There are only two general rules when it comes to adding features to or replacing them on your RV. One, will it work and two, will it fit? Not every RV or travel trailer has the room for those unique additions that make your RV more like home
Can you put a regular sink in an RV? Yes, this is possible but the new regular sink must fit the dimensions used by the one you are replacing. One reason RV owners consider this project is that the regular traditional sink is made from higher quality materials than their RV sink.
To find out more about this replacement project, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can contemplate replicating the same project and upgrading your RV or travel trailer.
The biggest problem you will face in this conversion is the size of the RV sink. While it is possible to replace the old sink with a new traditional one found in your home, the latter sink may not be the right size.
As you know, there is very little room inside a regular RV or travel trailer, and getting a traditional sink to fit those unique dimensions can be quite a chore. If you do find one that you like and it fits, then you are ahead of the game and can replace the old sink.
Besides the size issue, you will also have to make sure that the new sink will work with flexible pipes that supply the water. Generally, this is not a problem. Traditional house sinks are not made to be exclusive when it comes to piping.
It is possible to hook up flexible or even PVC pipes the RV makers use to a house sink. This work may take a little adapting but it is not impossible to achieve a good connection with no leaks.
Even the material the traditional sink is made from is not going to be a problem. It is going to be different from your RV sink but that should not be a big issue unless the sink you want in your RV has sharp edges. You would have to blunt those edges to make sure they do not cause any damage to your RV or your family.
There are a variety of materials used by RV manufacturers to make their sinks. The good news is that those materials can be the same ones used to create the traditional sinks you find in your home.
These materials may be similar to traditional sink construction materials but they may also be on the lower end of the quality scale. You will find RV and travel trailer sinks made from plastic, acrylic, stainless steel, or just be a solid surface type material.
Needless to say, those materials are not made to last a very long time but are designed to fit the space allotted to them. Upgrading them to something tougher, more durable is always a good idea if you have the budget for that work.
One reason why you get a cheap feel from the sinks the RV makers put in their product is that they are looking to keep the weight down. Too much weight means a loss of fuel efficiency, less equipment and supplies for you to include, and other major issues.
It is better that you replace the built-in sink with one more to your liking and then you can make the proper adjustments when the task is completed. Besides construction materials, there will be a few details that will need to be aligned to make sure you get the perfect fit you need.
The exact dimensions will differ depending on the size, style, and luxury of the RV or travel trailer you buy. Some smaller, basic RVs and travel trailers will have very tiny sinks as there is just not enough room for larger models.
On the other end of the scale, the more luxurious and larger RVs, etc., will have full-sized kitchens that can accommodate larger sinks. To find the specific dimensions, you would have to measure the RV sink in the model you buy.
To give you an idea of their size, some kitchen sinks made for RVs measure 14 11/16 by 14 11/16. Then some bathroom sinks can actually reach the 15-inch mark. But their actual size will depend on the design of the sink and the room they are placed.
For example, some RV kitchens have a dual sink combination with the wash side normal sized while the rinse side is about half the wash size. Other sink models are all one size with no partitions and they can have small, medium, or large dimensions.
Some of those dimensions range from 13 by 11 inches up to 32 by 17 inches, with a lot of sizes in between those two markers. That is why measuring your sink accurately before you start this project is so important. The sink you like may not come in the exact dimensions you need.
Make sure to have a second and third choice in replacement sinks.
There is no special trick to doing this task. If you know how to measure the space for your traditional sinks in your home, then the same technique will apply in your RV. The key is to get an accurate measurement of the opening to make sure you buy the right sized replacement sink.
When you go to measure you need to measure across the opening and then from back to front. This becomes a little more difficult when you have a true round sink in your bathroom.
In that case, you will be looking for the diameter of the hole to guide your purchase. Do not forget to allow for the overhang. You will need to make sure that the lip on the new sink will sit on the countertop perfectly.
That lip provides the support your sink will need when it is installed and in use. The key to measuring is to measure twice to make sure you got the figures correct. While you will not be ruining any material if you mess up the measuring part of this replacement task.
Being accurate will keep you from making a return trip to the store and spending the time returning the sink and exchanging it for another one. Don’t forget to write that measurement down on a piece of paper and take it with you to the store. Your memory may be good but even the best memories can be inaccurate at the wrong times.
The exact width or diameter of your kitchen and bathroom drains may not be standard. There will be some slight differences between design models. In general, though, the bathroom drains in many RV models will be about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.
This measurement may go as high as 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches approx. on other bathroom sink models. The same applies to the kitchen drain as well. There are many RVs with the same size drain but not all of them will have that size.
For example, all modern RVs are supposed to have 3 1/2 inch drain diameters. However, that rule does not apply to older RVs and trailers. If you own one of the latter models then it is best to measure your drain to see what size you will need when you replace the older sink.
Even if you think you have the standard size drain, measure it to be sure. When replacing the RV sink with the traditional model you want to make sure everything fits. If it doesn’t, you may need to buy some special adapters to get that tight seal you will need.
If you still have doubts, talk to an RV expert mechanic to make sure you get the right sink with the correct drain size.
This is really not a hard task to do. The most difficult aspect of this job is being able to bend your body in such a way that you can work comfortably underneath the sink. The RV sink is not going to be in the most comfortable location for you to do your work.
Then replacing the sink is a matter of taking one step at a time. There is a logical order to undo the older sink and then attach the new one. That order will be given step by step in the next section.
The key to remember is that you need to shut the water off first before you start any work on your sink. Getting wet just makes the job a little more difficult and a lot more uncomfortable.
Make sure to have some towel son hand to mop up any water spills that come. When you undo the faucets from the water line, there will be some water left inside and that water can easily spill out onto the floor.
