Changing the shape and size of a sink cutout in a granite countertop

January 17, 2012 Off By Torin Dixon
Category: Kitchen Design/Remodeling
Private: No
Subject: kitchen sink replacement
Question: We bought a home with a newly remodeled kitchen from someone who did not cook.  The countertops are granite.  The sink is an undermount stainless steel “organic shaped” Franke sink, with a smaller basin on the left [where the garbage disposal is located].  It is impossible to wash dishes in that little sink.  The granite top has been drilled for the sink, as well as a soap dispenser, an RO/instant hot water dispenser and the faucet.  The previous owner did not have a sprayer.  I would like to replace the sink, and faucet.  I had a composite granite sink in my old house and LOVED it.  Here’s the question.  Can the sink be removed from the granite and can it be re-drilled for a new sink?  There is a section of granite with the sink that about 10-11′ long.  I suspect that the drilling of holes for the soap and RO dispenser may make replacing the sink with a more functional larger sink impossible.  Then I had the thought, what about a top mount sink?  I have seen them where they look like they sit on top of the counter top and wrap around the front?  Might make the sink a couple inches higher, but we are tall, and that would not be a problem.  What are your thoughts on replacing the sink without replacing the granite?  The granite is black/brown/gray speckled, and I fear we would never match it.
Answer: Linda,
The answer is yes, you should be able to replace the sink under certain circumstances.
Do you know if your granite thickness is 3 centimeters thick (approximately 1-3/16″), or is it 2 centimeters, with a laminated drop edge?
Do you see a seam on the edge? The reason I ask is that in some cases where you have a 2cm laminated countertop there is an underlayment plywood sub-top installed on top of the cabinets and sometimes a stainless steel sink lip is supported by the sub-top. This creates a sandwich effect where the lip of the sink is locked in between the plywood subtop and the granite.

In most cases, the sink is supported either by wood supports or there may be clips which are drilled into the back of the granite and the sink is “hanging” by the clips.

The best thing is to look from the underside and see if you see plywood supporting the sink or clips.

If there are clips then the sink usually can be removed by loosening the fasteners, heating up the sealant between the the sink and the granite with a heat gun and with a stiff putty knife, cutting the bond between the granite and the sink. The sink should drop out the bottom. Most sinks can then be turned sideways and pulled up through the cutout hole. If the sink is particularly large it sometimes is supported by the side cabinet partitions. This can be a problem and would require that you cut away part of the partition to remove sink.

I think a bigger issue is to get a stone fabricator who is willing to do this kind of a retrofit. In some markets, this is just too fussy of a job and many fabricators shy away from such projects. You may be lucky and find someone who is willing, but make sure they are reputable. Check references, etc.

The process of cutting the revised sink cutout is fairly standard and easy. Most fabricators can do this on site, although it can be messy.
Ask if they have dust collectors and how will they control dust and mess. You should be able to find a sink that will accomodate your faucets, sprayer, etc. A great source for high quality sinks (composites included) is Mr. Direct. We use them all the time:

If you have any more questions, feel free to reply. Take pictures above the counter and inside the sink box (cabinet) looking up at the bottom of the sink.

Best regards,
Torin Dixon