How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer | Shelly Rhoades’s Guide

A kitchen cannot be a kitchen without a sink strainer. It is an immensely important thing for household use. Though we find them in showers and bathtubs as well, today we will talk about their importance in the kitchen and show you how to replace them if they are severely damaged.

The sink strainer is essential for drainage. Without it, you can face plumbing issues that deal with solid items and mess the floor with water. Furthermore, the velocity of the water becomes quite rough and fast too. They damage the pipelines in the long run.

If there isn't any strainer, the solid mess can clog the devices as well that are installed in the main lines. You have to burn the holes in your pockets to fix them if you won't deal with the issue and install them immediately. For that reason, manufacturers often install them in the sink so that it can only allow the water to flow, but not the larger items.

Kitchen strainer sits in an alignment with the opening of the kitchen sink. It holds the larger item or mess in its basket shape for later clean out.

It protects you and doesn't let the water and small objects cause any damage.

Therefore, it is an immensely important component in the kitchen.

Now, before we reveal how to replace a kitchen sink strainer, first you need to know they come in different styles. Understanding the shape or style of your sink strainer is necessary.

  • Drain Strainer... It is the basic kind of strainer. The key purpose of it is to drain the sink of water. It is also the simplest form of the strainer which you can easily remove and replace in the sink.
  • Stopper Strainer... It also almost works like a drain strainer. The only difference is you can turn it on and off too. When it is on, it stops the water drainage. However, when it is off, the water flows normally while it prevents the passage of larger objects into the plumbing system.
  • Double-Cup Strainer... Now, this model isn't simple like the other two models, but it is also quite common. In a double cup strainer, the second cup secures the strainer. It assists in filling and draining the sink with water.

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When Do You Need to Replace It?

You need to replace the kitchen sink strainer if there is a puddle of water in the cabinet under your sink. It happens because of the leakage.

Usually, the reason is the basket of the strainer doesn't work well.

Its placement gets disturbed by the flow of water. Furthermore, the old plumbing fittings can cause the leakage troubles too. 

You need to be sure that the actual problem is in the strainer, not in the plumbing fitting.

It can be done in different ways. For example, first, check the joints of the pipes from under the sink. Sometimes, the fittings are loose which cause this problem. In case the joints are fixed and there isn't any leaking through them, it means you need to replace the strainer. 

However, bear in mind, if there is an issue in the pipelines fittings, it can be because of the damage of the strainer too. It is perhaps passing large objects and rough flow of water which is causing the fittings to loosen up.

It is also better to get some tools and materials, such as plumber's putty, channel-type pliers, and of course the new sink strainer. Make sure it is the exact model which is already installed in the sink. It can be a double cup, stopper, or a simple drainer.

Step #1 - Remove the Strainer

Removing process is straightforward.

You don't need to know extraordinary skill for it. Remove the pipes first which are connected to the strainer under the sink. However, keep in mind, you can't do that with your bare hands.

You need channel-type pliers to loosen its nut grip. The nut is often on the drain fitting, right under the sink. Once the pipe and the fitting are removed, remove the strainer.

But, you again need pliers for it.

Since, the nut is on the tailpiece, which is quite visible once you remove the pipe fitting. It can be corroded because of its old age and constant leakage of water. If it is tough to remove it through the pliers, you can apply some penetrating oil.

The penetrating oil helps in loosening its grip. After removing the nut, you can easily pick the strainer up from the top.

Step #2 - Cleaning and Preparing

It is time to clean the sink and strainer and prepare it for the replacement.

Before you install the new model in it, clean the sink first. There can be plumber's putty inside the sink. It is pertinent to remove it as if you will install the new model on top of it, it would disturb its placement and cause the leakage again.

You can use a putty knife or abrasive pad to remove it.

Once it is removed, it is better to use the dishwashing liquid to clean the entire sink. Ensure that the old plumber's putty isn't anywhere near the opening of the sink.

Now, separate the parts of the new strainer, clean them with a cloth, and loose the screws too which are usually on the retainer.

Step #3 - Replace the New Strainer

You need to apply the plumber's putty first though.

You should knead it with your hands too to soften it. But, remember, it should be well around the strainer opening in the sink.

Next, install the new sink strainer.

You need to place the flexible washers and metal washers first.

In simple words, it will be a complete reverse process. Once the body is secured, tighten the screws from the bottom of the sink, on the tailpiece.

Don't apply too much pressure too, as it can squeeze and damage the rubber washers.

Concluding Thoughts

That's how you replace a kitchen sink strainer.

It is easy to do and doesn't require too many steps. After securing the new strainer in its place, just re-install the drain pipes and check for the leaks.

The key to notice the leakage is to fill the sink first and don't let it drain the water. You need to release the water with sudden pressure.

This technique makes the leaks obvious immediately. Otherwise, when it comes to kitchen sink strains, it is quite tough to notice the leakage as the water leaks quite slowly.

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