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9 Best Ways to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak (2022)

Fix Kitchen Sink Leak
Illustration by Maria Shukshina from Ouch!

Wondering how to fix the kitchen sink leak.

Yes, you are at the right place to learn about fixing the kitchen sink leak.

Most leaking sinks may be easy to repair, but severe cases require a professional plumber. 

Nowadays, it is important to understand and fix common kitchen sink leaks without contacting a plumber.

In this guide, we’ll explain a few of the following methods to fix the kitchen sink leak.

1. Fix Faucet Leak

2. Fix Drain Leak

3. Fix Drain Seal Leaks

4. Fix Damaged O-Ring

5. Fix Worn-Out Washer

6. Fix Corroded Valve Seat

7. Fix Loose Water Supply Connection

8. Fix Clogged P-Trap

9. Fix Replacing the Entire Sink

We will discuss each of these in detail below.

Fix Faucet Leak

Most often, a faucet leak is caused by faulty washers or worn-out gaskets. You can replace them. Some leaks are severe and require the replacement of the entire faucet.

Repair Faucet Leak to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Follow the step-by-step instructions to fix the faucet leak.

1. Use a stopper or cloth to cover the drain

2. Turn off the faucet’s water supply

3. Use duct tape to cover the teeth of wrenches and pliers

4. On a compression faucet, take off either one or both leaking handles

5. Remove the nut holding the stem in place

6. Replace any one or both of the assembly’s rubber washers

7. Repair the faucet handle

8. To examine, remove the faucet’s single handle

We will discuss each of these in detail below.

Use a stopper or cloth to cover the drain

Use a stopper or rag to cover the drain to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Using a stopper or rag to cover the drain is usually a precaution before beginning to fix the leak in the faucet. It helps you to not lose anything through the drain while repairing the faucet to fix the leak.

Turn off the faucet’s water supply

Turn off the faucet's water supply to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Before going to fix the leak, you have to ensure that the water is not coming into the valve of the pipe. Turn off the faucet’s water supply to the valves to get rid of excess water during the fix.

If there is no such shut-off valve, you will need to turn off the water for the whole house.

Use duct tape to cover the teeth of wrenches and pliers

Use duct tape to cover the teeth of wrenches and pliers to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

While using a single layer of tape to cover the teeth of wrenches and pliers. It will protect the faucet’s shiny finish from damage. 

On a compression faucet, take off either one or both leaking handles

On a compression faucet, take off either one or both leaking handles to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Most kitchen faucets have 2 handles. One for hot water and another for cold water. It is called a compression faucet.

The decorative caps have the letters “H” and “C” printed to indicate hot or cold. Choose the leaking handle and remove the handles by taking off the decorative caps and loosening the screws. 

The decorative caps have the letters “H” and “C” printed to indicate hot or cold to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Repeat the same process on the other handle if it is too leaky.

Remove the nut that holds the stem in place

Remove the nut by using the tape-wrapped wrench and turning the nuts in the other direction.

Remove the nut that holds the stem in place to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Once the nuts are removed, the handle stem should be able to be pulled out easily.

Replace any one or both of the assembly’s rubber washers

Install a new O-ring or rubber washer for leaky handles. Both are rubber, but the O-ring is thinner. 

Replace any one or both of the assembly's rubber washers to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

You can take old rubber washers to the store to find and buy the right match.

Repair the faucet handle

Once you have done the above steps, this step is exactly the opposite of what you have done previously. 

If you have successfully finished the replacement of the rubber washer in the faucet handle, then turn on the water supply to the faucet and check whether it is still leaking or not. If the issue is still there, then try the next fix.

To examine, remove the faucet’s single handle

To examine it, you first need to know what type of faucet you have in your kitchen.

There are four types of faucets available on the market. Ball, Cartridge, Ceramic Disk, and Compression Faucets.

To examine, remove the faucet's single handle to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

You need to examine the inner workings of the faucet by unscrewing and removing the handle to find out the real cause of this leak. Your repair procedure will vary depending on whether you have a ball, cartridge, or ceramic disc faucet. 

In any case, the repair will involve several detailed steps, but the overall tools and techniques are not beyond your capability. In that case, you can call a plumber.

Hope the faucet leak issue is resolved by using the below step-by-step instructions.

Fix Drain Leak

Follow the below step-by-step instructions to fix the drain leak.

1. Check the connections on the drain pipes

2. Identify the connectors on your sink strainer

3. The sink strainer connectors need to tighten up

4. Replace the sink strainer if it is leaking

5. Install a new sink strainer

We will discuss each of these in detail.

Check the connections on the drain pipes

First of all, find the area where the water leaks are coming from.

Check the connections on the drain pipes to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

After that, tighten the connector pipe firmly but not with extreme pressure by using your hand or wrench for tightening.

