Replacing a kitchen sink that's molded into a quartz counter

nabqSeptember 14, 2013

Hello Brilliant and Helpful GardenWebbers,

My parents bought a house with solid surface "quartz" kitchen countertops. The brand name of the material is Avonite -- it's like Zodiac. The sink's just not working for them, and they'd really like to replace it with a large single-basin stainless steel sink. The problem is the sink is molded into the counter.

We had a contractor out who said the countertop material isn't hard to cut, but that it would be difficult to cut anywhere past the back edge of the sink because of the way the backsplash and a ledge are configured, and impossible to cut anywhere past the front edge of the existing sink because of where the cabinetry is. This means finding a standard sink to fit in the space would be very difficult. He suggested having a custom stainless sink made exactly to the shape and size of the existing sink, but with one basin. This will be expensive -- we were quoted $975 -- but they could get exactly the sink they want, the drain where they want it, a flange long enough to accommodate the main faucet, an R/O faucet and the DW valve, etc. He says if we do this, he can cut just at the rim of the sink (right where the color changes in the picture), drop it out, and pop in the new sink.

The things that worries me though, is that sink and the area just around it are much less thick than the main countertop. I'm afraid that even with a 2" lip, it won't be stable enough to support the sink (especially if it has lots of heavy, water-filled pots in it). The contractor says he never thought of that and just hasn't had enough experience doing this sort of thing to know. I also worry that the rounded edge where the sink will be cut off will make the new sink less stable, too (although I suppose he could shave a little bit off all around to fix that). Do any of you know if this plan can work, or do you have any suggestions as to how to do things another way? I'd hate to have an expensive custom stainless sink made and then have the whole thing crack and collapse.

Thanks for your help and for bearing with this long post,
Nabq

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beverlyfla

Avonite is not quartz. It is a solid surfacing material closer to Corian but not exactly fabricated the same way. I believe Avonite is thinner than other solid surface counter tops & is not self supporting. Like Corian, they offer a variety of molded sink styles that get fused to whatever Avonite counter color is selected.

You need to contact an Avonite fabricator in your area. They will either be able to supply an alternate style sink in Avonite or will be able to cut the old one out and replace it with something in stainless.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 10:07PM
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live_wire_oak

I'd replace the counter and the sink. Avonite isn't anything like quartz. It's like Corian, i.e. acrylic with a filler. It can scratch, and as you've discovered, the sinks are pretty horrid to deal with.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 10:54PM
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nabq

Thanks very much for the info on Avonite. I was going by what the realtor told us. I don't think my parents can afford to replace all the counters and they look pretty great. We'd just like to get a new sink. I emailed Avonite headquarters and will post when and if I hear back. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 1:12PM
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writersblock

How wide is the sink, and how wide is the sink base itself?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 1:34PM
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SmartDesignerGirl

Avonite is a solid surface.....only to be fabricated by people who are certified in the material. You should call Avonite.. and they can recommend you to a fabricator or possible the original fabricator. Any warranty will be voided if someone alters the countertop who isn't certified in Avonite. Unless the sink is damage or broken....I wouldn't recommend altering it at this time. Here's the thing about integral sinks...they are bonded to be permanent. Regardless of the countertop surface: Stainless steel sinks are clipped and silicone on....they don't bond with the surface like integral solid surface sinks do......which means you have a better sink installation now, than what you would if you had stainless steel. And its seamless, unlike stainless steel...which you'll have a reveal on...a place where dirt and grim can go. Please understand: I'm not bias against stainless steel sinks....in fact, I love them...However, this is just a little information you might want to consider. Worst case: get a top-mount sink....

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 2:40PM
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nabq

Reply to Writersblock's
"How wide is the sink, and how wide is the sink base itself?"

The sink dimensions are:
LENGTH at the widest point: 30 1/8"
WIDTH at the widest point: 19 3/8"

By sink base, do you mean the cabinet area for the sink? If so, it's 36"

Thanks.

To SmartDesignGirl - Thank you. You have great points. I've thought of these advantages of keeping the existing sink, too. It's just that the small basin of the sink is too small to wash anything in, but it has the disposal in it, and the large one is not that big either, at least not big enough to soak more than one very large pot in it, and my Mom cooks with several large pots and pans daily. I've thought of having a plumber just switch the disposal to the other side -- one problem solved because the crud from the soaking pots can be processed by the disposal--- but my Mom will still have to stagger the soaking. She cooks mostly Indian food, so soaking is a necessity.

