Dark room sinks

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Not the most exciting of topics, and may seem more appropriate for the "Plumbing Forum," but you guys are a pretty darkroom-savvy group, so thought I'd ask.

I've been using a very well-equipped darkroom for years at work, and now want to build a basic darkroom for contact printing 8 X 10 at home. I've read a fair amount out there, but am not still clear about how I go about installing a sink, drain, etc. I see them for sale at B+H, etc., some of the ABS ones pretty cheaply. Let's say I buy myself a plastic sink, and have a water connection in a room already, but no faucets. Where do I start with this? Is this a reasonable do-it-yourself kind of thing? Had I better just call the plumber? Likely to cost a mint just for installation? How do drains work (esp the kind that can handle PMK and Amidol and all the other stuff I would put down mine)?

These are pretty obvious questions to SOME people out there, but clearly not to me.

Thanks for any suggestions or a point in the right direction toward darkroom plumbing help!


-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), July 17, 2000


There are too many considerations to handle here. I recommend a basic plumbing book Should be available at your Home Depot or hardware store, probably also at your local library.

Your two considerations are supply (hot and cold water incoming) and DWV (drain-waste-vent). Incoming is easy, you just have to cut water to your house, cut into the supply lines, attach branches, turn the water on and heck for leaks. How you cut in depends upon the type of plumbing materials.

DWV is more problematic. You have to have a trap to hold some water in the drain. This keeps sewer gasses from coming back into your house. For it to work right, you have to have a vent to your roof. You can tie into an existing vent, which is the easiest and most affordable, but your drain can't be farther than a set distance from the vent stack. The drain line has to be slopped towards the vent, and the rate of slope is fixed, so the distance varies with the diameter of the drain line.

You could call a plumber for an estimate. If the water lines are "stubbed out" and the drain line is present but capped off and these are easily accessed, the price might not be too bad. But if he has to add the vent and/or a drain line, it will get expensive.

Suggest you check out the books first to see if your up to it, but a plumber would probably not charge for the estimate.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), July 17, 2000.

Nathan, We probably need a bit more information. Is your house on a foundation or on a slab? A slab would be extremely difficult, but not necessarily overcomeable--just depends on where your lines are in relation to where you want to put the darkroom. Plumbing is not very difficult, but it does require a great deal of thought and planning. Give us some more details about your layout.

-- fred (fdeaton@hiwaay.net), July 17, 2000.

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