Replace the drain pipes covered full of rust to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

If it is not working, try to disconnect and reconnect, or replace the pipes or nuts. Replace the drain pipes covered full of rust.

Identify the connectors on your sink strainer

A metal sink drain is also known as a sink strainer. That might be the source of the leak. 

The pressure connectors are used in the sink strainer to create a water-tight rag around the sink opening. Open the tap and allow to fill the sink strainer with water, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Open the tap and allow to fill the sink strainer with water to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Then check the water leaks coming from the sink strainer or from the connector pipes from the metal sink strainer.

If the water leaks from the sink strainers then you have to identify which type of sink strainers are used in your household. 

check the water leaks coming from the sink strainer to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

There are three types of sink strainers: locknut, locknut with screws, and bell washer. 

Next, read the user manual or online resources to identify the type of sink strainers you have and try to fix it.

The sink strainer connectors need to tighten up 

If you found that sink strainer connectors little loose, try to tighten them firmly and securely but not under extreme pressure by using your hand or wrench for tightening. And check if it is still leaking.

The sink strainer connectors need to tighten up to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

If you have only a small drain leak, then you might be able to fix it by yourself by applying the clear silicone around the connectors which connect to the sink strainer 

Replace the sink strainer if it is leaking

After you tried all of the above steps, and still it is leaking then you have to remove or replace the leaking metal sink strainer by first removing the plumber’s putty around the rim of the sink opening.

Then hold the sink from the bottom, then press upward on the sink strainer to pop it up and out of the sink. 

Hold the sink from the bottom, then press upward on the sink strainer to pop it up and out of the sink to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Then install a new sink strainer in that place.

Install a new sink strainer

Before going to install a new sink strainer, form a ring of the new plumber’s putty to place around the sink opening. Press the new sink strainer down into the sink firmly, and tighten.

Replace the sink strainer to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Clear away excess putty in the sink with your hands or a knife. Examine the new sink strainer once again by filling the sink with water and waiting for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then check connections from the sink, if there are any water leaks.  If the issue is still there, you can call a plumber to fix the drain leak.

Fix Drain Seal Leaks

The next thing you need to check is the drain seal. 

If your sink can’t hold water without leaking, it may be due to the damaged drain seal. It’s very easy to replace the drain seal.

Follow the steps to fix the drain seal leak.

1. Gently remove the old drain seal with a pair of pliers or a fork.

Carefully apply the new adhesive around the drain to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

2. Carefully apply the new adhesive around the drain and do not apply too much.

apply the new adhesive around the drain to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

3. Replace the seal, making sure to apply it centered around the drain.

Replace the seal, making sure to apply it centered around the drain to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

These are the 3 steps to fix the drain seal leak.

Fix Damaged O-Ring

O-Ring is the common cause of kitchen sink leaks. The issue with the O-ring is most generally in cartridge faucets.

Repair Damaged O-Ring to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The stem screw holds the faucet handle. A small disc will be attached just above the O-Ring.

Frequent use of the O-Ring will result in loss due to regular use. It causes the faucet to leak near the handle.

fixing faucet to leak near the handle to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

If the O-ring is damaged, then the only way to fix the problem is to replace the O-Ring.

Fix Worn-Out Washer

A worn-out washer is the common cause of kitchen sink leaks. Each time you use the faucet, the washer is pressed against the valve seat.

 

Repair Worn-Out Washers to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The sink leaks caused by worn-out washers can be fixed simply by replacing the washer. Worn-out washers are particularly common for compression faucets.

simply replacing the washer to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The issue with the worn-out washers is most generally in compression faucets.

Fix Corroded Valve Seat

The valve seat is the supporting corrector between the spout and the faucet for the compression process. 

Repair Corroded Valve Seat to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The accumulation of water at the valve seat may lead to corrosion, which leads to the region near the spout leaking. Regular valve seat cleaning with the help of a certified plumber is strongly encouraged.

Fix Loose Water Supply Connection

A kitchen sink typically has two water supply connections, but if it has a separate sprayer, there might be three.

Every water supply connection has the risk of chance a leak and creating issues. Corrosion is a potential cause of a water line leak.

Repair the Loose Water Supply Connection to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The water leak was also caused due to a defective gasket in the connection. Most of the time, changing the gasket should be sufficient to stop the leak; in other situations, simply tightening the connection should be enough.

Fix Clogged P-Trap

The P-trap refers to the bent part of a pipe, which is typically located under the sink. Its primary goal is to stop bad odors from leaking down the drains.

The P-trap is normally hidden, so it might be harder to spot leaks immediately.

Repair the Clogged P-Trap to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

At the P-trap, tiny food fragments and muck tend to accumulate. This prevents water from draining properly and might result in a leak.

