Updated: February 22, 2021 by Lonnie Thomas

What Is a Self Rimming Sink?

Kitchen sinks come in such a variety of materials, colors, styles, number of basins, and installation methods that it can be a daunting task for homeowners to choose the right one.  Stainless steel or granite?  Copper or ceramic?  White or black? 

The list goes on.  Top mount or undermount sink?  Maybe a farmhouse is the right choice.  And is the list as long for a bathroom sink?

We’ve discussed these options and choices in past posts and attempted to distinguish between all of the options sufficiently to help you make an informed choice.  This time, we want to discuss the different names for the same thing and apply them to style, installation, and choice.

Are Self-Rimming The Same As Drop-In Sinks?

No, sinks are not sentient, and they do not have the ability to self-rim.  But, they are made with a rim around the perimeter that sits upon the countertop.

They are also known as drop-in sinks, referring to the manner of installation.  They are “dropped into” the hole cut for them in the countertop.  There is no difference between a self-rimming and a drop-in sink, then. 

A self-rimming sink is designed so that the edges lay on the countertop. It is basically, a drop-in where the sink is placed into the hole in the countertop and then secured and sealed on the top of the countertop.

Self-rimming sinks (drop-in or top-mount) are the most common type of kitchen sink.  That visible lip around the perimeter, resting flat on the countertop, provides a clean line defining the space.  An undermount also has a rim, but the edge is not visible because it rests up against the bottom of the counter.

Types of Sinks and Materials

Stainless steel is the most popular and commonly chosen material for modern kitchen design.  It provides a sleek, contemporary look, especially when it is paired with granite, stone, or wood countertops.  Undermount stainless sinks can lend a more elegant look to your kitchen than self-rimming (drop-in) style of sink. 

A stainless steel sink will last between 15-30 years, while porcelain will last 25-30 years or much longer, with cast iron core porcelain lasting longer than a steel core version.  The stainless steel sink is more affordable, though, and thirty years is a long time either way. 

Are Farmhouse Sinks Self-Rimming?

Farmhouse sinks, also called apron front, can be self-rimming or drop-in, too. Whether double basin or single basin, farmhouse, also called apron-front, sinks can be self-rimming.

Apron front sinks have a lip that butts out from the counter and presents a visible front face at about apron height, and thus the name.  They are somewhat bare around the other three sides and allow for a slide-in installation with the rim above the counter.  Farmhouse sinks can be finished on all four sides and edges, though, and can be installed either above or below the counter.

So, farmhouse sinks can be self-rimming but don’t necessarily have to be.  There is a wide selection to choose from, and you can find them, as well as all self-rimming sinks, at plumbing supply stores and big-box stores.

Different Names, Same Things

Self-rimming, drop-in, top mount all refer to basically the same thing.  The lip around the sink’s perimeter lies flat on the counter edge when dropped in the hole cut for the purpose. 

So don’t be confused.  If you visit a plumbing supply store or one of the large DIY stores and ask for help finding a self-rimming sink, the salesperson will know what you are talking about.