August 18, 2014

Installing an Ikea Domsjo Sink in a 36" Sink Base Cabinet

Early in my cabin kitchen reno planning, I decided that I desperately needed a farmhouse sink in this cabin. A farmhouse sink is not only a stunning focal point, but it manages to say "vintage" and "modern" in the same breath.  What they don't say, I learned, is "affordable." 

After a pretty exhaustive search, I decided that the Ikea Domsjo sink was the only way to go.  At $299 it was half the cost of the next least expensive sink I found, but more than that- it was beautiful.  I love how big it is, and the soap dish style lines across the top.  Paired with the Glittran faucet in rubbed bronze finish, it's the brand new piece that looks like it's always been there.  

This choice did require a bit more ingenuity however, as I had to retro fit my existing 36" sink base to fit it.  While I found tons of articles on the web telling me that this sink can be installed in most 36" sink base cabinets, and this helpful video, I didn't find a lot of step-by-step articles on how to install it.  So here is my attempt to fill the internet void and and provide those of you that want to bring this gorgeous sink to a reno near you, some instructions on how to do so.

Step 1-Install the faucet.  

I always like to install the faucet way before the sink goes into position.  This gives you much more room to maneuver, and avoids cramming your body into tiny spaces and trying to turn a wrench while holding a flashlight with your teeth.  Don't say I didn't warn you. 

  

Step 2- Get the old stuff out of there.   

Do your last load of dishes and prepare to wash in the bathtub, because you'll have to go sink-less for awhile.  The inside width of your base cabinet needs to be a minimum of 34".

Step 3- Trace a template of the back of your sink.

I tipped our sink onto it's back, and used the cardboard packaging it came in to trace the very unique shape of the back of the sink.  I then cut it out, giving myself 1/4" outside my lines to make sure everything fit.
 

Step 4- Attach your template to the back of your sink base cabinet and trace.

The edge of your sink (as shown in the skinny edges to the right and left of my template) will sit on top of your countertop.   So it's important here to know the exact height of your countertop, and figure this into your calculations.  In my case, I contacted my installer and confirmed that the final height of my countertops above the base cabinets would be 1 5/8".  So I lined up my template so that the bottom edge of the sink lip was 1 5/8' above the sink base cabinet.


Step 5- Cut out the back of the cabinet.

The back of the cabinet is usually made of a thin plywood or masonite, so I found it pretty easy to follow my template and cut out the back with a Dremel Multimax.  


If you don't mind what the wall looks like inside the cabinet, you can just cut a big rectangle and save yourself the trouble.  I felt like it wasn't much work to do it the more exact way.

Step 6- Measure for where you'll need to cut out the front of your sink base cabinet.

In order for the Domsjo sink to fit, the front of your sink base cabinet must be cut down 7 1/4" from the top of your counter top.  As you remember, my counter tops are 1 5/8" thick.  As you can see in the photo below, I started my measuring tape 1 5/8" above the top of my cabinet to account for the counter top, and made a mark 7 1/4" down.  I did this on both sides.


Step 7- Remove any screws or staples in the way of your cut.

Often sink base cabinets have a series of staples or pocket screws that are holding the face frames together, or the fake drawer front on.  Make sure you take out any that may be in the way of your cut, before you cut.


Step 8- Cut the front of your sink cabinet base.

You'll want to cut flush with the inside of your cabinet base for the maximum width in which to fit your sink, (which must be a minimum of 34".) We could have used a jig saw or Dremel tool here, but we found using a hand saw and some elbow grease (you know, just like the Amish) allowed us the best control and ability to stay flush with the inside of the cabinet base.  We cut down from the top to our 7 1/4" (from the top of the counter) mark, and then over to remove that notch on both sides.



This photo might help explain it a little better.




Or perhaps this one.  The space at the top will accommodate the apron to the sink.  The space at the bottom was left over from the false drawer front of this cabinet. We'll deal with that space in a bit.


Step 9- Test your fit. 

You don't want to wait until your counter top installers get there to realize you cut your cabinet wrong, so it's important to test the fit.  Make sure to accommodate for the height of the counters when you test though.  We did so by cutting a couple of 2x4s (1 1/2" height) and laying them on the edges of the sink base cabinet to simulate the height of the new counter.  It's not exact, as the counter will be 1/8" higher, but it was close enough.


It fits!  And I'm in love already.




Step 10- Cut your counters to accommodate the apron.

