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I bought a glacier bay laundry sink from home depot for $200. The instruction manual says to glue the sink to the cabinet with silicone. So I did that as you can see in the picture. However, the cabinet is screwed to the wall behind it, and the screws are behind the sink basin inside the cabinet. I want to unscrew the screws, however there is no working room behind the sink basin. Therefore, I need to remove the sink.

How do I do that? I tried pushing the sink up from the bottom, but it's held on VERY tight.

Now I see the poor engineering in the instruction manual where it tells you to put screws where you can't access after installing the sink, and the sink itself is extremely hard to remove…

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  • @MiG It is not possible to make incisions in the silicone since it's underneath the sink.
    – Kingamere
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 17:21
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    Also take a closer picture of the sink lip. It's hard to tell if it sits on the edge or wraps the edge (I fear it's the latter)
    – Machavity
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 17:30
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    Likely you'd damage the cabinet. Detaching them from themselves isn't the objective anyway; the screws are. If you're letting fasteners defeat you, then you just don't have a long enough sawsall blade.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 2:48
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    Is there literally zero clearance to access the screws? Try googling "right angle screwdriver" - do you think one of these tools could help you access the screws? Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 4:54
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    @Kingamere telling us that the sink lip wraps over the edge of the cabinet would have saved everyone a lot of time in writing up answers that assumed that it was flat to the edge. You've wasted a lot of people's time by not providing complete information up front.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 12:08

7 Answers 7

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Yeah, when spread over a larger area silicone holds really well. The key is to apply pressure over a small area, without bending your sink. Start at a corner or a thin place.

  • Use a utility knife or sharp putty knife to slices all the silicone that you have access to. Something flexible might get in from below.
  • Start work at one corner. Push and pry up as much as you dare, then put some shims or spacers in to hold progress.
  • Now see if you can cut more under the edge of the sink.

Rinse and repeat. If you get stuck, try from a different position. Eventually it'll start to let go and you'll be able to pull it free.

The bottom line here is that you need to poke and prod until you find a weakness, then exploit it.


Obligatory enlightment:

Silicon is a flaky, brittle crystalline material. It's what computer chips are made of. Silicone is something very different. It's a synthetic polymer derived from silicon, but it's as similar to silicon as motor oil is to dinosaur bones. The terms are not interchangeable.

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  • The issue is the silicon is underneath the sink and I don't have access to it.
    – Kingamere
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 18:57
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    You need to find access. We don't have a magic wand for that. My instructions are how I'd approach any such project (and I've done many).
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 19:25
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    When you get some part up enough, thread a wire through, wrap it around two sticks for handles, and cut the rest like cheese.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 22:52
  • @Kingamere: Going at the silicone might be easier from the inside of the cabinet (especially at the corners)... at least enough to get a corner up or something that would allow you to progress the rest of the way from the outside. All you really have to do is get it started and proceed from there with a razor or wire, etc.
    – gnicko
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 14:59
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Brute Force

First try what @isherwood suggests. Try really hard. If that doesn't work, follow the spirit of his answer, adapt to your exact situation, and try harder. But if you give up here's your desperation plan.

Remove all the screws you can from the back of the cabinet. Hopefully that leaves two, near the top behind the sink.

Then, use brute force to remove the cabinet from the wall. You may damage the back of the cabinet or the wall a little. Shouldn't matter, the damaged part will end up back against the wall and it's a $120 white melamine special anyway.

Try any of these:

  • If you can get a hacksaw between the cabinet and wall, from the top or either side, saw off the screws.
  • If you can get a long drill bit up behind the sink, use it to carve up the back of the cabinet in the vicinity of the screws.
  • If you can get a wrecking bar behind the cabinet, just pry it off the wall. If the screws are in studs you'll break the back of the cabinet, if not you'll just yank them out of the wall. You can patch up the back of the cabinet but you probably won't have to. If you do this from the bottom of the cabinet it will be easier but will do more damage to the cabinet, possibly shearing off the whole back of it. If you do it from the top it will hopefully just rip the screw heads through the particle board or break off a chunk of it near the screws.
  • Alternatively sacrifice the unfinished old piece of drywall behind the cabinet. Remove the screws you can access at the top, then starting at the top just rip the drywall off the joists. Worst case if the cabinet is screwed to joists, with the drywall removed you'll easily be able to saw out the screws by reaching round the back. Then you work from he back. This will be very easy to repair since there's no finish ... you just need to buy a 1/3 sheet of drywall.
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Grind the off screw heads that hold the cabinet to the wall with a dremel tool. If you can't get a dremel tool in there use a grinding bit with an electric drill, if need be you can get an extension for the grinding bit.

