Kitchen sink is one of the most useful elements in any standard kitchen. Besides its utility, it has also come to be a decorative asset that sits pretty in your place of cooking. This is the reason that buying a kitchen sink requires careful planning now taking into account several factors – sink shape, color, material (cast iron vs. stainless steel sinks), utility and of course your budget.
Though there are several designs available in the market today, most buyers only find themselves in a dilemma while choosing one of the two: undermount and overmount sinks. Here, we discuss in great detail, the features of them both to help you make an intelligent decision on which one would suit your kitchen better. Once you have your preferred type finalized, you may use our reviews of the best kitchen sinks to find the perfect pick
These types of sinks are a relatively innovative concept in the kitchen sink market and are gaining increasing popularity as well. For, these sinks, unlike their conventional counterparts, help utilise countertop space to the optimum. Undermount sinks can be found in stainless steel, copper and composite granite materials.
This is made possible owing to their unique design, which allows them to be comfortably set under the counter, instead of being placed over it. To lendan under counter sink support and to hold it in place, solid cement is used, unlike the countertop ones where the counter supports the sink’s weight, holding it well in place. The sink’s rim has pre-drilled holes to accommodate water lines to fix your pre-existing or a brand new modern faucet.
Now let’s look some of the pros and cons of an under counter sink to help in your purchase decision.
Advantages of Undermount Sink
Undermount sinks may be new but they are slowly becoming a popular choice for most modern kitchens owing to the following reasons:
- Easy clean-up – One of the most attractive features of an undermount sink that tilts the scale clearly in its favour is its easy cleaning and maintenance in daily use. Since the sink is placed underneath the kitchen counter, all food spills and waste left in the dishes can be directly cleared into the sink. There’s no obstruction (the sink edges) between the counter space and the sink. This makes cleaning the counter space around the sink fairly easy and makes the kitchen look neat and tidy at all times.
- Appealing to the eye – Besides the clean-up, the sink itself looks much prettier lined neatly with the counter, almost invisibly merging into it. The edges of the sink don’t seem to hamper the natural beauty of your kitchen counter space.
- Space saving – Undermount sinks, though relatively new, are fast gaining popularity because of the simple reason that they save up huge space on your kitchen countertop. They’re particularly helpful in small homes where kitchen space, particularly on the countertop, is an issue. Undermount sinks are a perfect solution to this problem, allowing the countertop to extend up to the sink, perhaps even more.
- Higher resale value – Undermount sinks don’t necessarily add to the resale value of your home but because they have a customised, elite look and design. Plus, they come as a single block of natural stone or quartz material, which lends them a “designer” look, adding higher value to your kitchen, particularly during the resale of used sinks.
Disadvantages of Undermount Sink
- Leakage issue – There are chances of a possible spill-over in these kinds of sinks because they are rimless, meaning have no edges. As such, avoid filling up the sink with water for washing or cleaning. Water can easily spill out on to the countertop and make the area messy. Besides, the cement seal that holds the sink in place is generally not waterproof. Therefore, coming in contact with water, the cement can loosen up, causing the sink to even fall.
- Difficult to install – Undermount sinks are generally not very easy to install oneself. It’s important that it’s done carefully because the sink needs to be held in place firmly, and if not done the correct way, the sink can even fall. This involves a lot of work either on your part to install the sink or calling a professional to do it for you, which of course means money too.
- Higher cost – Undermount sinks are relatively more costly as compared to their counterpart kitchen sink top basins. Not to forget, they involve additional cost of labour as well in terms of their installation.
These are the conventional sink types which are essentially found in almost every common household. The edges of the sink are visibly placed over the countertop. The heavy weight of the sink is lent support by the kitchen countertop.
Drop-in sink is also known as overmount kitchen sink, self-rimming sink, or top-mount sink. This is because the sink basin is dropped right into the countertop cut-out area meant for the purpose, and the sink perimeter edges hold it firmly in place. Hidden metal clips under the countertop along with a bead of silicone caulk under the edges of the sink are used to hold the sink tightly in place.
Advantages of Overmount Sink
Top mount sink has always been popular and a top choice among kitchen sink buyers. Here’s why:
- Easy to afford – This is one of the most important aspects taken into consideration when purchasing a kitchen sink top and an overmount one clearly scores here. This type of sink is easy on the pocket and also much easier to install as compared to their newer counterpart – the undermount sinks. This is why overmount sinks are the top choice for DIY-installed kitchen sinks.
- Easy to clean – In case of a drop in kitchen sink, all functional areas of the basin are easily visible and accessible too. This means that these sinks can be easily cleaned up as and when needed. Besides, since their edges are placed over the counter, the lip beam of the sink is always visible. In case it needs to be re-caulked owing to daily wear-and-tear, it can be easily done
- Works with all countertop materials – This is another point where drop-in sinks score over undermount ones. The latter cannot be installed over laminate or custom tile countertops. On the contrary, overmount sinks can be comfortably placed over any type of countertop material – laminate, tile, solid surface, composite, and natural stone too.
Disadvantages of Overmount Sink
- Not very attractive – To certain buyers, drop-in sinks may not appeal look-wise as much as their counterpart undermount sinks. For instance, they may not look very pretty sitting over a high-end countertop material such as granite, primarily because the sink’s rim tends to cover the edges of granite, overshadowing its natural beauty.
- May encourage mould growth – The way drop-in sinks are designed, small bits and pieces of food items may easily get stuck up under the sink’s edges. This may at times encourage the growth of mould and bacteria, leading to unhealthy living conditions in the household.
Overmount Sinks or Undermount: Which is Better?
Kitchen sinks are an essential utility space in every kitchen and it’s perhaps one of the prime and most important purchase decisions made when designing a kitchen space. After all, it’s a one-time buy as well since you aren’t going to (and it’s difficult too) to remove and replace kitchen sinks once installed in the beginning. This makes it even more crucial to think carefully before deciding to buy which one.
Now, looking at the pros and cons of each – undermount and overmount kitchen sinks – it’s time to determine which would really be a better and more profitable investment for the long run.
While it’s an individual decision based on sink price, requirement, and space available, it can be noticed from the above sections that undermount sinks are relatively easier to clean, more attractive to look at, and space-saving too. This is in clear comparison to drop-in sinks which can be difficult to clean up at times because of the way they’re designed, not very eye-appealing, and may also use up more countertop space. We’ve compiled lists of the most loved undermount and drop-in kitchen sinks from popular brands like Elkay, VIGO and the german giant Blanco.
That said, it can’t also be denied that undermount sinks are a relatively new entrant into the market of kitchen sinks and because overmount ones have always been there, the latter are still highly preferred. This is because a large majority of people would prefer going in for something conventional and tried-and-tested by millions already, especially when it comes to making one-time costly buys.
This is where drop-in sinks may score over their newer counterparts. Also, not to forget the sink price which plays a very important role here –overmount sinks still cost a lot lesser as compared to undermount sinks. This means that they’re more widely chosen by middle-class households. Also, since drop-in sinks can comfortably work with nearly all countertop materials, they’re an obvious choice over the others.
It now rests on each individual to make their personal choice– undermount or overmount. Whatever you choose, remember that each would require maintenance over time. If maintained well, both may last longer and smoothly in the long run.