Installing The Ikea Emsen Sink In My “Custom” Countertop

With the counter in place, there wasn’t much left to do but to install the sink.  Things were really coming together now – and in no way too soon!  My friend J! and his wife L! were scheduled to arrive at the end of the week – and we still didn’t have the ability to easily wash dishes.

Consulting the Emsen installation manual (actually, a single sheet of paper), I flipped the sink upside down onto the counter and lined it up with where I wanted it to be installed.

Lining up the sink and trying to keep it close to the front edge.

I pulled the sink as far forward as possible – I had noted earlier that it seemed like it may be a bit awkward to wash dishes in the sink if it was set back much from the front edge of the counter – moving it back also moved it sideways (as it was a corner sink), so one would have to wash dishes while standing at an angle to the sink.  This didn’t seem like a good plan to me, so I wanted to minimize the chance that this would happen.

Lining up the outside edges of the sink so that they were flush with the inside edges of the walls of the corner cabinet, I took out my super trusty Staedler draughting pencil and traced out the sink.

Then I used my yardstick to reduce this outline by a half inch all around.

With nerves all jangling, I drilled a few pilot holes through the counter flush with the inner rings I had drawn, and then inserted my jig saw (complete with a brand new blade) and began working my way around the pattern.

At the front edge I hit some substantial resistance, so I skipped over that spot and came back to it later.  It turned out I was hitting the metal bolt holding part of the two counters together – it was a redundant part according to the manual when you were installing a sink in that area, so I will try not to lose too much sleep over it.

Definitely no going back now!

I did a dry fit of the sink next, and it looked okay to me.

Dry fit makes it look good.

Then I installed the butyl tape around the edge of the sink.  This was harder than the manual had shown – the tape was much wider than the space provided.  I tried to keep it set back from the edge enough that none would show when the sink was installed.  In hindsight, this was the wrong way to do it.  I should have set the tape so it was flush with the long tabs under the sink, and some of the tape could or even should extend out beyond the edge of the metal.

Then I installed the clips for holding the sink down onto the countertop and flipped it over and set it in the hole.

It wasn’t a hardship to tuck the clips in as I sought to seat the sink in the hole again.  They did catch in a few places, but it wasn’t a problem to push them in and then the sink quickly returned to its final position.

I ducked underneath and then realized my next problem – the clips were designed for an Ikea countertop that was over an inch thick.  My “custom” laminate countertop was only about a half inch thick.  The clips would tighten down fully long before they reached the countertop.

Along the back edge of the sink it wasn’t a big issue.  I got out more of my strapping and screwed it to the countertop along the back edge and the two shorter sections extending out from there.

Just had to add my strapping to get the clips back to useable status.

The front edges proved a bit of a head scratcher.  I had lined them up flush with the inner sides of the cabinets to minimize that setback – but now there was nothing for the clips to attach to!

Hmmm, nothing to gain purchase on here!

I contemplated trying to drive in some screws and leaving the heads sticking out for the clips to attach to, but I couldn’t get in there with my screwdriver, and the butyl tape had already stuck the sink in place so I couldn’t easily remove it.

Then I thought about replacing the clips altogether – that’s when I started to really make progress!  I knew I had a scrap piece of galvanzed pipe strap just out on the front porch.  I cut it into a bunch of smaller pieces, and used them to replace the clips.  One end of the straps I screwed tightly into the sides of the cabinet, and then I tightened up the adjusting bolt and the sink snugged down nicely.

Ahhh!  Clever lad!  A makeshift clip!

One complaint I may make is that the “nut” portion of the clips is a plastic part – I felt lots of fear that it could easily strip if you overtightened the bolt.  I tried to watch and feel carefully for the sink to come down to the countertop tightly but without overdoing it.

With the sink nice in place, Kenny grabbed a rubber and tried to erase the marks left around the sink from my pencil, and I went underneath to attach the “Atlant” drains.

A previous error in working on my plumbing meant I no longer had a P trap for the sink, so at this point I put a bucket under the drain, and washed another load of dishes.  Every day the laundry and dishes get easier to do again!

A thing of beauty.  Now if only I hadn’t already messed up this P trap, I could keep going.

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