How to Install a Pop-Up Drain in a Vessel Sink
How to Install a Pop-Up Drain in a Vessel Sink

How to Install a Pop-Up Drain in a Vessel Sink

If you want to add style and flair to your bathroom, you might want to consider install a pop-up drain vessel sink. A vessel sink sits on top of a countertop, vanity, or any adapted cabinet, giving your bathroom a distinct look.

However, installing a vessel sink is not as simple as installing a regular sink. You need a special drain that fits the sink and ensures proper drainage. One of the most common types of drains for vessel sinks is the pop-up drain, which allows you to plug or unplug the sink as needed.

This article will show you how to install a pop-up drain in your vessel sink step by step. It also explores different types of vessel sinks and their pros and cons, as well as some common challenges and tips for successful installation.

Exploring Vessel Sink Varieties

Before we get into the installation process, let’s look at some of the different vessel sinks available on the market. Vessel sinks come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, so you can find one that suits your taste and budget.

Some of the most popular materials for vessel sinks are:

  • Ceramic: Ceramic is a classic material for sinks that is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains and scratches. Ceramic sinks come in various colors and styles, from traditional to modern.
  • Glass: Glass is a sleek and elegant material for sinks that can create a stunning visual effect in your bathroom. Glass sinks are available in clear, frosted, or colored varieties, as well as different shapes and designs. However, glass sinks are more fragile and prone to chipping or cracking than other materials.
  • Stone: Stone is a natural and luxurious sink material that can add warmth and texture to your bathroom. Stone sinks are made from granite, marble, travertine, or onyx, each with its unique pattern and color. Stone sinks are durable and long-lasting but require more maintenance and care than other materials.
  • Metal: Metal is a modern and stylish material for sinks that can give your bathroom an industrial or minimalist vibe. Metal sinks are made from stainless steel, copper, brass, or bronze materials, each with its finish and patina. Metal sinks are durable and easy to clean but can be noisy and prone to corrosion or tarnishing.

When choosing the ideal material for your vessel sink, you need to consider factors such as:

  • The size and shape of your countertop or vanity
  • The style and theme of your bathroom
  • The faucet type and location
  • The maintenance and cleaning requirements
  • The budget and availability

Step-by-Step Tutorial: Installing a Pop-Up Drain in Your Vessel Sink

Now that you have chosen your vessel sink and faucet, it’s time to install them on your countertop or vanity. Here are the steps you need to follow to install a pop-up drain in your vessel sink:

1. Measuring and Marking the Drain Hole

The first step is to measure and mark the location of the drain hole on your countertop or vanity. You can use the template with your sink or drain or measure the diameter of the drain opening on your sink and mark it on the countertop.

Make sure that the drain hole is centered on the sink and aligned with the faucet. You also need to leave enough space around the drain hole for the drain flange and assembly.

2. Drilling the Drain Hole Precisely

The next step is to drill the drain hole on your countertop or vanity using a drill or hole saw. You need to use the appropriate drill bit or hole saw size for your drain opening diameter.

Make sure that you drill slowly and carefully to avoid cracking or chipping the countertop material. You also need to wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from dust and debris.

3. Installing the Drain Flange Securely

The third step is to install the drain flange on your countertop or vanity. The drain flange is the part of the drain assembly that sits on the countertop and connects to the drain pipe below.

To install the drain flange, apply some plumber’s putty around the underside of the flange rim. Then, insert the flange through the drain hole and press it firmly against the countertop.

Next, attach the drain body to the flange from underneath the countertop. The drain body is part of the drain assembly that holds the pop-up mechanism and connects to the tailpiece.

To attach the drain body, screw it onto the flange threads and tighten it with a wrench. Make sure that the drain body is aligned with the sink and faucet.

Finally, you need to wipe off any excess plumber’s putty that squeezes out from around the flange rim.

4. Connecting the Drain Pipe Effectively

The fourth step is to connect the drain pipe to the drain assembly. The drain pipe is part of the assembly that connects to the P-trap and the main drain line.

To connect the drain pipe, insert the tailpiece into the drain body and tighten it with a slip nut. The tailpiece is a short pipe section extending from the drain body.

Next, connect the P-trap to the tailpiece and the main drain line. The P-trap is a curved section of pipe that prevents sewer gases from entering your bathroom.

To connect the P-trap, you need to use slip nuts and washers to secure it to the tailpiece and the main drain line. You may need to cut or adjust the length of the tailpiece or the P-trap to fit your plumbing configuration.

5. Securing the Drain Assembly Properly

The fifth step is to secure the drain assembly to your vessel sink. The drain assembly is the part of the drain that includes the pop-up stopper, the lift rod, and the clevis strap.

To secure the drain assembly, insert the pop-up stopper into the drain opening and align it with the slot on the drain body. The pop-up stopper is a metal plug that can be raised or lowered by a lever mechanism.

Next, insert the lift rod through the faucet hole and connect it to the clevis strap. The lift rod is a metal rod that controls the movement of the pop-up stopper. The clevis strap is a metal strip that connects the lift rod to the pivot rod.

