Undermount kitchen sinks are rapidly becoming more common in kitchen remodeling plans than traditional top-mount bowl sinks. Made in a variety of sturdy materials, they really add pizazz to a renovation that includes granite countertops. The sinks are functional and stylish. And you can sponge countertop crumbs straight into the sink without fuss.
I like how they slide under the countertop, giving it a modern appearance. But once you decide on having one installed, be sure you like the look and function of the faucets, since it will cost you to have them changed out after the work is done.
Proper Sink Installation Is Critical Home improvement writer Tim Carter says an undermount kitchen sink should deliver years of trouble free convenience--if they're installed correctly. Having your contractor secure the sink with high-grade epoxies and water-resistant silicone caulking can make all the difference between satisfaction and a lifetime of leaky troubles.
Your installer, Carter adds, must make sure the underside of the countertop is free of dust, otherwise the silicone caulk may not seal effectively. Installation can take as little as a half hour.
Solid Countertops Only You should not consider an undermounted kitchen sink if your new countertops are composed of laminate. Eventually, writes Do-It-Yourself columnist Murray Anderson, the laminate countertop would buckle and crack. Depending on the manufacturer, you can buy countetops that are pre-drilled for installing undermount sinks.
Prepping the sink for installation is known by tradespeople as "dressing" it. The dressed sink has its faucet and drain assembles already installed and is ready to be set into the countertop.
Depending on the model, the sink may come with a measured template that you or your installer can use to cut the right shape into the new countertop.
Buying Undermount Sinks There are plenty of online or physical showrooms where you can shop around and compare prices. I found models ranging from $180 for a single-bowl, undermounted sink, to $480 for a double-bowl model in stainless steel.
If you plan on installing it yourself, get plenty of assistance, says Overstock.com, as the sink and countertop sections may well be too heavy or ungainly to handle alone. You'll need to pay loving attention to the edges of the counterop, prepping it with sandpaper or a file to ensure a clean surface for the sealant as well as its sharp looks.
The sink tightens into place with fasteners under the fitting. Stand back and look at the clean lines and sparkling sink.