If your bathroom sink is cracked or chipped, you probably want to fix it quickly and inexpensively. The good news is that you can do it yourself with a little elbow grease and this helpful guide. We've done the research and are confident we can help this process be as smooth as possible.
Here are the basic steps to help you fix a cracked bathroom sink:
- Sand down the edges of the crack or chip
- Use a damp rag and soap to wipe up the dust
- Purchase a ceramic or porcelain repair kit
- Apply the repair product and allow it to dry
- Sand the area after drying
- Paint the crack or chip with touch-up paint if necessary
For a detailed explanation of each step, information on the difference between ceramic and porcelain, and our product recommendations, continue reading.
Before You Get Started
Make sure you have the following before you get started with this repair project:
- Fine (120-220 grit) sandpaper
- Soapy washcloth and water
- Putty knife, toothpick, or q-tip (depending on the size of the crack or chip)
- Rubber gloves and mask
- Repair kit
- Touch-up paint (if repair kit is the wrong color)
What Is The Difference Between Ceramic And Porcelain Sinks?
Before we get started, you should know the difference between ceramic and porcelain sinks.
Ceramic is a type of pottery made from clay, powder, and water. It is the most common material for a sink because of its durability, affordability, and resistance to chips and scratches. Its smooth, waterproof surface makes it easy to clean. Ceramic is also easier to shape and design than porcelain.
Porcelain is also a type of pottery but is harder than ceramic. Porcelain sinks can last for decades if treated correctly. Similar to ceramic, porcelain's water repellent properties and ease of cleaning are helpful. Porcelain is not used in sinks as often as ceramic nowadays because its heaviness makes it unwieldy and it costs more than ceramic.
For a more in-depth explanation of the different types of sinks, check out What Are Bathroom Sinks Made Of?
How Do You Know If Your Sink Is Porcelain Or Ceramic?
Because porcelain and ceramic are so similar, it is difficult to know exactly which material your sink is made from. There are a couple of clues, however.
Look for chips and scratches on the sink. Though ceramic will chip or get scratched occasionally, porcelain is much more likely to be chipped and scratched.
Porcelain sinks from the mid-twentieth century and earlier were made as a coating over a metal base. If you can, look underneath or behind your sink to see if you can spot the metal base. If you can, your sink is probably made of porcelain.
The good news is that the process of repairing a chip or crack is almost identical for porcelain and ceramic.
Steps For Repairing A Cracked Or Chipped Bathroom Sink
Sand Down The Edges Of The Crack Or Chip
Using very fine sandpaper (120-220 grit), lightly sand the edges of the area. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure, as you do not want to make the crack or chip wider or bigger than necessary. Also, make sure to not scratch the surrounding surface by applying too much pressure. This step is important because it creates rougher edges around the crack or chip so that the filler will adhere better.
Clean Up The Dust
Using a damp rag or sponge with soapy water, make sure that all the dust that was produced by your sanding is cleaned up. Again, this is to make sure that the filler will stick; it will not adhere to the crack or chip as well if there is dust on the surface.
Purchase A Repair Kit
Most products are made to work for both porcelain or ceramic sinks. There are differences in products and colors, however, so make sure you're buying the correct product.
What Is The Best Porcelain Repair Kit?
If the crack or chip is only surface-level, you can use a normal epoxy filler. You do not need the missing piece from the chip; the repair kit takes its place.
Many repair kits come with two separate containers that each contain their own compound. Users then mix the two substances, causing a chemical reaction that fills in and solidifies the crack or chip.
HomeTinker Repair Kit
This product from HomeTinker is designed for bathroom tubs but will work on your ceramic or porcelain sink. It is helpful because it comes with paint that you can match to your desired color instead of having to purchase another product.
AiBast Repair Kit
This product is similar to the above one, except it does not come with adjustable color, so you will need to use touch-up paint to make sure the color matches (touch-up paint is discussed below). It does, however, come with all the items you'll need like a stir stick, applicator, and spreader.
For smaller chips or cracks, a simple product like this one from Super Glue will work well. This product comes in white, so if your sink is cream or almond-colored, you will need to purchase the appropriate touch-up paint.
If your sink is cracked completely (as in the picture below), you will need a separate product entirely.
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Look for a silicone sealant. In cases like this, it is important to make sure the crack is sealed so water cannot leak through. It is also necessary to bond the pieces of the sink together so that it's sturdy. Look for a product like this from Loctite that is easy to apply and quickly dries. You will need to sand or shave down the excess silicone (more on that later) before painting it the appropriate color.
Make sure the sealant is applied while the sink is level and the pieces are where they should be. This product solidifies quickly and is difficult to adjust after a couple of minutes.
Apply The Product And Allow It To Dry
Depending upon which product you've chosen, follow the directions on the label. If the kit comes with a spreader or applicator, use that. If it did not come with one, use a q-tip, toothpick, sponge, or putty knife to get an even spread. Try to apply the product smoothly, making sure to fill in the crack or chip completely.
The product's label will tell you how long it takes to dry. Do not move on before it is completely dried, as this will cause long-term problems and mess up the process.
Sand Down Any Excess
No matter how evenly you tried to spread the product, there is likely excess that is not level with the rest of the sink. Using the same fine-grit sandpaper as before, lightly sand it down to be level. Again, make sure that you are not damaging the surrounding area with the sandpaper. Be patient and only apply light pressure.
If you have used a silicone sealant, you might need to use a sharp knife or razor to shave off the excess, as silicone is resistant to sandpaper.
Use Touch-Up Paint (If Necessary)
If the product you chose does not match the rest of the sink, use a porcelain or ceramic touch-up paint to match. Look for the correct color for your sink.
White Touch-Up Paint
Almond Touch-Up Paint
If your sink is somewhere between white and almond colored, you might need to mix the two colors together. Use a small amount to sample, and allow it to dry to properly determine if it's the right color.
Want more info on how to paint a bathroom sink? Check out How To Paint A Bathroom Sink.
How Do You Fix A Scratch On A Ceramic Sink?
If there is a simple scratch on the sink that is surface-level and only cosmetic, you can simply apply ceramic touch-up paint in the appropriate color. Clean the sink well beforehand, apply the paint, let it dry, then sand down the excess.
What Causes Hairline Cracks In Porcelain/Ceramic Sinks?
Several factors can cause small, hairline cracks in porcelain sinks. This is especially true of sinks that are set on top of cabinets or vanities.
Poor installation is often a problem. Incorrect distribution of weight puts constant stress on the porcelain or ceramic. If the sink isn't balanced or leveled, this stress can cause the sink to slowly crack. Settling in older homes can cause the same problems, even if the sink was originally installed correctly.
Similarly, putting too much pressure on the sink repeatedly or over long periods of time can cause these fractures. If you lean or sit on the sink, you are in danger of causing it to crack. Dropping heavy items into or onto the sink is more likely to cause chips, but can also cause a crack if the item is big enough or heavy enough.
Unrepaired chips often grow into cracks, as they weaken the structure of the sink. Repair them quickly so that the problem does not get out of control.
If your sink is chipped or cracked, you can fix it yourself. Follow these steps to make sure that your sink is durable and waterproof for years to come. Sand down the defect, clean it well, apply a repair product, sand down the excess, and use touch-up paint if necessary. Soon you'll have a sink that's as good as new!