New baskets installed in a kitchen sink.  Kitchen Sink Repair Or Remodel:

Installing Stainless Steel
Sink Baskets

In This Article:

Remove the locking ring and gaskets from the basket, apply silicone caulk to sink, set basket in place, install gasket and locking ring

Related Articles:

Skill Level: 3 (Moderate)

Time Taken: 30 Minutes

By , Editor

The stainless steel basin had a pair of big holes in the bottom, suitable for attaching strainer baskets or a garbage disposal.


The basic strainer basket, about $10 at Home Depot or other fine suburban big-box retail stores.


Upside down: The basket comes with a black rubber gasket that seals underneath the basin, a thick paper washer, and a die-cast metal lock nut to clamp the basket onto the basin. There is also a smaller lock nut that connects the sink tail-piece (the first part of the drain system) to the basket.


I applied a bead of clear silicone to the rim of the opening. I also applied a small bead of silicone to the underside of the edge of the basket.


Holding the basket by the center, I set it in the hole and gave it a slight turn to spread the silicone slightly.


Down Under: I applied a thin layer of pipe thread compound (a.k.a. pipe dope) to the larger diameter threads.

Few plumbers use thread compound here, but I believe in lubricating threads whenever possible. There have been so many times that I needed to remove a basin lock nut, but was unable to because of the slight corrosion that inevitably forms there. Thread compound should prevent this problem.


The metal lock nut, the rubber gasket and the paper washer were installed, turning by hand most of the way. The only practical way to tighten these huge lock nuts is to use a pair of 18" jumbo Channel-Lock pliers. To hold the basket from turning I use a pair of screwdrivers placed  in an X-formation in the little holes.

These pliers are worth their weight in gold. Every handyman/person needs a pair. They are definitely worth the $20.

There is also a "basket wrench" available, which has long prongs that grab the basket through the drain holes. Considering how many times I have installed these baskets lately, I should buy this tool. But I haven't. I've always gotten by with two screwdrivers in an "X" formation, or I've used a pair or needle-nose pliers. Of course, I've also bent a few pairs of pliers trying to remove locknuts this way. (Tightening is not such a problem) I no longer try to remove lock nuts, I just break them and replace them. The other day I had to replace a pair of baskets for a client, and I just grabbed the metal tab with pliers and twisted, and the die-cast zinc nut just snapped like nothing. Hmmm.

The installed basket. The lock nut must not be over-tightened, or the rubber gasket can be squeezed out of place, which could cause a leak.


I believe in using silicone for a sealant under between the basin and the basket, because after it cures the silicone will act as an adhesive, something that plumber's putty cannot do.

The excess silicone should be carefully wiped off after assembly.


But Wait... There's More:

The next step involves connecting the sink drain tail-piece to the basket, using the metal nut and plastic washer provided with the basket.


Next: Sink Drain Piping Installed.


Tools Used:

  • 18-inch Channel-Lock Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Needle-nose Pliers

Materials Used:

  • Sink Basket
  • PVC Sink Tailpiece
  • Clear Silicone
  • Pipe Thread Compound
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Copyright © 2000, 2005

Written November 10, 2000
Revised January 5, 2005