Plumbing Repairs 101: What To Do When You Break Your Sink While Unclogging The Drain

If you choose to DIY your own plumbing repairs, you run the risk of possibly breaking something. Most of the time you probably will not have a problem, especially if you are just clearing a drain or swapping PVC plumbing pipe out for stainless steel. However, accidents can and do happen, and if you should break your bathroom or kitchen sink while attempting to unclog the drain, here is what you can do to fix it.

Assessing the Damage

When you "break the sink," the first thing you need to look at is how bad the damage really is. This could be anything from popping the sink drain up and away from the hole in the sink tub to actually busting a porcelain sink tub in pieces. Since there are equally as many different ways to fix broken sinks as there are ways to break them, assessing the damage is a good place to start. 

Simple Sink Repairs

Some simple sink breaks are also simple sink repairs. For example, you pulled the sink auger so hard out of the drain that it pulled the drain loose and away from the drain hole. As long as the plumbing is intact, the only thing you really need is a tube of plumber's waterproof caulk. Put the loose drain and plumbing back down the drain hole in the sink tub and use the plumber's caulk all the way around the edge of the drain. Press, seal, and let it set.

If you chip or crack your sink tub or basin, you can use a waterproof porcelain sealant to keep water out of the chipped area and prevent leaks through the cracks. If you can reach under the sink to the underside of the basin or sink tub, apply a coat of sealant to that side as well. Let it dry and set before you use the sink again.

Complex Sink Repairs

Usually, a complex sink repair involves a porcelain sink that has been partially or completely shattered. Considering the fact that it only takes a carelessly tossed or accidentally dropped plumber's wrench to create this kind of damage, it is actually a pretty common repair problem. Unfortunately for you, it means that you will have to remove the whole tub or basin and replace it with a new one. You will have to turn the water off below the sink, detach the faucets and spigot, use an exacto or utility knife to remove the plumber's caulk that holds the sink/basin in place, and then remove the damaged basin/tub. (To install your new sink basin or tub, just reverse these steps.)