How to Install an Apron Sink in a Stock Cabinet

Friday, February 19, 2016 -
Learn how to modify a cabinet to accomidate an apron front sink

When we first started to plan the new kitchen design, one essential element I knew I wanted to include was an apron front sink. I also knew it was going to be a hard sell to my husband. He's not a big fan of the farmhouse style, and has openly expressed his dislike for apron sinks. 

I was planning more of a modern look for the kitchen, and when I showed my husband this stainless steel apron sink from Moen, he could see the vision and agreed. Success! We chose the STo faucet and a modern soap pump, and we were ready to get to work. 

As with the rest of the kitchen remodel, the plan was to modify the stock cabinets and not replace them. The particular apron sink we chose is 9" deep, requiring new lower cabinet doors and changes to the face frames. It sounds daunting, but it really wasn't difficult. Here's how the cabinet looked before.

This is how I installed my under-mount apron sink. If you are installing an over-mount sink, your process will be different.

The first thing we did was to detach the face frame from the cabinet. Most stock cabinets built in the last 20 years have face frames assembled with pocket holes. To remove the frame, I simply had to unscrew a handful of screws. I only needed to remove the two horizontal pieces and center dividers. I made sure to keep all the pieces for later use.

This is how the cabinet looks with the frame removed.

With the face frame gone, the next step was to measure 1/8" from the top edge of the cabinet sides and to ascribe a line.

Apron sinks are typically pretty heavy and need a sub-frame to support their weight. I first measured the underside of my sink to determine how deep the frame needed to be. I then cut the top plate to length, and cut the legs long enough so when the top plate was attached, the sub-frame would come up to the previous line, 1/8" from the top edge.

My cabinet being 36" wide and my sink only 30" wide, I built the sub-frame on both sides of the cabinet, from 2 x 3 lumber. I attached the top plate to the legs and attached the entire sub-frame to the cabinet using 3" wood screws.

At this point we could lower the sink in place for a test fit. The wings of the top edge of the sink set perfectly on the sub-frame. I then took a leftover, horizontal piece of face frame and attached it to the sides of the frame, directly under the apron of the sink. I used *1-1/4" pocket holes screws , through the pre-drilled holes.

I was also able to reuse the original center divider. It had to cut it down in length, and two new pocket holes drilled. Then it was just a matter of clamping the center divider in place and attaching it with *1-1/4" pocket hole screws .

Our cabinet is 36" wide, but the sink was only 30" wide. If we had dropped the sink in at this point, there would be sizable gaps on either side. We needed to swap out the top sides of the face frame with something wider. First, using a multi-attachment tool, we made a horizontal cut, right above the horizontal support. We then used the cut off pieces as a template to cut wider boards to length.

Fortunately, we had some scrap, 3-1/2" wide face frame boards. If you don't have some matching boards on hand, don't worry. In the cabinet aisle of Home Depot, you can fins pre-finished boards to match several popular cabinet colors (including that gorgeous honey oak). Our particular board already had a dado cut on the backside, so once each side was cut to length, we could easily glue them in place and secure it with finish nails. 

At this point, I filled all nail holes and seams, and sanded and prepped for paint. If you aren't wanting to paint, I would recommend using pre-colored wood filler. smoothed over with a damp rag. 

As I mentioned, lowering the horizontal face frame means I needed to buy new cabinet doors. I found a style that matched my existing doors perfectly from My sink cabinet is a standard 36" x 33-1/2" base cabinet. After the modifications, I needed two, 16" x 18" doors. I opted to have my doors bored for hinges (and addtional $5 per door). The total cost was $32.32 per door. 

"Adobe" Inset Panel Cabinet Doors - red oak
Once everything received two coats of primer and three coats of paint (Sherwin Williams - ProClassic - Snowbound), I mounted the door with *concealed hinges and added the decorative hardware. Here's how it looks now.

How to modify a stock cabinet and install and apron front sink.

I freaking love this sink! Its so deep and large, I can hide dirty dishes without guests catching glimpse. The modern design of the STo faucet blends contemporary with traditional. I get compliments on my apron sink and faucet every time someone comes over. 

Learn how to modify a cabinet to accomidate an apron front sink

If you'd like to see the full kitchen reveal, click over here. More tutorials are coming soon!

Are you ready to install an apron front sink?! Feel free to leave questions in the comments and pin the image below to save the idea for later.

How to modify a stock cabinet and install and apron front sink.

*This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated with product, supplied by Moen Inc. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced. 

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  1. I always wondered if we could do this in our kitchen, so thanks for the tutorial to show how it's done! I'm trying to front load some of the costs of our future kitchen remodel, and a new sink and faucet would be something that I would love to get some use out of now rather than wait for the remodel.


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