New House Bath:

Installing A Vanity Counter And
Sink Basin

In This Article:

The hole for the sink is carefully laid out on the countertop, then the hole is cut using a jig saw. The sink basin is mounted to the countertop with caulk/adhesive, then the counter is screwed to the vanity.

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Skill Level: 3 (Intermediate) Time Taken: About 2 Hours

By , Editor


The laminate countertop, set in place on the vanity cabinet.

The porcelain sink basin to be installed.


The sink came with a paper template to guide in the hole cutting.

The counter had a gap on the right hand side, so we flipped it over and used a belt sander to remove a little material.


We set the sink in place to determine the best location.

We put strips of masking tape in the counter and made red marks to indicate the inside edge of the cabinet.

Caution: Care must be taken when cutting a hole in a counter top. If the hole is positioned wrong, the opening may expose the top edge of the vertical front section of the cabinet. While this may not seem like a problem, sometimes the basin will contact the front panel, making it necessary to file away some wood.

On this project, we measured the counter overhang on the front, and added the cabinet front face thickness (3/4" is common) and arrived at a safe distance for the hole.

If the basin cut-out is too far to the back, it will be difficult to clean between the sink and the back-splash.

We transferred the center-line marks to the bottom of the counter.

Then we taped the template to the bottom, being careful of the front-to-back placement.


We drilled a starter hole, using a 3/8" drill bit. The hole is set back from the red cut line, in case the laminate chips.

We stuck the jig saw blade in the hole and started cutting.


We cut part way around the circle...

...and then turned the saw around to cut from the other direction.

There is a reason for this reversal. When the cut is completed the center part is going to fall, and swing sideways, and probably peel off the laminate. Note in the picture above how we moved the counter so the middle of the hole is over the side of the cabinet. This will support the "off-cut" when it finally breaks free.


Almost finished with the cut.

When the cut was completed, the center part was balanced on the edge of the cabinet, so it did not peel away any laminate.


We flipped the counter over and set it in place.

We set the sink basin in place to test the fit. No problems.

If the hole was too small and the sink did not fit, I would use a belt sander to carefully sand away the excess material. It's important that the sanding belt be moving into the laminate, to prevent the laminate from peeling away.

This is the caulking/adhesive that the sink manufacturer supplied.

We ran a bead of adhesive along the underside of the rim.


And we set the basin in place.

On one side, the caulk did not ooze out, so we added a little extra.


It looks like a mess.

After spreading and smoothing, it looked much better.

Actually, the caulk on this project started to dry before we were ready to smear it. We tried the usual smearing-with-a-wet-finger technique, but it made a mess. Almost starting to panic, we grabbed a piece of toilet paper and splashed some water on it. We quickly wiped around the rim of the basin, expecting to have to yank the sink out and start over. But to our surprise, the caulk smoothed out perfectly with a wet piece of T.P.


After the sink adhesive had time to set, we attached the counter to the cabinet. First we drilled holes in the corner mounting brackets.

Then we drove deck screws up into the underside of the counter material.

Caution: Careful measurements must be taken to avoid having a screw pop through the top of the counter. We try to use screws that are 1/8" to 1/4" shorter than the combined thickness of the counter, the cabinet corner brackets, and any gap in between.

With four or five screws holding the counter in place, our job was done.

Later, the homeowner, who happens to be a plumber, installed the faucet and the bathroom was ready for use.


Tools Used:

  • Cordless Drill/Driver
  • Jig Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Drill Bits

Materials Used:

  • Laminate Counter
  • Adhesive Caulk
  • Deck Screws

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Copyright 1999-2005

Written September 3, 1999
Revised January 3, 2005