Why the Kitchen Sink Leaks Around the Edges

Caulking a Sink
Causes & Solutions for Sink Leaks You Can Handle at Home

So, you just moved into a place and recently started to notice that when you turn the kitchen sink on, water suddenly spills onto the counter. You quickly begin to find the correlation between this leak, recognizing the signs of a plumbing problem, but what is the best thing to do? If you try and fill the gap between the sink and countertop, will that be enough? Is it possible to seal the edge of the kitchen sink?

Some of the typical causes of sink leaks include:

  • Faucet leaks (often from worn gaskets or failed washers)
  • Water line corrosion or failing gasket
  • P trap corrosion, loose connection, or blockage
  • Dried putty along the drain
  • Deteriorating caulk sealant

As a major investment in any home, you want to protect those countertops. Not to mention, no one wants to pay for water use that’s just needlessly leaking. And if you’re finding a leak, there’s a good chance that mold has an environment to grow in as well.

Taking preventative measures in advance can help you avoid replacing the entire sink in the future. One of the first steps is to check on the state of the current caulk sealant. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to re-caulk a sink and ensures that it’s properly sealed moving forward. The caulk around a sink breaks down with time, creating cracks in the seal. Even though you’re seeing water on the counter, there will also be unseen water between the sink and counter, potentially leaking into the cabinets beneath the sink.

Should You Caulk the Kitchen Sink?

Silicone caulk is an option you can try for a seal that repels water and can be a DIY project. While latex caulk is also available, it’s not as reliable as silicone for mold resistance and waterproofing. Always use fresh caulk to ensure the best application and avoid redoing your work too soon.

There are color choices with caulk so you can match your preferred aesthetic, although white or clear tends to be the most common solution.

If you have a caulking gun, it will help make the project faster and easier, but it is not necessary to still accomplish good results. Just be sure to purchase a caulk that has a self-squeeze option. Remember that silicone caulk and silicone sealant are two separate products, and though they’re used interchangeably quite often, in this case, caulk is the best choice.

You’ll need to clear away any existing caulk, clean and prep the area, and correctly apply the new caulk. Then, ta-da! A flexible, elastic covering that you can rely on.

How to replace silicone caulk on a sink:

  1. Use a sharp knife or razor to carefully cut away the old caulk in its entirety, following the natural line of the sink.
  2. Grab a clean cloth, denatured alcohol, and wipe away caulk and dust. Don’t leave anything behind for the fresh caulk to adhere to and let the alcohol dry before beginning to caulk.
  3. Line the sink and counter with painter’s tape where you want to put the caulk, covering the edge of the sink and the edge of the counter to create straight lines around the entire sink.
  4. Apply a consistent bead (or line) of caulk along the edge, overlapping the application if you break the bead. You don’t want to lift the tube and start at the same place, as this no longer provides the full seal necessary.
  5. Run your finger along the bead of caulk to smooth the surface and create an even distribution. Rubber gloves will make this messy portion of the process a bit easier on you.
  6. Peel the painter’s tape away from the sink before the caulk dries to avoid pulling the caulk off later.

The directions on the new caulk you use will let you know how it takes to cure. Typically, the seal will dry to the touch within an hour. But it can take up to 24 hours to fully cure, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable applying caulk yourself, or want a second opinion to ensure that you’re making the best repairs for your home, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Torrance is here for you. Available 24/7 in case of emergencies, we will keep your kitchen, bathroom, and any other sinks in good working order.