Having to remodel your kitchen means you’re also thinking about replacing your sink and starting new. You have plenty of styles and options to choose from, but more important to consider is choosing whether you want a kitchen sink that’s undermount or drop-in. What’s the difference and what’s better for you? Here are some factors to consider before you buy.
What is a Drop-in Sink?
A drop-in or self-rimming sink, as the name implies, is ‘dropped in’ into a cutout on a countertop. Drop-in sinks are designed to have visible rim edges that rest on the surface to transfer the weight of the sink to the surrounding countertop.
What is an Undermount Sink?
Undermount sinks are also named after how they are attached. Undermount sinks attach below the counter with a combination of adhesives and anchors to support their weight. The rimmed edges of the sink are hidden by the countertop extending over its perimeter.
Installation - What’s Easier to Install?
Drop-in sinks can be installed by one person since they are dropped in from above the surface. Once a bead of caulk is applied around the perimeter of the cutout, you can drop the sink into the hole and secure it from the underside with mounting brackets.
A more precise installation needs to take place for undermount sinks, however the concept stays the same (secure with adhesives and mounting brackets). In order to attach the undermount sink, it needs to be fitted in place and supported temporarily while the locations for clips and mounting holes are marked and drilled. The sink must then line up precisely with the cutout under the sink before being caulked and mounted. A more complex level of installation is needed for an undermount sink but it results in a cleaner cut design.
Visuals - What Sink Looks Better?
Having a countertop extend seamlessly along the edges of the sink looks visually pleasing, making it a high-end look for many modern kitchens. And when it comes to upgrading with the latest bells and whistles, undermounted sinks should be considered because they can impart a higher resale value to your home than a regular drop-in.
Cleaning Kitchen Debris
Whether you’re cleaning up crumbs or liquid spills, cleaning up countertop messes is as easy as wiping them directly into the sink. However, undermounts do a better job of making it easier for you. The lip of a drop-in sink is attached over the counter, forming a barrier that can catch debris as you wipe towards the sink allowing bacteria to build up. With undermount sinks, wiping down is a seamless process as spills go directly from the countertop into the sink without obstruction.
Which One Allows For More Counterspace?
Because undermount sinks have the lip hidden underneath, your counter extends all the way to the sink, giving you extra space to work with. You’ll only lose an inch or two of space with a drop-in because of the rim, but if you’re working with a small kitchen, you’ll want to save as much space as you can. For that, an undermount is the more practical option.
What’s More Cost-Effective?
You will find that drop-in sinks come with more options and are usually the least expensive choice. Moreover, you can cut down installation costs with a drop-in because they are far easier for DIY installations. Undermount sinks can cost more because they require extra help from a precise installation and because damaging the countertop is a real possibility.
What Sink is Compatible with my Counter?
The type of counter you have also matters when considering what type to buy. Undermount sinks work with premium stone countertops like quartz or marble because they can support the weight of the sink. Avoid installing an undermount if you have a laminate countertop as the structure of the material cannot handle a heavy load. Drop-ins, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and are compatible with a wider selection of countertops (laminate, quartz, natural stone, etc.).
Looking for the right undermount sink for your kitchen renovation? Visit our kitchen sinks page - we’ve got plenty of options to browse, from single to double bowl sinks.