In this blogpost, I share with you, step by step, how I learnt how to cut a hole in my laminate kitchen worktop for a utility kitchen sink.
Once you cut a hole in a kitchen worktop, there’s no going back. That’s the only thing that’s intimidating about this job, really. Why? Because if you mess it up, you’ll probably need to buy a new one which they’re not that cheap. Ok, the ones I found were about half price in Selco compared to most, and more importantly, they’re extremely heavy and require two people to lift.
But, as with everything, as long as you take your time to plan where you want and why, then you should be alright. If you’re unsure of where to install it, I’ll also offer some tips as I go in this post, but you must do your own research. I’m certainly not a pro, but did asked my carpenter Dad for pointers.
HOW TO CUT A HOLE FOR YOUR SINK
The sink I picked was this Astracast one from Wickes. Note that absolutely nothing about this project is sponsored. And above, I’m working out where to place my sink. A lot of it is personal preference. For example, we wanted it symmetrical to the window with the bowl on the left, so I’m temporarily making some pencil marks for a reference point.
The other thing I needed to work out what gaps should I leave myself at the front and the back of the sink. So I measured the depth of the worktop which was 600mm, then took away the depth of the sink, leaving me with 100mm to play with.
I chose to position mine with 50mm gap at the back and 50mm gap at the front. Note, some leave themselves a slightly bigger gap at the back to allow for tiling. I didn’t get hung up on this because I knew about 7mm would only be needed later for tiles and adhesive and I’m not going to be picky over that.
TIPS BEFORE CUTTING YOUR WORKTOP
Before you even start masking tape your worktop, it’s imperative to work out where the bowl will sit. For example, you don’t want to cut hole that clashes with a kitchen base unit wall. Otherwise it won’t be pretty, you’d have to cut a large chunk of the unit wall, making it less structurally sound and then you need room for your plumbing.
I also didn’t want to fit the sink in my corner unit as the plumbing would get in the way and not allow me to get full use out of the cupboard. And, I needed to ensure it wasn’t too far away from an outside wall for my waste pipe to run. Thankfully we already had an old hole for waste leading to a drain. If you don’t have one, fear not, you can buy a core drill bit to bore a hole through brickwork.
The other absolute essential thing to do is masking tape the area you want to cut to prevent chipping the worktop when you come to cut it.
MARKING WHERE YOU WANT YOUR SINK
So after measuring and marking my centre point on my window and matching it with the centre of my sink, it was time to evenly position it to leave me with the same gap and the front and back.
The easiest way I found to mark my 50mm gap at the front was to use this combination square. The way it works is, adjust the triangularish piece to stop at 50mm in my case, then twist to tighten to fix in place.
Then hold against the straight handle section against your straight edge (the edge of the worktop) and mark where it ends. If you scroll down, you’ll see a pic about what I mean. And make a few measure dots or marks along the front.
Then line up your sink with those marks, making sure it is still central (or in the exact position you want) and draw around it with a sharp pencil.
Make sure you don’t move the sink as you go. If you’re nervous, why not have someone hold it in place while you draw? I find it generally helps on most jobs to have a spare pair of eyes looking at the jobs in case they spot something you don’t.
ONCE YOU’VE GOT YOUR SINK OUTLINE
Now it may seem obvious to most, but do NOT cut this pencil line, otherwise your sink will fall straight through. I then needed to create another measurement inside my rectangular drawing that once cut, would act as a lip for my sink to rest on.
WHAT SIZE LIP DO I NEED FOR MY SINK?
The size of the lip you need to make will depend on your manufacturer’s instructions. What I was hesitant was, yes, my instructions said 10mm, yet on Astracast’s twitter page, they recommended 12mm.
Also, my Dad said he normally cuts to 15mm, but insisted on following 10mm will be fine and it’s better to go for smaller than bigger, which I believe is just in case of expansion.
So, because I needed to make another measurement of 10mm inside, this meant changing the combination square to 60mm as opposed to 50mm. I repeated my measurement and marking method (as above), penciling some dots as reference and drew a straight line by holding my spirit level against them.
As for the rounded corners, I just artistically drew them in for now. It may also help to scribble the outer pencil marking to avoid cutting the wrong line.
GETTING ACCURATE CORNERS
To cut perfect curved corners, I used a great little trick I found in a couple of YouTube videos using a flat wood drill bit. This should work for any size bit, but here I’m using a 20mm one.
Hold the flat wood drill bit flat to the bottom left of the corner while pointing upwards to the opposite corner and raise with your hand and twist where the sharp pointy bit lies to create a mark.
Now repeat on the left side where the pointy bit is aiming to the far right corner and again, raise and twist to make another mark.
Then, using a combi drill and about a 3mm drill bit, I drilled a hole straight through, in between those two marks.
Now I had a small hole for the pointy part of my flat wood drill bit to go straight through and drilled straight through to create a hole.
This then created my perfect curved corner. Tip: Don’t press down too much when drilling your hole to prevent banging the worktop harshly once it’s finally gone straight through.
Then to cut the hole for my sink, I moved it away from my kitchen units and rested it on my sawhorses. My Dad showed me how to make mine, but you could buy a couple off Amazon although at one stage, I could have done with three, but asked my fiance to stabilise it with his hands.
I then used my Black + Decker jigsaw and a downward facing blade. Note my Dad said the downward facing blade isn’t essential if you’re using masking tape, but I had them lying around from a previous job.
TIPS FOR CUTTING THE INTERNAL MEASUREMENT LINE
- When cutting along your pencil line, don’t cut dead on the pencil line, otherwise you could lose an extra mm or two. I much prefer cutting next to it as close to possible on the inside, furthest away from the very first pencil mark you made.
- Also, when using a jigsaw, take your time and hold it down firmly to prevent it jumping around. If it jumps, you could end up cutting more off than you want to. The blade can bend and do what is called undercutting.
- And finally, the closer you get to finishing cutting your hole, get someone to stabilise it with your hands so it doesn’t drop on its own and take off some of the laminate with it.
I then tested (and cheered) when I sat my sink in the hole and it was a perfect fit.
But now to carefully move the worktop, then sink back to the kitchen units to see if I needed to cut any of the base getting in the way.
I rested the sink bowl carefully on top of the hole, lining it up as best as I could and roughly drew around the bowl, marking on the top frame. You can see properly below where I’d made my pencil marks and then removed both the sink and worktop again to cut the curve with my jigsaw.
What I forgot to take photos of is that I had to repeat this for the back, but the back frame/bar snapped. This didn’t bother me as I noticed my main kitchen didn’t have it, so I removed mine too and placed the sink within the hole.
Then the final stage for now was to remove the masking tape and seal the cut worktop with a waterproof glue or silicone and leave to dry. This is important to prevent water damage if I ever had a plumbing leak or it gets damp.
As for fastening the sink to the worktop, I’ll be sharing that with you over the coming weeks instead, so feel free to subscribe to my free mailing list at the top of this page.
The reason I haven’t done it yet is so I can remove the sink and fit the tap while resting on my sawhorses for easy access.
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HERE’S MY VIDEO FOR A HELPING HAND!
Disclosure: This is for guide purposes only to offer insight from a novice’s perspective and when stuck, I turn to my pro Dad for tips. You must do your own research. Also, this guide is not sponsored or associated with any brand, but does contain some affiliate links.