Then, you need to insert the pivot rod through the hole on the drain body and connect it to the clevis strap. The pivot rod is a metal rod that connects to the pop-up stopper and moves it up or down.

Finally, you need to adjust and tighten all the connections using screws or nuts. Make sure that the pop-up stopper can open and close smoothly and seal properly.

6. Testing the Sink Drain for Functionality

The last step is to test your sink drain for functionality. To do this, you need to turn on the water supply valves under the sink and run some water through the faucet and the drain.

Check for any leaks or drips from the connections or the sink. If you find any, turn off the water and fix them accordingly.

Also, check how well the pop-up stopper works by raising and lowering it with the lift rod. Make sure that it can plug and unplug the sink effectively.

If everything works fine, congratulations! You have successfully installed a pop-up drain in your vessel sink.

Addressing Common Challenges During Installation

Installing a vessel sink and a pop-up drain can be a rewarding DIY project but pose some challenges. Here are some of the common issues that you may encounter during installation and how to solve them:

The Sink Does Not Sit Flat on the Countertop

This can happen if your sink or countertop is uneven or warped. You can level it out under the sink or flange to fix this. You can also use more caulk or sealant to fill in any gaps.

The Faucet Does Not Reach the Sink

This can happen if your faucet spout is too short or low for your vessel sink. To fix this, you can either replace your faucet with a taller or longer one or install an extension kit for your faucet.

The Drain Leaks

This can happen if your connections are loose or faulty or your plumber’s putty or caulk has dried out or cracked. To fix this, you can either tighten or replace your connections or reapply the plumber’s putty or caulk.

The Pop-up Stopper Does Not Work

This can happen if your pop-up mechanism is misaligned or jammed or your lift rod is too short or long. To fix this, you can adjust or lubricate your pop-up mechanism or cut or extend your lift rod.

Exclusive Considerations for Glass Vessel Sinks

Glass vessel sinks are one of the most popular types because they are beautiful and versatile. However, they also require some special considerations when installing them:

Maintenance Tips for Glass Sinks

Glass sinks are easy to clean but can show water spots and fingerprints more easily than other materials. To keep your glass sink sparkling, occasionally wipe it dry after each use and use a mild glass cleaner. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that can scratch the surface of the glass.

Ensuring Safety With Glass Vessel Sinks

Glass sinks are generally safe to use, but they can also pose some risks if installed improperly or broken. To ensure safety with glass vessel sinks, you should make sure that the sink is securely mounted on the countertop and that the drain flange is tight enough to prevent movement.

You should also avoid dropping heavy objects on the sink or applying excessive force that can crack the glass. If the glass does break, you should wear gloves and dispose of the shards carefully.

Conclusion and Final Tips for Successful Drain Installation

Installing a pop-up drain in your vessel sink can be a rewarding DIY project that can enhance the look and functionality of your bathroom. However, it can also be a challenging task that requires some planning and preparation.

Here are some final tips to help you achieve a successful drain installation:

  • Choose your vessel sink and faucet carefully according to your preferences and budget.
  • Measure and accurately mark the drain and faucet holes on your countertop or vanity.
  • Drill the holes precisely and carefully to avoid damaging the countertop material.
  • Install the drain flange securely on the countertop and attach the drain body underneath.
  • Connect the drain pipe to the drain assembly and mainline using slip nuts and washers.
  • Secure the drain assembly to the vessel sink using screws or nuts and adjust the pop-up mechanism.
  • Apply caulk or sealant around the vessel sink and drain flange to prevent leaks.
  • Test the sink drain for functionality and check for any leaks or drips.
  • Enjoy your new vessel sink and pop-up drain!


Here are some frequently asked questions related to installing a pop-up drain in a vessel sink:

What is the difference between a pop-up drain and a grid drain?

A pop-up drain and a grid drain are two drains used for vessel sinks. A pop-up drain has a metal plug that can be raised or lowered using a lever, allowing you to plug or unplug the sink as desired. On the other hand, a grid drain has a metal grate covering the drain opening, but it does not offer the option to plug or unplug the sink.

Do I need an overflow drain for my vessel sink?

An overflow drain is a sink feature that lets excess water drain if it becomes too full. Some vessel sinks have built-in overflow passages, requiring a drain fitting with an overflow. Others lack overflow passages and require a drain fitting without an overflow.

How do I choose the right size of drain fitting for my vessel sink?

The size of the drain fitting for a vessel sink depends on the diameter of the drain opening. Most vessel sinks have a 1-1/2-inch drain opening, but some may have a 1-1/4-inch or 2-inch opening. Measure your sink’s drain opening and select a matching drain fitting. Make sure it’s compatible with your plumbing setup and P-trap size.

How do I choose the right faucet for my vessel sink?

Choose a faucet that matches your sink’s style, material, height, and reach. Consider whether you want a deck-mount or a wall-mount faucet.

How do I maintain and clean my vessel sink?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your sink’s material and finish. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners or tools. Rinse and wipe your sink regularly.