How to Caulk a Kitchen Sink

How to Caulk a Kitchen Sink

Anthony Barnes

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There is nothing quite like fitting a new kitchen sink. Kitchen sinks can completely transform the way your kitchen looks. Especially, since there are so many amazing styles to choose from.

So when it comes to installing a kitchen sink, you want to make sure that it is done properly.

Even if the kitchen sink you have is already installed, you may notice that over time the sealant has started to wear away.

In this case, there is only one thing you can do. That is to reseal the sink, so there are no points where it can leak. 

There are different sealants available to choose from when it comes to sealing your kitchen sink. One of the popular choices is caulk.

In this guide, we are going to walk you through how to caulk a kitchen sink, so you don’t have to worry about any leaks occurring. 

What Is Caulk? 

Caulk is a type of sealant that is used to close gaps and cracks. Caulk is mainly used to seal areas so that water and air cannot pass through. Caulk (see also ‘Alternatives To Caulking Around The Bathtub‘) is a popular choice when it comes to waterproofing joints and gaps in homes. 

Caulk is applied using a caulking gun, which you squeeze to apply the caulk into the gaps. It is extremely important that caulk is applied properly as this will make the caulk last longer.

Caulk is not something that will seal gaps forever, it is prone to eroding. Although, it is simple to fix caulk that has eroded as all you need to do is refill those gaps. 

How to Caulk a Kitchen Sink

Now that we know what caulk is, we can have a look at the steps you need to take in order to caulk a kitchen sink. 

Step One

The first step is to remove any old caulk that is around the sink. This mainly applies to those of you who are re-caulking your sink.

If you have had a new sink fitted, it is likely that when removing the old sink, all of the caulk was removed. 

So, to remove the old caulk you need to get a sharp knife. Then, holding the blade away from your body, you can start to cut the old caulk and glue away. It is important to keep watch of where you are cutting.

This helps to avoid accidentally scraping the countertop and damaging it. 

The best advice we can give you for this step is to take your time. You will be able to remove the caulk more efficiently, without causing any damage if you go slowly. 

Step Two

The next step still involves removing the caulk and the glue. Instead of using a sharp knife, you need to peel away anything you couldn’t remove. 

It is likely that there will be small remnants of glue and caulk that are stubborn to remove. To help you, get some warm soapy water and rub away any caulk, and glue with a sponge. 

During this step, you should also use soapy water and a sponge to remove any dirt that is around the area. This will make it easier to apply the caulk and ensures that it lasts for as long as it is able to. 

Make sure to dry the area with a cloth.

Step Three

Once you have dried the area, it is time to get some rubbing alcohol. It is important that the rubbing alcohol you use is made from a majority of Isopropyl alcohol rather than ethyl alcohol. 

Rubbing alcohol should be easily found at any hardware store, although if you cannot find it, then bleach would also work. 

When you have the rubbing alcohol, you need to apply it to a clean cloth that is slightly damp and apply it to all of the areas where you are going to be applying the caulk.

As mentioned earlier, it is important that the area where the caulk is to be applied is clean. 

Then wash your kitchen sink with cold water and allow it to dry before moving on to the next step. 

Step Four

Now that your kitchen sink is dry and the area is clean, you need to get some masking tape. The masking tape is going to be used in the same way it is when you are painting a wall.

The masking tape is going to protect the rest of your countertop from the caulk. 

Place strips of the masking tape on the countertop where you do not want to get the caulk. The masking tape should not cover any area where you intend to pipe the caulk.

You will be placing the caulk on the joint of the sink. So you need to place the masking tape around the rim of the sink on the countertop. 

Once you have placed the masking tape, make sure it is firmly on the countertop and there are no gaps. 

Step Five

It is time to load up your caulking gun. Depending on what tube you purchased, a caulking gun may have come with it.

If not, you will need to purchase one separately. Sealing guns are readily available to purchase at hardware stores. 

It is important you check that the nozzle is the correct size for your kitchen sink (see also ‘How To Plumb A Single Bowl Kitchen Sink With Disposal‘) joint.

At this point, you can cut it at a 45-degree angle if it is not the right size. Squeeze a bit of the caulk out on a paper towel, so you become familiar with how much comes out. 

Step Six

Now you can start to apply the caulk. In order to do this, you need to apply light but steady pressure on the trigger.

This allows for the same amount of caulk to come out of the tube as you are moving it around the rim or joint of your sink. 

During this step, the caulk might not look as neat as you had anticipated. This will be fixed at a later stage. 

Step Seven

After you have finished applying the caulk around the edge of the sink, check that all the gaps have been filled. When you are happy with your work, you are ready to clean it up. 

To clean the caulk, you need to take your finger and make sure it is slightly wet.

Then run your finger over the caulk you have applied to make it smooth. This will make the caulk look as though it was professionally done. 

Step Eight

Remove the masking tape before the caulk starts to dry. It is important to take your time and be gentle, this way none of the caulk will be removed as you are removing the masking tape. 

After you have removed the masking tape, get a damp cloth and remove any excess caulk before it dries.

This will make your kitchen sink look clean. Then you have finished caulking the sink and all you need to do is let it dry. 

The amount of time it takes for caulk to dry depends on the brand of caulk.

To see how long you need to let your caulk dry, read the label on the tube of caulk. Most brands of caulk take a few days before they have completely dried. 

What Is The Difference Between Caulk And Silicone Sealant?

How to Caulk a Kitchen Sink

As mentioned before, there are many different types of sealant. Two of the most popular sealants are caulk and silicone. So what are the differences between the two?

Silicone sealants are often referred to as just sealants. Whereas, caulk is often referred to by its name. So this is also helpful for looking at the differences between sealant and caulk. 

Caulk is not as prone to moving as silicone is. Silicone is more elastic compared to caulk.

Caulk is much more rigid when it dries, which is why it moves less. Caulk is also able to be painted, whereas silicone sealants are not.

Caulk also dries a lot quicker than silicone does. This makes it better for applying in places where you do not want to wait too long, such as kitchen sinks.

On the other hand, silicone is able to bind to most surfaces. This makes silicone a good choice for sticking two objects together. 

Since silicone is more flexible compared to caulk, it is better suited for areas that are known to expand and contract.

Silicone is able to withstand drastic temperature changes, but caulk has the potential to crack with temperature changes. 

Both caulk and silicone do the same thing, as they are both used to seal gaps and make areas waterproof. The main difference between silicone and caulk is that they are both better suited for different environments. 

What Sealant Should You Use?

If your kitchen sink is located in an environment that is prone to a lot of temperature changes, then a silicone sealant would be a better fit for your kitchen sink.

In this case, a silicone sealant would be more durable as it is not going to crack when it expands and contracts. 

However, if your kitchen sink is not located in an area where the temperature will affect it, then caulk would work just as well.

Caulk would also be a better match if you would like for the sealant to be dried quickly. 

Are There Different Types Of Caulk? 

Yes, there are many different types of caulk. The most common caulks are acrylic latex caulk, vinyl latex caulk, and butyl rubber caulk.

It is important that you pick the right type of caulk for your project, as each type of caulk has its strengths and weaknesses. 

Final Thoughts

Applying caulk to a kitchen sink is a lot easier than it might sound. As long as you are prepared with all of the right equipment and are careful, then you should be able to easily install the caulk without any problems. Preparation is key when it comes to applying caulk to a sink. 

We hope that this guide has helped you feel comfortable about being able to caulk your kitchen sink.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of caulk and how to apply it effectively. Please share this guide with others who might benefit from reading this. Thank you for reading. 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age