How to Install a Kitchen Sink in a Butcher Block Countertop
Wood butcher block counters are beautiful and somewhat expensive for a kitchen. The wood adds an immediate organic quality to the room and it can be exactly the right touch for a vintage, country or cottage style kitchen. The primary concern when mounting a sink to a butcher block counter centers on exposing the wood to water. A well-made counter will have a thick finish to protect the wood but cutting the counter will expose the cut wood. This needs to be protected before a sink can be installed successfully.
Fit your countertop to the walls and cabinets, making all of your trim cuts so that the counter is snug to the wall. Locate the center of the sink cabinet, and draw a pencil mark across the depth of the counter. Lay under the counter, inside the sink cabinet, and measure the distance from the front counter edge to the inside back of the cabinet face. Measure from the inside cabinet face to the inside cabinet back wall.
Transfer these marks to the top side of the butcher block. The sink, sink rim and faucet holes must fit between these marks. Use the sink cut template to determine the best location for the sink and faucet holes. Trace the cut template onto the wood, making sure the template is straight and centered.
Remove the butcher block to the work area and position the sink area between saw horses. Install a fresh general cutting blade in a circular saw. Plunge cut the straight lines on each side of the sink pattern with the circular saw. Finish cutting around the corners with a fresh blade in a jig saw. If you are installing an undermount sink, drill the sink holes using a drill and large bits to fit your faucet needs.
Sand the inside edges of the sink opening with an orbital sander, and medium 60-grit to fine 150-grit sandpaper. Round the top edge with a router and sand smooth. Wipe the edges clean. Turn the counter top upside down. Make a kerf cut 1/4-inch away from the cut edge of the wood around the entire perimeter of the sink. A kerf cut is a shallow channel cut in the wood. Use a router or table saw to make the cut. This cut helps to prevent water from migrating to the joint where the sink is attached.
Coat the exposed wood edges with poly gel or a silicone acrylic clear caulk using a 1-inch putty knife. Apply a thick coat. Coat 1-inch beyond each cut edge on the top side of the counter top. Coat the entire side/thickness cut area thoroughly. Coat the underside of the counter top 3-inches from any cut edge. Apply a silicone acrylic clear caulk around top side of the sink lip if you are installing an undermount sink. Apply a silicone acrylic clear caulk under the sink lip for drop-in type sinks. Mount the undermount to the underside of the sink opening. Screw mounting clips every 8 to 12-inches around the perimeter of the sink using a screwdriver. Apply a fresh bead of caulk under the countertop edge where the sink meets the wood from the top sink side. This will provide an additional seal.
Apply a fresh bead of caulk around where the sink meets the wood for drop-in type sinks. Wipe off the excess caulk. Some drop-in sinks may have additional mounting requirements. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for additional fasteners provided with the sink.
- Maintain your countertop as suggested by the manufacturer. Typically this includes frequent oil applications with a mineral oil and sometimes additional finishes are required around the sink wood to prevent damage.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images