The kitchen sink is essential to any fully-functioning kitchen–you need it to wash dishes, rinse produce, clean your hands, and much more. So, when it’s time to choose a kitchen sink, you have a lot to consider. As you browse through your choices, you’ll come across a few farmhouse sink designs.
These sinks are incredibly popular, especially in kitchens where the sink is the focal point. Perhaps you decide you like these sinks and are considering buying one for your home. However, in some pictures, the sink seems to protrude from the cabinets. Now, you might not want the sink in the way as you walk by, so how far does a farmhouse sink have to sit? Let’s find out.
What Is A Farmhouse Sink?
Farmhouse sinks are large, deep kitchen sinks, also known as apron sinks or apron-front sinks. These sinks originally became popular in the United States during the 1990s, when certain brands recognized an opportunity to romanticize these sinks to create a lustrous, farmhouse-style sink.
While these sinks are often made of extremely durable fireclay, they’re available today in varying materials, including stainless steel, copper, stone, and cast iron. They feature deep, broad basins, often without a divider. The single large basin is ideal for washing oversized pots and pans, as it’s usually substantial enough to submerge the entire dish without a hitch.
Where Should A Farmhouse Sink Be Placed?
Generally, a farmhouse sink is positioned with a slight overhang from the cabinet underneath. The exact overhang is up to you, but many folks place the sink with an overhang between ½-inch and 2 inches.
Although two inches of overhang isn’t over the top, it’s enough to catch a hip as you walk past. A bit of overhang might be perfect if you want an eye-catching look.
Ultimately, the best placement is up to you. You’ll want enough space for countertop support between the back edge of the sink and the wall, but not too much, so the sink protrudes more than a couple of inches.
Anything over 2 inches of overhang might be enough to become in the way as you move about a busy kitchen, but it’s up to you.
Do You Install A Farmhouse Sink Before A Countertop?
Generally, installing your farmhouse sink before the countertops is easier, but you can make it work with existing countertops. When working with existing countertops, you need to be extra careful and double-check your measurements, so you don’t cut a too-large hole or damage the surface of the counters.
Cutting the base cabinet and existing countertop is often easier when the counters and cabinets aren’t installed, but it is doable after installation. If you have stone countertops, you must be extremely careful while cutting, as damaging a stone slab can be an expensive mistake.
The installation process may go much smoother when you’re working with new countertops, cabinets, and a sink. Instead of meticulously measuring and cutting in an existing, installed setup, you can work with each piece individually.
You simply need to construct supports for the sink (as required), fit them into the cabinet cutout, then ensure the sink height matches the height of the countertops (minus the counter itself).
Essential Considerations For Farmhouse Sinks
While placement is essential when installing a farmhouse sink, it isn’t the only aspect to consider. You’ll need to account for varying additional factors, such as existing countertops, nearby drawers, cabinet space, and necessary support.
If you’re having professional countertop installers handle the task, here are the aspects they’ll consider.
If you’re keeping your current countertops, there are a few things you need to consider. They will determine what size farmhouse sink you can install in your kitchen. Measure your countertops and the existing sink to determine what measurements will work for your new farmhouse sink.
Aside from size, you need to figure out how to remove the old sink without significantly damaging the countertops, what kind of countertop material you’re working with, where the seams are in the counter, and the space behind the sink where the faucet and backsplash will go.
Removing old sinks that have been in the same place for decades without damaging the counter can be a struggle, especially with certain countertop materials. If your farmhouse sink is wider than your current sink, you’ll need to figure out the best approach to safely cutting into the countertop (stone can be tricky to work with).
In addition, you need to consider where the seams are on the countertop. You need to place the sink in a suitable location that won’t impact or compromise the stability of the sink’s support. If there are seams close by the sink, you’ll need to evaluate how wide the sink can be without affecting those seams.
You also need to ensure enough room on the back side of the sink. Generally, farmhouse sinks don’t have a large enough sink deck (if any) for a faucet. So, the faucet often needs to be installed on the countertop behind the sink. Make sure you choose an appropriately sized sink that leaves enough space for the faucet and additional accessories (soap dispenser, sprayer, etc.).
Don’t forget about drawers near the sink. Although it’s easy to forget about ensuring your drawers will still work due to the hubbub of every other consideration, take note of these drawers.
Some sinks feature a lip that extends slightly further on each side of the sink. If you have drawers right next to your sink, these sinks might not work, as the lip might prevent the drawer from opening.
Before you buy a new sink, check the nearby drawers to ensure you’ll have plenty of clearance with the new sink.
Under Sink Space
Many farmhouse sinks feature an expansive basin that is much deeper than standard kitchen sinks. So, before you order a new sink, be sure to measure the cabinet space available based on the depth of the sink. You’ll need room for the plumbing and a garbage disposal (if you want one), so be sure the sink leaves plenty of under-cabinet space for these components.
To determine the amount of space you’ll need for the sink, measure the current plumbing beneath the sink (drain pipes, water lines, etc.) and the garbage disposal. Add two inches to these measurements for pipe clearance, then subtract that from the total height of the base cabinet. This represents the deepest sink your base cabinet will allow.
However, if your sink is heavy (natural stone, fireclay, copper), you might need to install additional supports in the base cabinet, which will consume extra space. So, keep this in mind as you browse for a new sink.
As mentioned earlier, some farmhouse sinks require additional support in the base cabinet. Sometimes, your current base cabinet might not work for the farm sink you want to install. It might not offer enough support for the sink, placing unnecessary stress on the surrounding countertop (although the weight distribution varies based on the type of sink, such as undermount, top mount, etc.).
So, it’s essential to ensure the cabinets are solid enough to support the sink’s weight. If you’re replacing the cabinets, consider purchasing a pre-made base cabinet for the sink. Or, you can build your own for reasonably cheap, but you’ll need to be pretty handy with power tools.
You might not need additional support for lighter farmhouse sinks, such as those made of stainless steel. However, farmhouse sinks made of copper, cast iron, stone, and fireclay can be surprisingly heavy, so added supports are necessary.