sink strainer

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer (in Just 8 Simple Steps!)

Have you ever experienced a kitchen sink strainer that wouldn’t hold water? Then, you might try replacing the strainer basket first. Just take the old one to a hardware store or home center to find a similar replacement. It shouldn’t cost much. However, if the new strainer leaks, you’ll need to replace the entire kitchen sink strainer assembly. This will cost a little more, but it’s still inexpensive overall.

We’ll show you how in just 8 steps. Let’s get started.

What is a Kitchen Sink Strainer?

A sink strainer is a piece of perforated metal that fits into the top of a sink drain and keeps larger pieces of food and debris from going down your drain. Think of it as a filter for your kitchen sink.

The strainer is often made of stainless steel to better resist corrosion. But it can come in different materials, like brass as shown below. In most residential homes, it is sized to fit a standard 3.5″ drain hole. Additionally, if your drain connects to a garbage disposal, the sink strainer will have a basket to catch debris.

different types of strainers - how to replace kitchen sink strainer
Regardless of the kitchen sink strainer type that you have, they all do the same thing: they keep larger food particles and other debris from entering and clogging your drain (or damaging your disposal).

The Tools & Materials You’ll Need

Like any project, preparing your plumbing tools and materials in advance will save lots of time and frustration.

For me personally, the most annoying part of a job is trying to make a repair without the right tools handy. I’m sure you get me. 🙂 Here’s what you need:

plumbing emergency - 12-inch Channel Lock
This is a pair of Channellock pliers (a brand name), generically called tongue and groove pliers. You’ll need this to loosen and remove the locknut in Step 3 below.

8 Steps: How to Replace Kitchen Sink Strainer

how to replace kitchen sink strainer - parts of assembly
This illustration indicates the main parts of the kitchen sink strainer assembly and drainpipes that you’ll be working on.
  1. Using your tongue and groove pliers, loosen the two slip nuts from the tailpiece by turning them clockwise.
  2. Slide the tailpiece down the trap. If it’s in the way, remove the tailpiece. In either case, save the slip nuts and their washers.
  3. Using the pliers, remove the locknut by turning it counterclockwise. However, if it refuses to turn, tap gently on the pliers handle with a hammer.
  4. Remove the friction ring and rubber basket from beneath, then push the strainer up through the sink. Using a putty knife, clean the old putty or other sealant from the rim of the sink hole.
  5. Take the old sink strainer parts to your hardware store to buy a replacement set that will fit correctly. Ask a salesperson for help if you need it. Once you have the new assembly, you can finish this project.
  6. Coat the flange of the new strainer with plumber’s putty and insert the strainer into the sink.
  7. From below, place the rubber gasket and friction ring over the new strainer. Then thread (screw back on in clockwise direction) and tighten the new locknut that came in the new assembly package.
  8. Place the top slip-nut washer over the tailpiece, slide the tailpiece up to the strainer, and tighten the top slip nut. Lastly, just tighten the bottom slip nut and washer onto the trap.
If you’d rather watch how to replace a kitchen sink strainer, this video will on how to use plumber’s putty focuses on a strainer replacement in the sink of a laundry room.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to replace the kitchen sink strainer isn’t intuitive for everyone. But it’s also not difficult, which makes it a great DIY project at home. We encourage you to give it a try.

The steps above, along with the video, should give you everything you need to replace that old, wonky sink strainer with a brand new one.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help replacing a kitchen sink strainer and basket.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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