Maybe we should give up and keep this sink, but I'll wait to hear from Avonite first. The countertops and sinks are over 20 yrs old, well out of warranty, so that's not a concern, but I don't want anyone who doesn't know the materials very well to mess them up.

This post was edited by nabq on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 20:42

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:33PM
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writersblock

If you don't get anywhere with avonite, one possibility would be something like the ikea double domsjo, a farmhouse style sink which sits on the countertop edges and would only need someone to do straight cuts to remove the old sink. I agree it would be best if Avonite has a solution, but if not, you could see if they'll still warrant the counters if one of their fabricators makes the cuts:

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 9:05PM
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writersblock

Of course you'd probably have to jigger the base cabinet. It might work out easily enough if you have a false drawer or tilt-outs, but if they have full height doors, this isn't going to work.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 9:06PM
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debrak2008

Just a thought. Did the real estate listing saying their were quartz counters? Did the agent actually say it was quartz? If yes, you may have a case for reimbursement.

When we bought our house the ad read "new roof". Most but not all the roof was new. We ended up getting money from the seller to put a "new roof" on a part that wasn't done.

Personally, I would be very mad that I was deceived.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Trebruchet

nabq:

I have performed many sink replacements as an Avonite warranty contractor. Yours is not unusual or particularly difficult.

Perhaps your parents would like a seamed sink in stainless steel? Yes, such a thing is possible: http://www.karranproducts.com/models.html?filter=list_all

The most difficult/expensive part of your job is getting the new sink to fit. Hopefully, you have some matching material. If not, we have some tricks.

It's about $900.00, plumbing included, plus the cost of the sink.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Trebruchet

nabq:

I have performed many sink replacements as an Avonite warranty contractor. Yours is not unusual or particularly difficult.

Perhaps your parents would like a seamed sink in stainless steel? Yes, such a thing is possible: http://www.karranproducts.com/models.html?filter=list_all

The most difficult/expensive part of your job is getting the new sink to fit. Hopefully, you have some matching material. If not, we have some tricks.

It's about $900.00, plumbing included, plus the cost of the sink. I am not soliciting for your business, just trying to be helpful.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Trebruchet

nabq:

I have performed many sink replacements as an Avonite warranty contractor. Yours is not unusual or particularly difficult.

Perhaps your parents would like a seamed sink in stainless steel? Yes, such a thing is possible: http://www.karranproducts.com/models.html?filter=list_all

The most difficult/expensive part of your job is getting the new sink to fit. Hopefully, you have some matching material. If not, we have some tricks.

It's about $900.00, plumbing included, plus the cost of the sink. I am not soliciting for your business, just trying to be helpful.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:12PM
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nabq

Trebruchet -- Thanks for the encouragement. So far, no word back from the Avonite Co., so don't quite know how to locate a licensed Avonite fabricator. All the contractors in NM listed on their site are just kitchen contractors with no particular Avonite experience.

The thing that worries me is that the sink itself and the counter just around it are very thin -- much thinner than the main countertops. I can get a custom stainless sink made here exactly to spec for $900, but I'm concerned the surrounding countertop will not support it. Given your experience, what do you think? If we just cut out the existing sink at the color line in the picture, drop it out and pop in a single-basin sink exactly the same shape and with about a 1.5" lip for top-mounting, will the thinner counter area near the sink support the weight even with cast iron pots in, etc?

Also, do you happen to live in New Mexico? If so, I'd like to contact your company.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Trebruchet

nabq:

Contact http://www.backtoperfection.com . I've subbed for these guys and they are great. They can probably get your problem resolved.

All Avonite is 1/2" thick. It just looks thicker at the edge because the 1/2" has been stacked. It is plenty strong enough to support a seamed undermount sink and if you go undermount I would recommend the use of a Hercules Universal Sink Harness available at Braxton Bragg.

I would love to do your job, but I'm new here and they seem to be pretty strict about advertising. I can't blame them because it's not fair to the folks who do pay to advertise. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:21PM
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