Today’s kitchen sinks come in so many different sizes, colors, materials, configurations, and installation methods that it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the right one for your kitchen design. Let’s look at all of those considerations beginning with the choices of installation methods with your countertop.
Dual Mount Sink Installation Options
Countertop Materials and Installation
During the kitchen sink installation process, an opening is first cut or allowed for in the kitchen countertop. Countertop materials dictate how that opening is created.
Obviously, marble, granite, concrete, and tile countertops are not going to be cut. Instead, they’ll be measured to allow for that opening. In a laminate or wood countertop such as butcher block, though, the opening is actually cut.
One method for installing the sink will be simply to “drop” it into that opening. The opening will be measured for a good fit, and the sink will fit neatly into it.
The other method is to “hang” the sink from beneath the opening. That same care in measuring properly will be exercised for this option, too, to ensure a good fit.
Definition of Dual Mount Sink
Now you can see why they are referred to as “dual mount sinks”: either dropped in or hung from beneath, two installation methods. In plumbing and construction circles, they are referred to as:
- Overmount, the drop-in sink installation kind; and,
- Undermount, the hung-from-beneath kind.
There are advantages and styles that inform each decision having to do such concerns as proper sealing and the possibility of damaging your chosen countertop material.
Undermount Vs Drop-In Sink Installation
First, let’s consider the flexibility of installation. Since you do not need to decide how to install it yet, you can order your dual mount sink before choosing your countertop and cabinets. By doing so, you get a head start on its timely delivery while you are still considering the rest of your kitchen design.
Top Mount Sink Installation
Dual mount sinks will have a very flat sink rim. If you choose a laminate, tile, or wood countertop, the overmount drop-in style might be a good choice because of that flat sink rim. Sealing the edges is easy with that low profile and also makes it easy to wipe the counter directly into the sink, where it can be fed to the garbage disposal.
- The top mount or drop-in sink choice makes installation easy, and if you are a DIYer, that’s an important consideration. If you are hiring this task out, though, it’s a quick and easy install for the pro and thus fairly inexpensive.
- This would be a good choice for countertop materials that are more porous than others, like wood (butcher block, for instance) or 2 x 6 stained and sealed countertops that have become somewhat popular today. Sealing those edges is an easy task and very effective.
- However, the overmount sink installation is also a good choice for solid countertops like granite, marble, and tile. That flat rim protects the edges of these countertop materials and prevents chipping.
Undermount Sink Installation
The hung-from-below sink installation requires a bit more work but can be an attractive presentation and a good look in your kitchen. You will have three methods, or “looks” to choose from, and they all have to do with how much of the sink you wish to reveal.
- The positive reveal will show a bit of the sink rim. Your countertop stops just a bit before the sink drop, thus revealing a bit of the rim perimeter.
- The negative reveal will hide the rim completely, and the countertop will hang over the sink a little bit. The rim is not revealed at all.
- The Flush look brings the countertop and the sink edges into alignment. In other words, the countertop runs to the end of the rim rather than its edge.
The undermount sink installation creates pleasing and clean lines in the kitchen and provides a few extra inches of usable countertop space. Brushing scraps or cuttings into the sink for disposal is even easier with the undermount style, too.
Important Undermount Sink Installation Concerns
Undermount installation will run you a few more dollars, though, and a professional installation is recommended. The seal of the sink to the underside of the countertop is very important, as you will not want water to insinuate its way into the gap between the sink and counter.
Water seeping through a poor seal can damage the countertop material (wood, laminate) and create the opportunity for mold to form or bacteria to harbor. Neither is wanted anywhere in your house, let alone your kitchen.
There is also the risk of chipping the countertop edge. You will have spent a great deal of money on your granite, marble, or tile countertop, and you don’t want it ruined by a chip on the edge at the sink connection point. While undermount sink installation is best used with that countertop material, chipping risk is considered.
Stainless Steel Dual Mount Sinks
Stainless steel is a common and popular kitchen sink material. Stainless steel sinks can cost anywhere between $100 and $4000, depending on size, basin configuration, etc. As mentioned earlier, the rim will be ultra-flat and serve well either overmounted or dropped in.
A double basin, stainless steel dual mount sink can make a very impactful statement in your kitchen. With a sink disposal installed on the chopping block side, swiping the cuttings into the sink becomes easy and clean, no matter which installation method you choose. The two basins make an excellent impression both in appearance and function.
They are available at all of the usual large DIY stores, and of course, you can find one that fits both your budget and your kitchen at any plumbing supply store, too. They are an easier material to work with for the DIYer because they are much lighter in weight than other kitchen sink materials such as:
- Cast iron
- Stone, such as granite or travertine
A single pair of hands is all it will take for an easy installation. And, stainless steel is a durable material, and that installation can last a good long time.
Stainless Steel Sink Extra Considerations
Two more final words on a stainless steel dual mount sink for your consideration:
- Noise. Stainless steel sinks can be noisy when you turn on the water or place dishes or pots and pans in them. So, choose one that has built-in sound dampening pads that will cut down on the noise.
- Sink grids. You want to protect the surface of the sink from scratches. A sink grid is a good investment to keep your stainless steel scratch-free.
We’ve addressed both of these concerns in previous posts.
When it comes to your kitchen sink, there is a myriad of considerations, each of them important in its own way. Always see the big picture in your kitchen design as it relates to your sink, and refer back to Mr. Kitchen Faucets for helpful tips.