You'll need to cut your counters on either side of the sink for it to fit.  If you are using butcher block or laminate you can likely do this on your own.  Since we were having quartz installed, we told the installer about it in advance and they agreed to make these cuts during the install.

 
Ikea's instructions give you the exact specs of your cut.  They also show you to put a line of caulk on the inside edge of the counter before install.
The dust was flying outside while making these cuts. 
 

Step 11- Trim under your sink. 

 When retro fitting this sink for a standard cabinet, you may find that there is a gap below the sink where the false drawer used to be. 


We just saved the false drawer and cut it down and used it as a trim piece.  You literally don't notice it unless you're laying on the floor.  And even then I'd have to tell you it's there.


And with that my friends, you finally have an installed Domsjo sink.  And it is beautiful.


Definitely an upgrade from where we started- no?


23 comments:

  1. Did cutting out the cleat at the top of the cabinet back affect the stability of the cabinet since it is no longer attached to the wall?

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    1. We didn't find that to be the case. These cabinets were custom made though, so this base cabinet is a part of the ones immediately to it's left and right, which are still attached to the wall. If yours is a stand alone, you could easily add another cleat below your sink. Although to be honest, with the weight of this sink and counter, it's not going anywhere.

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  2. A 34" interior is for sure? 36" minus 1.5" = 34.5" I just want to make sure.

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    1. Yes- that's right off the Ikea install instructions. Minimum cabinet width is 34".

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  3. Hi, Looks great! We just did this today, but unfortunately we've hit a snag. There is a gap between the cabinet face and the finishes sides of the sink. We measured the depth of our cabinets and they are 24" The depth of the sink is 27 1/8" Even with the sink up against the drywall there is still a gap. Are your base cabinets deeper than 24"?

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    1. No, our base cabinets are 24". Not sure why there is a difference. Maybe you could cut out the drywall just behind the sink back so it can push back flush against the studs?

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  4. Looking forward to my sink from ikea even if sadly it is taking over a month to arrive! Definitely time worth waiting for such a great price but I would advice to order way ahead because this company can't guarantee a delivery date!

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  5. Just an FYI- the updated version of the Domsjo no longer requires notching the back of the cabinet. There is nothing underneath the grooved strainer portion, so it just rests on top of your counter top. Made the retrofitting slightly easier, although it still about 8 hours to install!

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  6. Can someone help me? I need the DOMSJO sink depth measurement *underneath the sink* from the front edge to the start of the back shelf. Basically, I need to know if I can install in a 21" depth cabinet, since the flat back part only extends over the countertop now, not notched into it. thanks!

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  7. One question, how did you put the last line of tiles just above the counter? How did they fit behind the the sink?
    Best regards

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I wondered too! Here is his blog on installing counters that shows how he did it. I wondered too. Here is his countertop install blog that sows better. http://oneprojectatatime.blogspot.com/2014/08/new-cabin-counter-tops.html?m=1 I think I will do backsplash tile before sink. Gotta dbl check with hubby though. I will prob install backsplash first. (Gotta check with hubby!)

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  8. One question, how did you put the last line of tiles just above the counter? How did they fit behind the the sink?
    Best regards

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  9. One question, how did you put the last line of tiles just above the counter? How did they fit behind the the sink?
    Best regards

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  10. Do you happen to know the dimensions of each basin. It's the only thing holding me back from just doing it rather than saving for a single basin. :)

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  11. Do you know why the sink requires a counter top with a 1.5" thickness? I want to use the Formica 180fx and it is only 1.25" thick. Will the countertop and sink still work together?

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  12. Do you know why the sink requires a counter top with a 1.5" thickness? I want to use the Formica 180fx and it is only 1.25" thick. Will the countertop and sink still work together?

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    1. Sink will work on any thickness of counter top. Just got to make sure everything under the sink will work with that thickness. We just installed one on .75" thick countertop.

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  13. So on Ikea's website, this sink is listed as 32 and 5/8th inch wide, why do I need 34 inches? Have they changed the size of sink. Are the measurements they give the inside dimensions of the bowl? I need to know these things before I spend 350 on a sink. Thanks

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    1. It is 36" wide. 32.625" is the bowl width. Sit on top of the counter on each side by 1.625"

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  14. Hi, where did you get your faucet from?

    Thank you!!

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    1. If I'm not mistaken, that's an IKEA faucet - the GLITTRAN?

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