 

Rust is another potential problem to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

If your sink has metal components, rust is another potential problem. If this is the case, you might have to entirely replace the trap.

Fix Replacing the Entire Sink

None of the above methods helped you to fix the kitchen sink leak. Then you have to replace the entire sink.

Follow the methods to fix the replacement of the entire sink.

1. Close the faucet and remove all items from the under-sink cabinet

2. Disconnect the drain pipe

3. Disconnect the hot and cold water lines

4. Disconnect the garbage disposal, if any

5. Cut through the caulk that surrounds a top-mount sink to seal it

6. Remove the supporting brackets from underneath of an under-mount sink

7. Try to sink out from beneath

8. Clean the counter region around the sink opening

9. Install the new sink

We will discuss each of these in detail.

Close the faucet and remove all items from the under-sink cabinet

1. Remove all the cleaning vessels, bottles, and pans from the sink before pulling out the old sink.

2. To absorb excess water in the sink, spread old towels over the sink base.

Turn off the water supply valves to the sink to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

3. Turn off the water supply valves to the sink. Then open the faucet to let the lines drain.

4. Before you begin loosening any pipes, turn off the electricity to your trash disposal at the main breaker panel. 

Disconnect the drain pipe

The PVC drain pipe will be connected to the metal sink strainer at the underside of the sink.

Disconnect the drain pipe to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Use a wrench to loosen the nuts that connect the sink strainer and metal or PVC drain pipe.

Disconnect the hot and cold water lines

Disconnect the hot and cold water lines to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Under the faucet, there is a metal tube that connects the water supply connection shut-off valves.

Use a wrench to loosen the nuts that connect the flexible metal tubes and water shut-off valves to disconnect the hot and cold water lines.

Use a wrench to loosen the nuts that connect the flexible metal tubes and water shut-off valves to disconnect the hot and cold water lines.

Disconnect the garbage disposal, if any

The disposal is normally connected to the drain pipe either by using a screw or a nut. 

Disconnect the garbage disposal to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak.

It varies based on the brand and type of garbage disposal. You can either refer to the product manual or contact the manufacturer if you need any information regarding the garbage disposal. 

To remove the disposal, unplug it or, if it's hardwired, disconnect the electrical cabling to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak.

To remove the disposal, unplug it or, if it’s hardwired, disconnect the electrical cabling.

Cut through the caulk that surrounds a top-mount sink to seal it

If you have a top-mount sink, it has a steel border around the edge that holds it in place.

Usually, we use caulk to close the separation between the sink steel border edges and the countertop. To cut through the caulk, use a utility knife around the edge.

To cut through the caulk, use a utility knife around the edge to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Since you are not also changing the countertop, so work carefully.

Remove the supporting brackets from underneath of an under-mount sink

If your sink is under-mount, a set of brackets or clips are used to support it. First, gently run your utility knife over the top of the sink basin where it meets the countertop to cut through the caulk seal.

Take off all the brackets or clips by using a screwdriver.

Try to remove the under-mount sink from it.

Remove the supporting brackets from underneath of an under-mount sink to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

The epoxy may be used to hold the under-mount sink in place if granite countertops are being used. 

In this instance, first, ensure that the sink is supported by wood bracing beneath it, then use a knife to cut off the epoxy where the sink meets the countertop. You can also use a heat gun too.

Try to sink out from beneath

If you have an Under-mount sink, then try to pull out the sink from underneath to upwards. 

If you have a broad opening in your sink cabinet, you may also be able to sink out from the sink cabinet.

sink out from beneath to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

In the case of the top-mount sink, you can lift the sink out by yourself. It is much easier than an under-mount sink out because it will not require a helper to sink out from it.

Clean the counter region around the sink opening

Once your old sink is out, then clean the countertop region around the sink opening by using a knife and cleaning agent. 

Clean the counter region around the sink opening to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Clean the removed caulk seal from it. Then wait until it is totally dry before installing the new sink.

Please be careful while doing this!

Install the new sink

Installing a new sink by following the complete opposite steps of the above methods.

Firstly, apply the caulk seal all around the sink rims where they meet the countertop.

Apply the caulk seal all around the sink rims where they meet the countertop to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Then fix the new sink into place on the countertop.

Tighten the brackets or clips under the sink.

Tighten the brackets or clips under the sink to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Then install the faucet and the new sink strainer into the newly installed sink.

Install the faucet and new sink strainer into the newly installed sink to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Fix all the water, drainage, and electrical connections in the sink.

Installation process of the new sink is completed to Fix Kitchen Sink Leak

Now that the installation process of the new sink is completed, you can check the water supply if there are any leaks or issues.

Wrapping Up

In this guide, we have looked at different methods to fix kitchen sink leaks.

Hope you got an idea about fixing the kitchen sink leaks.

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