Wall-mounted sink is loose
What’s it like when you turn the water on to wash your hands and you notice the bathroom or kitchen sink is loose? It wobbles at the slightest pressure, moving back and forth on the wall. The caulking that once lined the back of the sink may be cracked and separated, and you may even see a gap now between the sink and the wall. A loose sink with water in it can make anyone nervous, especially one who is unsuspecting and attempts to lean or even sit on the edge of the loose sink. As with any heavy object attached to a wall, over time a sink can become loosened from its anchored state on a bathroom wall or under a kitchen cabinet for example. Many people may try to “band-aid” the problem by recaulking the edges of the sink backing to the wall. But the problem is, if the sink has any give or movement at all, it’s only going to break away any sealer that is placed there. The real solution is to go at the heart of the problem. This may mean a simple 2-minute project, or it may mean something that takes an hour or two. Depending on your particular loose sink problem, the following steps should be able to help you repair your wobbling sink once and for all.
Fix that loose sink (simple method, if you’re lucky!)
It’s possible you may be one of the lucky ones, and your problem lies in the simple action of tightening down some screws. You’ve probably already checked this, as it may seem obvious, especially if screws are visible as soon as you look under the sink. If they aren’t, look further and see if there are any screw heads going into the wall back and up, (just beneath the hot/cold handles or faucet lever. If you’ve tried to tighten these screws and your sink is still loose, or if you don’t see any screws to even tighten, then you’ll have to move on to the following instructions.
Fix a loose sink’s supporting bracket (not as easy, but not too difficult!)
The following explains how to get to your loose sink’s support bracket to fix your problem.
- Turn off the water under the sink: twist off the shut-off valves (hot and cold)
- Disconnect the hose going to the water valves: unscrew the compression nuts there and lift out the little hoses
- Undo the P-Trap: put a small bucket or pan under the “U” joint beneath the sink’s drain, then unscrew the slip nuts that hold the pipes together and lift out the pipes
- Cut any caulking between the loose sink and the wall: using a sharp blade, slice through any sealer joining the sink and the wall or cabinet
- Lift up the sink: now, you’ll lift up and slide the sink off the bracket holding it to the wall, then set aside
- Tighten loose sink bracket: you should now see screws holding the bracket to the wall. See if you can tighten these down. If so, that may do the trick. Of course, if the bracket is corroded or bent beyond repair in any way, you’ll need to replace it with one that’s just like it. Call a plumbing supply store or the manufacturer of the sink.
If your bracket is fine, BUT the screws holding it to the wall are not tightening down then do the following to permanently fix the loose sink. This entails cutting a small piece out of the wall (e.g. drywall), where the bracket goes so you can reinforce what the bracket is screwing into. This is the best and only way to remedy this.
- First, make a line on the wall with a pencil underneath the bracket and remove the bracket from the wall.
- Now, cut a piece out of the wall that is a few inches taller than the width of a 2×6 piece of wood (real wood dimensions say that this width is 5 1/2″). The length of the hole you cut should be able to span three studs inside the wall. Cut out carefully and as square as possible so that you easily replace the cut drywall when you’re done.
- With your cut-out complete, cut a 2×6 wood board to the length of stud #1 to stud #3. This will be at least 34″ or so. You’re then going to notch out the studs so that this board can fit “inside” the wall, resting inside the notches of the studs.
- After notching, use heavy screws to secure the 2×6 to the studs (again, inside the notches you made).
- Now, take your drywall cut-out and screw it back in place.
- Then position the sink bracket on the wall where it went before.
- Now use either the old screws (new ones preferred), making sure they are stainless steel and long enough, and tighten the sink bracket to the wall. You may want to drill short pilot holes as the screws will now be going through the 2×6 block you placed inside the wall.
- Replace the sink and reconnect the water supply and drain.
The above probably sounds complicated and time-consuming, but it’s not so bad when you consider your fixing your loose sink for good and not doing a work-around. If you’re not handy or don’t have even a hand-saw, utility knife, or drill you can easily hire someone and tell them what you’d like done.
Sink Legs to the Rescue
Another thought to solving the loosening sink issue is to find some sink legs to help support the weight of the sink. This will take pressure off the bracket on the wall. Amazon has a few. You should be able to find chrome sink legs as well as stainless, porcelain and vintage types. Over time, they may become the only thing that keeps your loose sink from falling off the wall!
When all else fails check out new sinks and console sinks with legs or pedestal sinks. Get a basic version, such as a tub sink for the laundry room, like this. For just a little bit of money, you can replace your loose sink with something that looks great, is modern…and stable!