green line and get a furnco with a worm drive to attach them back together.

You can then remove the sink and all supply lines and drain lines when you need to remove the cabinet. You should get the sharkbite disconnect tool.

Un-sweating copper under a sink cabinet isn't a job I'd sign up for - cutting seems easier. After you have your new sink and new cabinet you'll probably want to go with new shutoffs and supplies anyway so I wouldn't be looking to keep that portion of copper. I'd convert to pex and go with 1/4 turn ball valve shutoffs - the shutoffs in your picture I find stop working, leak when turning and are harder to use. You might as well just replace this portion of plumbing the last thing you want after you get a new sink / cabinet is for old plumbing to leak and ruin it.

Shark bite fittings have an integral o ring which probably has a shorter lifespan than a sweat fitting - I only use them in exposed plumbing applications. A lot of plumbers actually use them all the time even in concealed plumbing because they are a 100 times easier than soldering.

Furncos are used in commerical plumbing all the time - this is how you join cast iron (quiet pipes, etc). They are made of some kind of flexible rubber like material again the rubber isn't likely to have the same lifespan as the cast but in exposed plumbing and under the sink I wouldn't be afraid to leave it.

When you do your final install you could leave out the furncos and sharkbites if it makes you feel better. They are more expensive than standard fittings and maybe you have another job waiting to use them.

  • Thanks. How reliable is Sharkbite and why cut it instead of unsweating? If I unsweat, I won’t lose the pipe length. What about the Fernco? Any drawbacks?
    – David
    Nov 3, 2020 at 3:24
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    Many plumbers don't like them but Sharkbites are very reliable, especially for this type of application. Just heat up the lower end of the tee and remove it from the standpipe - no need to cut it. Clean it well and use the sharkbite deburring tool - it bevels the edge to help with the connection.
    – HoneyDo
    Nov 3, 2020 at 4:11
  • Unsweating these isn't hard. Cover the wood with an insulating panel, make sure the water lines are drained, put a wet cloth on the valves coming off the t (and preferably remove the valve stem) and heatit up
    – gbronner
    Nov 3, 2020 at 11:42

You don't mention what type of floor you're demoing, but if you don't care about the cabinet and don't mind wrecking it, why not just take a Sawzall or a jig saw and cut the whole bottom out? Of course, you'll still need to deal with the plumbing eventually when you're ready to remove it permanently. But this way you get access to the flooring now, and when you're ready to replace the cabinet you don't need to worry about trying to keep the whole setup working. Then it's just a matter of turning off the water, cutting what ever is in the way, pulling the old one, installing the new, and reconnecting the plumbing.

  • Thanks. I can do that yes. I an demoing tile floor and there is a cement board under as well. Once I get down to subfloor (OSB), I’m putting in hardwood. I like this idea actually. I marked Fresh Codemongers answer as I like the Sharkbite idea as well, however sawing chunks of the back and bottom of the cabinet prior, would allow me to do this job only once. Also would be easier to undo copper lines with cabinet out of the way. Thanks!
    – David
    Nov 3, 2020 at 3:21
  • just be careful not to undermine the support of the sink. If you do this and then fill it up to wash some dishes, definitely would not want the whole cabinet to fall apart.
    – Z4-tier
    Nov 3, 2020 at 3:24
  • Definitely. To add to the problem, it has a granit countertop. I cut the countertop on the sides to have as little weight as possible (basically left just whatever sits on the cabinet perimeter). Cabinets are pretty solid but Ill watch out for it.
    – David
    Nov 3, 2020 at 3:29
  • 2
    @David you can click the up-vote arrow for any and all answers that you find helpful - it's how you say "thanks" 'round here. Give it 48 hours or so for more options to show up, then choose the one that helped you the most or is the method you went with.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 3, 2020 at 13:20

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