Whether you are remodeling your kitchen or bathroom or starting fresh in a brand new home, you have an abundance of options when it comes to sink, from overmount sinks to drop-in models. Undermount sinks are a popular choice, with their seamless, out-of-the-way appearance.
Is an undermount sink the right choice for your home? This article will address undermount sinks: advantages, disadvantages, and everything else you need to know.
What Is An Undermount Sink?
Among the myriad of sink-style choices, undermount is a popular option. Known for its rimless design, many people appreciate the sunken design that provides a seamless look. Undermount sinks are installed under the counter. Other sinks, such as drop-in sinks, require a pre-cut hole where it can snugly fit in, with the lip of the sink propped on the counter to support itself.
Undermount sinks demand a custom-cut hole for the specific sink. Unlike drop-in sinks, there isn’t a lip that rests on the counter. So, the sink requires two-part epoxy and silicone caulk to adhere the sink to the countertop appropriately.
How Are Undermount Sinks Attached to Granite?
The process of securing an undermount sink to granite is no different than what we mentioned above. Undermount sinks pair well with solid surface and granite countertops since their robust nature can support the sink and is waterproof.
Can I Install An Undermount Sink To Laminate Or Tile Countertops?
Laminate and tile countertops typically don’t do well with undermount sinks. The primary concern with these materials comes down to their water resistance. Since they aren’t usually waterproof, water can get between the countertop and the sink.
Do undermount sinks grow mold? With these two countertop materials, as well as other non-waterproof materials, mold can grow when water sneaks between the sink and countertop. Improperly installed undermount sinks can cause mold and mildew buildup regardless of the countertop, though, so it is imperative that the sink is installed correctly.
Do Undermount Sinks Fail?
Undermount sinks can fail when they aren’t properly installed. If the installer fails to use the correct materials, the sink’s weight, moisture, and vibration of the garbage disposal (if you have one) can pull the sink away from the countertop, causing it to fall.
Are Undermount Sinks Sturdy?
Yes, if the sink is installed correctly, it should remain sturdy. The quality of the sink itself plays a role in the robustness as well, as do the materials used to adhere the sink to the counter. The primary method to ensure your sink is sturdy is to use high-quality materials and install them properly.
If you’re not comfortable with custom-cutting the hole for the sink to line up with, which takes special tools (especially with solid surfaces like granite), it’s best to call in a professional.
Remember that any chips or accidental cuts into the wrong portion of the counter could require a whole new chunk of the countertop, which could be expensive, depending on the material you used. So, if you’re not confident in your abilities, pass the stress off to a professional.
What Are Undermount Sinks Made Of?
Stainless steel, cast iron, and copper are popular materials for undermount sinks. Usually, they come in single-bowl or double-bowl variations. You can choose between undermount kitchen sinks if you’re giving your kitchen a facelift or undermount bathroom sinks if the bathroom is the target of your efforts.
Are Undermount Sinks The Best Type Of Sink?
There is really no right answer to this question, although you’re probably thinking it’d be easier if we just decided for you, thus relieving you of the stress of choosing the ideal sink. The answer to this question ultimately falls to you and your preferences.
You have an abundance of sink styles to choose from, so choose the option that best works for your needs and preferences. If the seamless, recessed design is your speed, then undermount sinks may be the best type of sink for you.
Reveal Options For Undermount Sinks
If you were groaning over our answer to the last question, you’re probably not going to like the fact that you have even more choices to pick from. On top of finally deciding which type of sink you want, what material, and what color you want, you’ll need to determine what kind of installation you want.
There are three ways to install undermount sinks, including:
- Positive reveal: This installation option is where the edge of the countertop stops before the sink bowl, thus leaving a ledge where the sink rim is exposed. It’s relatively easy to install undermount sinks this way, but the lip is a great place for food and bacteria to collect.
- Negative reveal: Negative reveal is where the edge of the countertop slightly hangs over the sink walls. This style provides a streamlined look without the edge where food can collect. However, the countertop is susceptible to chips, and mold can hide under the lip of the counter.
- Zero reveal: This installation method is used interchangeably with ‘flush mounted,’ so if your installer says that it means the same thing as zero reveal. This is where the edges of the countertop are flush with the sink walls. Although this method requires considerable precision and skill, sinks installed this way are super easy to clean.
Are Undermount Sinks Lower?
Undermount sinks are typically an inch or two lower than other sink types, like drop-in styles. The difference is there, but it’s pretty minimal. If that is a deal-breaker for you, undermount sinks may not be your best bet.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Undermount Sinks
Just like all other sink types, undermount sinks are accompanied by a set of advantages and disadvantages.
- Easy installation: Although these sinks require a bit more elbow grease than a drop-in sink, they are relatively easy to install. Once you’ve got your custom hole ready, wipe the space where the sink meets the countertop clean with denatured alcohol and a clean cloth.
From there, screw in the clips that press the sink to the counter, apply a sealant, and allow it to dry. Of course, this is the oversimplified version of the process, but you get the drift.
- Extra countertop space: Counter space is a hot commodity, especially in tiny kitchens where it’s already limited. Sinks with a lip resting on the countertop take up the precious little space you do have. This is where undermount sinks come in.
- Makes for easy cleanup: No need to scrub at the lip of the sink that seemingly attracts dirt and grime. The recessed design eliminates such cleanup.
- No need for caulk: With other sink styles that require caulking, you have to maintain the grout periodically. Over time, it deteriorates, becomes discolored and unpleasant. Re-applying grout is a time-consuming process that requires time to cure after application. With an undermount sink, you don’t need to worry about scrubbing or replacing the grout.
- Requires custom-cut hole: Undermount sinks aren’t one-size-fits-all. You’ll need a custom-cut hole, so be prepared to do a bit of slicing.
- Mold and leaks can be an issue: Tile and laminate countertops tend to be susceptible to mold and leaks when they aren’t entirely level. Water seeps through the gap between the sink and countertop, causing water damage in and under the sink cabinet.
- Hefty: You’ll likely need a sturdy countertop for your undermount sink. Laminate and tile countertops might not be able to support the weight of the sink, causing the laminate counter to buckle and droop and the tile to shatter and crack.
Ideally, you have a granite countertop or some other solid surface that can adequately handle the weight. Either way, make sure you firmly adhere the sink to the countertop, or you’ll run into a disappearing sink act, no matter what countertop material you have when it drops into the cabinet below.
- Expensive: Undermount sinks can be more pricey than other sink types, like drop-ins. They are a great choice, though, and if you love the style, then it is 100 percent worth the investment.