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Select Smaller-Sized Tools Ideal for Women to Use Dear Pat: I am a recent widow. My husband promised the kids a deck, so I have to build it myself. I am petite, so his shovels, posthole digger, etc., are hard to handle. Are there smaller tools for women? — Karen W. Dear Karen: With the proper …Read more. Install Your own Interior Louvered Window Shutters Dear Pat: I would like to have more privacy at my windows and also block neighbors' floodlights at night. I would like to use louvered shutters and mini-blinds. How should I install them and on which windows? — Keri G. Dear Keri: Many …Read more. How to Install Plastic PEX Plumbing Dear Pat: I am converting my old garage into a room for more living area. It has copper plumbing now. I need to add a wet bar and am thinking of using PEX. Is this a good idea, and how do I install it? — Leslie A. Dear Leslie: Making a garage …Read more. Soundproof Your Existing or New Home Dear Pat: We hear a lot of road noise in our house and noise from room to room from the kids. What can we do to make it more soundproof? When we build a new house soon, what soundproofing features should we include? — Michelle A. Dear Michelle:…Read more.
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Install a New Contemporary Stainless Steel Sink

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Dear Pat: Our old enamel kitchen sink needs to be replaced. I am told that this is an easy do-it-yourself job. Is a stainless steel sink a good choice, and do you have any tips? — Julia M.

Dear Julia: I have installed some kitchen sinks in two hours, and others took two days. Any time you are dealing with old plumbing and working flat on your back, you never know what you have in store. Having said this, give it a try — you might be one of the lucky ones.

A stainless steel sink is the best choice for 95 percent of all kitchens. It is durable, lightweight and easy to handle. Its silvery color pleasantly accents nearly every kitchen decor. Once you get your old plumbing loose, the new sink will literally drop into place.

There is a significant difference in quality among the various stainless steel sinks available. The primary criterion for comparing quality is the thickness of the metal. The metal thickness ranges from about .028 inches to .050 inches. Spend the extra money for a thick one.

An inexpensive thin one will flex (oil can) and will get unsightly dents over time. Thin ones just sound cheap when you drop something in them. Spraying foam insulation on the underside after installation helps, but it will never have that quality sound of a thicker one.

As a brief background, stainless steel is made basically of iron with chromium and nickel added. These materials give the iron corrosion resistance and toughness. Certain alloys can be drawn easily into the deep shape of a sink.

You will have to crawl under your sink and measure the actual opening in the countertop. This is a great job for your kids. Be very accurate. The overall flange dimensions on the new stainless steel sink must be at least one-half inch larger than the opening to provide an acceptable overlap.

While you are under the sink, check to see what type of pipes you have — plastic, copper or galvanized steel.

This is important to know when you buy your new plumbing for the stainless steel sink. You will probably install a new faucet fixture too.

If you have a really old sink, you may not be able to find a new one to match the opening. In this case, purchase the next-large size and cut out the opening with a jigsaw. You do not have to be too concerned about the neatness of the cut. The countertop edge will be hidden under the new sink's flange.

Once your new sink is delivered and you have the countertop hole cut to size, install the faucet into the new sink. Spread a bead of the silicone sealer under the sink flange and press the sink in place in the hole. The sealer is often included in the new sink packaging.

Almost all stainless steel sinks are held in place by metal clips underneath the sink. As soon as you put the sink in place, tighten the clips before the sealer sets up. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess sealer that oozed out.

Stainless steel can actually be stained by standing water. The bottoms of the sinks are tapered to avoid this. When installing the strainer baskets, make sure the edges are not thicker than the recess in the bottom of the sink, or they may trap water around them. If so, replace them with thinner ones.

To maintain the stainless steel's beauty, avoid getting chlorine-based chemicals, such as bleach, on it for extended periods. Do not place cast iron pots and pans in the sink if it is still damp. Never leave a wet steel wool cleaning pad in the sink.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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