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    If the OP could access the screw heads, he could do a lot of things. The point is that he can't get to the screw heads.
    – Graham
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 8:47
  • Nice, in my "brute force" answer, if I had thought of this I would have put it first! @Graham he cannot use a screwdriver between the sink and wall. That doesn't mean he has no access at all. A long drill bit with a grinding wheel on the end will probably do it, without any of the damage that would be caused by the suggestions in my answer.
    – jay613
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 15:13
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    @jay613 if grinding down a steel screw/bolt is very time consuming he can grind away around the screw at the back of the cabinet and then use your brute force advice which would then do minimal damage. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 16:51
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Attack the screw, not the screw head

Get yourself a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade. Sawzall seems to be a popular brand in the US, for example. Then get the saw blade up the gap between the back of the cabinet and the wall, and just cut through the shaft of each screw.

You may need to cut away some of the back of the cabinet to get to the screws. If you do that inside the cabinet, maybe the results won't be obvious and you can reuse the cabinet. More likely you're just going to end up destroying the cabinet. From the look of it though, it's dirt cheap so that's not the end of the world.

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    May seem obvious, but if doing this, make note of where the plumbing enters/exits the cabinet.
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 16:37
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I liked Graham's answer of a reciprocating saw, but he didn't offer some key details on how to make that work.

You might be thinking "I can't get my saw close to the wall", but there's a way around that. What you want is called a flush cut blade. These are 9" or longer because of how you use them. You'll note that these blades are slightly thinner than the normal blades, and that's so you can bend the blade.

Press the blade against the wall behind the sink, but not touching the sink yet. The key is you want to have the blade flat against the wall, and then bending slightly towards your saw at the end (maybe 20 to 30 degrees). Now, fire your saw up and the blade should be moving flatly against the wall. Move the blade slowly down and it should start shaving the back of your cabinet. This way, you can work it down to the screw holding it and cut it off. Repeat for the other side and you should have it free of the wall without removing the sink. It looks like you have unfinished drywall so it should be easy to replace or fix if this damages it.

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  • Hard to see for sure but it looks like the cabinet might be sitting on the door casing and not flush to the wall. If that's the case there should be a gap at the top which would make your suggestion a lot easier Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 16:57
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One way I think is used when removing windows on cars is to use guitar string or piano wire to cut through the glue. Depending on how thick the silicone is, maybe it is possible to cut through (some of) it with a wire?

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Just an idea: try using a thin sturdy twine as a flexible saw blade.

Push the middle of the twine under one corner of the sink. Use your fingernail to push it between the sink and the cabinet.

Grab the one end of the twine with one hand and the other one with the other hand. Stand so that pulling with both hands pulls the twine further in.

Make sawing motions by pulling with one hand and the other.

The idea / hope is for the rope to wear down the silicone. Should the rope give first, you should still be able to pull out both ends and start over.

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  • Twine is going to be very thick and difficult to get pushed through cured silicone caulk and isn't likely to last long before breaking. Some monofilament fishing line might work better. However, the OP still has the issue of getting it through the caulk in the first place and the bent over lip of the sink.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 17:05
  • I was thinking something thin, sturdy, but not slick like fishing line. "Twine" seemed to be the best work - in the dictionary. For similar situations (at a smaller scale, different types of glue, never silicone so far) I have used "twine" (thinner than what Google shows me) we have for binding roast. Where that is too thick I use a thread from the sewing kit that is intended to mark where to cut/fold. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 21:05

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