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I'd like to replace my kitchen sink. It is a drop-in porcelain, mounted in a granite tile countertop. It has been there almost 20 years. The tile is in great shape and I would like to avoid damaging it.

I tried to cut away the silicone from the sink and slip a putty knife under there to loosen it, but I couldn't create any gap to get the knife in. I also tried to use heat to loosen the silicone, and a mallet to jiggle the sink a bit from the bottom. Nothing has worked.

Any advice on working the sink loose while avoiding tile damage?

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  • break up the sink
    – jsotola
    Nov 10 '20 at 16:08
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    Look under the sink to be sure there aren't clips holding it down to the counter top.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 10 '20 at 17:31
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    I will reiterate what FreeMan said, Clips, have you looked underneath for clips holding it in place? The first thing you need to do is determine that there are no mechanical fasteners or plumbing keeping it from moving up.
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 10 '20 at 18:58
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    Welcome. Please take the tour to learn why "thanks" comments are superfluous.
    – isherwood
    Nov 10 '20 at 20:07
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A kitchen sink is usually relatively large and when made of porcelain it's probably pretty heavy. The putty knife is a good idea but you're fighting against not just the silicone but also the weight of the sink. Also make sure you're not fighting against the plumbing -- the drain or the faucet supply pipes could hamper your efforts.

Find a way to apply some lifting force to the sink while trying to cut the caulk with the putty knife. An assistant could push up on the bottom of the sink, or if the drain plumbing is removed, can lift the sink from above by grasping through the drain hole(s). Another possibility is to use a lever or jack of some kind. Take care with this approach. It sets up a "weakest link" challenge: if things go right the caulk will fail, but if things go wrong the sink may break or the floor of the cabinet may be damaged. Proceed with caution, increasing the force/leverage gradually.

Whichever method you choose for lifting the sink, try doing so at all four corners (one at a time). One of them may be adhered weaker than the others; once you get one area loose the rest will follow more easily.

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  • Thank you, I had not thought of the weight of the sink and plumbing fighting my efforts. I have a floor jack I might be able to carefully use to assist. Nov 10 '20 at 17:11
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    @Tumbleweed53, yeah, I was just going to suggest an automotive floor jack or a bottle jack. The idea is to put pressure on it to help separate the caulk and to lift the sink away from the counter, not to force the caulk to split. But you've likely figured that out by now already. Nov 12 '20 at 0:47
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Jack up the sink slowly. Take all of the plumbing out, get a car jack or any other type of small jack, put a piece of a 2x6/8 in between and push that thing up.

Once you get a little bit of upward tension you will see the areas that are stuck and they should have a few mm showing where you can cut the caulk. My go-tos are WD 40 and goo-gone. Give those a good 5-10 mins and then hit it with a really thin knife - I actually use an old tomato knife for cutting caulk or separating glue.

I have used the jack method on several stone types when I want to make sure not to damage. I for one wouldn't trying to demo the sink with it attached as one little piece that pops wrong could split a vein on the stone and take a little chunk out.

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    Caution: Don't use WD40 in this scenario as its a Granite counter. Having tried it once (in a small corner as a test), it destroys the sealing layer on the granite almost immediately and penetrates in to the surface discolouring and damaging it. Once it's in there, you'll never get it out again. Nov 11 '20 at 16:11
  • @TomCarpenter - thanks Tom I will think about using something else. But 20-30 removals at least on granite and never and issue. I am not rubbing it all over I am spraying it in the gap. I might do a test on some granite extra pieces to see how it reacts. I am guessing this has something to do with how your granite was sealed. There are a lot of different methods, near me they are machine sanded/polished and there are just a few different species I would need to worry about.
    – DMoore
    Nov 12 '20 at 5:56
  • I suppose it will depend on the type and sealing process of the worktop. This was a highly polished black granite. I will see if I can find a picture of what the WD40 did to it. Nov 12 '20 at 9:42

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