You will want to mop up that spilled water as quickly as possible. The longer the water sits there the more it will contribute to later water damage.
As we said in the previous section, the process is quite simple. Basic plumbing or handyman skills will be all that you need to get the job done right. here are the steps to follow to get the job done right:
Step one- SHUT THE WATER OFF
Step two- take a utility knife and cut the caulk seal holding the sink to the countertop. This will require some pressure, but so much that you damage the sink or your countertop.
Step three- take a pair of vice grips or a small enough monkey or adjustable wrench and loosen the water lines and the drain line. Once loose separate the lines from the sink.
Step four- get on your back and crawl under the sink. This is essential positioning as you have to find all of the brackets holding the sink to the counter. You will need to use a screwdriver or an appropriate-sized socket to loosen these items. Once loose make sure they are out of your way when you lift the sink off
Step five- gently but firmly pull the sink out of its place. Lift straight up so that you do not cause any damage anywhere and be careful of the window or cabinets that may be nearby.
Step six- when installing the replacement sink, reverse these steps. Go slow as you do not want to rush any step and break something. If you break a part, you may have to go out and buy a new one and that just wastes time and money.
DON’T FORGET TO TURN THE WATER BACK ON.
The key to replacing the sink in your pop-up camper is to make sure that any new faucet you buy, will work with the opening and closing system on your camper. By that we mean, do not make any new faucet so large that your camper cannot close.
The process for this sink is going to be similar to the one used in a regular-sized RV or trailer. The only real difference will be the amount of space you have to work. You will have less space so be prepared.
Make sure to measure the opening for your new sink and you would have to do that by crawling underneath the cabinet and positioning yourself so your arms can reach the bottom of the counter.
Once you get the right size, follow the steps mentioned above. Cut the caulk seal, loosen and remove the plumbing lines, and then the brackets, if any, that are holding the sink in place.
Then be careful when lifting the old sink out of the counter as you do not want to cause any damage. The new sink may come with installation instructions but all you have to do is reverse the removal process and your new sink will be installed easily.
Unless you have an extremely large RV with a very large bathroom, expect to work in a similar situation as the pop-up camper. You are not going to have a lot of maneuvering room available, so be prepared to work in cramped quarters.
Sink removal is basically the same no matter the design or location of the sink. You have to shut the water off first, cut the caulk seal, remove the water and drain lines and the brackets if any.
The one-step we did not mention in the previous two sections is to put new caulking down to create that perfect seal when you are done. This seal is important as it keeps any water spills or drops from getting to the interior of the cabinet and causing some damage.
It is okay to put too much caulking on in this step as you can always wipe away the excess with your finger or a damp rag. Patience is required as this is a step-by-step process that cannot have one step being skipped at any time.
The biggest hassle you will have is if you bought the wrong sized sink or the wrong design. Double-check to make sure your replacement sink will fit like a glove. You do not want any loose or open spaces in any of the three replacement options.
Believe it or not, the RV kitchen sink plumbing is going to be a lot like your sink in your traditional home. There is no difference in how RV sinks work over the kitchen sink in your home kitchen.
There will be water lines and drain lines and that is bout it. The sink function does not change once the sink has been transferred to or designed for an RV. The only difference you will have is the number of lines you have to work with.
By that, it is meant that if you have a hot and cold faucet, then there will be 2 water lines to disconnect underneath the sink. Then if you have a dual sink instead of a one-piece model you will have 2 drain lines instead of one.
If there is a single faucet dispensing both hot and cold water, depending on where you move the handle, then you may have to contend with some adapters on the water line. Just like you would back home in your normal kitchen.
The other main difference will be the design of the water lines. Instead of solid metal lines, your RV or trailer should have flexible plastic or PVC-type plumbing. This is not a major issue as a traditional sink should work with those water line designs.
Generally, this is the case. The P-trap was mandatory on all RVs and trailers to keep the fumes from the different holding tanks from escaping up into your RV’s interior. This was called a water lock.
The water lock was supposed to be about 2 inches when the RV or trailer was leveled and parked. However, that level would change as the RV or trailer moved to its next destination. Sometimes it would reach 0 but that is nothing to be worried about.
The good news is that technology seems to have found a way to improve this system. The upgrade is called a HepvO valve and it is not as bulky as the old P trap was. When installed in your shower, it removes the need for having a little bubble in your ceiling. The shower pan gets installed flush to the floor removing that design flaw.
This new valve is supposed to be installed by the manufacture at the time they build the RV or trailer model so you do not have to worry about doing it later. Whether this new valve is installed under sinks is another question.
The HepvO valve is supposed to withstand freezing temperatures, siphoning, evaporation, water compression, foaming, capillary action, or by any disproportionate physical movement of the motorhome making it ideal for many camping situations.
If you have fair to good plumbing or handyman skills, the process is straightforward and simple. The difficult part will be connecting the new drain line to the plumbing system underneath your RV.
The key is to have the right connectors or adapters to make the new drain line work flawlessly as the old one did. Installation is just a matter of applying the right materials to the right location.
You may need some Teflon tape, plumbers adhesive, and a couple of wrenches to make sure the installation goes smoothly. The problem is that not all RV drains are the same and you will have to buy the parts that fit specifically to your RV model.
Then it is a matter of time and a little work before the installation is done. Plumbing, in even RVs, is simple and not complicated work unless someone upgraded their RV and changed the routing of the drain line. Then you will be in for some fun.
Replacing your RV sinks with regular sinks can be a fun and fulfilling project. It is not difficult and you get the sink you want to use. Plus, your bathroom or kitchen will look a lot better.
The cost will depend on the type of sink, faucets, and drain lines you use. The prices will range somewhat from very cheap to very expensive. How much you pay will be up to you but this is a good project to consider.