An undermount kitchen sink is one of the most popular installation styles for kitchen sinks for a variety of reasons. Undermount kitchen sinks can give your kitchen a streamlined style that is contemporary as well as beautiful.
With a rise in popularity, there has been an influx of choices onto the market. There are a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials that you can choose for your undermount sink. The options may seem endless, but we will lay out all the factors to help you choose a kitchen undermount sink that works for you.
What is an Undermount Kitchen Sink?
An undermount kitchen sink is one that is mounted below the countertop. The sink must be affixed under the counter with brackets and a silicone adhesive. These brackets are secured by bolts or with an adhesive like epoxy. This mounting style needs a solid surface to support it. Countertops that have weak places like laminate or tile are not best suited for kitchen sinks undermount.
With this mounting style, the edge of the countertop will be exposed to constant water. This means that the best suited countertops to have an exposed edge are those like marble and granite that can be polished and sealed so that water will not be an issue.
Undermount Kitchen Sink Pros and Cons
Undermount kitchen sinks have certain benefits over other sink options. Yet there are some drawbacks that you should consider before you decide if this is a sink type that will work for you.
- Sleek Design – Undermount kitchen sinks create a clean line of sight along the countertops and minimizes visual distractions to present a cleaner look.
- Continuous Flow – There is no troublesome lip along the edge of the sink. You can clean the countertops by wiping the crumbs straight into the sink.
- Easy Maintenance – There is no edge to trap grit from the countertops, so it is easier to maintain cleanliness in the kitchen and sink area.
- Resale – Buyers love undermount kitchen sinks, so it is a good way to increase the value of your home for resale value.
- Cost – Undermount kitchen sinks and their installation cost more than standard drop in sink options.
- Installation – Installation is more difficult for undermount kitchen sinks because the hole in the countertops must be exact as opposed to a rough cut hole that works for drop-in sinks. Also, extra brackets and sealing is necessary for undermount sinks to support their weight and to seat the opening from water.
- Countertop Limitations – Certain types of countertops work better for undermount sinks. These include natural stone countertops like marble and granite. Light countertops are not ideal for undermount sinks.
- Replacement – Because the hole is a custom cut, replacing undermount sinks is more difficult. Choose the best quality undermount kitchen sink you can afford so that replacement will not be necessary.
Undermount Kitchen Sink Basin Configurations
You can find undermount kitchen sinks in a variety of shapes and configurations that will work in both large and small kitchens. There are three main configurations: single, double and triple basin options.
- Undermount Single Kitchen Sink – A single bowl undermount kitchen sink features one large basin. These are a good choice if you wash large pots and pans on a regular basis. This type of sink does not take up as much room as double and triple basin sinks, so you can have a larger sink within a smaller area. Drainboard sinks are effective single basin kitchen sinks as it gives you an area to place dishes that you have cleaned without wetting your countertops.
- Undermount Double Kitchen Sink – A double bowl undermount kitchen sink has two basins that are sometimes the same size, though one can also be larger than the other. This allows you to divide and conquer, washing on one side and rinsing on another. These are large undermount sink options, the smallest of which are around 26” long (side to side).
- Undermount Triple Kitchen Sink – Undermount triple kitchen sinks feature three basins of variable sizes. Often the middle section is small between two larger basins on the side.
Undermount Kitchen Sink Costs
Undermount kitchen sinks carry two costs, the first to purchase a sink and another for installation. Undermount kitchen sinks range in price according to material and size. According to Home Advisor, some of the least expensive materials for undermount kitchen sinks are acrylic, composite stones, stainless steel, and porcelain. These range from $90-$1,500. The most expensive options for undermount kitchen sinks include natural stone and copper sinks. These range from $400-$4,000.
Unless you have some experience, installing an undermount kitchen sink is not a DIY project. Installation of an undermount kitchen sink by a professional will cost between $240-$1,500 depending on the time it takes.
Material for an Undermount Kitchen Sink
Because of the popularity of undermount sinks for kitchens, there are a variety of material options that you can choose based on your budget, kitchen style, and level of use.
Stainless Steel Undermount Kitchen Sink
Undermount stainless steel kitchens sink options have been a staple in home design for many decades because they are attractive and easy maintenance. Stainless steel undermount sinks are also one of the most affordable options that are available. These sinks are not just a budget option for a single purchase, but the fact that they withstand rust, corrosion, heat, and high impact mean that you can keep these sinks for many years.
Stainless steel sinks are available in a range of colors and finish options. Look for sinks that are 16-18 gauge stainless steel for the most durable sinks available. Stainless steel undermount sinks are some of the lightest options available and are easier to mount than sinks made from heavy materials.
Cast Iron Undermount Sink
Cast iron undermount sink is one of the most durable and classic options for undermount sinks available. Cast iron is coated with porcelain enamel to give the sink a silky smooth and durable finish. The porcelain surface is non-porous and durable, so it is resistant to scratching and staining for a period of time. The cast iron base is one of the strongest available.
Cast iron undermount sinks are heavy and require extra structural support when you mount it. Porcelain enamel will stain and scratch over many years.
Porcelain Undermount Kitchen Sink
Both solid porcelain and porcelain enameled steel undermount sinks have a similar appeal to classic cast iron sinks but are lighter allowing for easier installation. Porcelain sinks hold up well over time, though porcelain enameled sinks are more durable than solid porcelain sinks.
Porcelain sinks are easy maintenance, though they are susceptible to damage if you use abrasive cleaners. Porcelain is also susceptible to chipping if you drop heavy objects on it, but it is heat resistant. Color choices for porcelain include both white undermount kitchen sink and black undermount kitchen sink options.
Fireclay Undermount Kitchen Sink
Fireclay undermount sinks are a good alternative to porcelain if you want something more durable with the same style. Fireclay sinks are fired to a much higher degree to create a harder surface. They are scratch, stain, and heat resistant. They are also non-porous which makes them easier to care for over time.
Fireclay undermount sinks have a classic and timeless look, but are limited in the range of size and colors available. They are heavy and require extra structural support to undermount. Fireclay sinks are one of the more expensive options for undermount kitchen sinks available.
Composite Quartz Undermount Sink
Quartz is an engineered stone that is manufactured by combining ground natural quartz with resin to bind the stone together. This creates a surface that looks both natural and beautiful. Quartz works well for sinks because it is non-porous and resistant to scratching and staining. Quartz sinks absorb more sound making them one of the most quiet sink options.
Natural Stone Undermount Sink
If you love the look of natural stone, you can find undermount kitchen sink options in a variety of natural materials including granite, marble, soapstone, and quartzite. Almost all natural stone is porous meaning that you will need to keep sealing the surface in order to keep your sink from staining and absorbing moisture.
Natural stone undermount sinks like farmhouse sinks make a gorgeous statement, but they are also expensive. These sinks are also heavy and require extra cabinet support.
Granite Composite Undermount Sink
Fabricators make granite composite sinks by combining granite particles with resin binders. This creates a durable sink that is less expensive than natural granite sinks. Granite composite undermount sinks are a mid-priced option that gives you a balance of longevity and the beauty of natural stone. These are non-porous, heat resistant, hygienic, and easy to maintain.
Copper Undermount Sink
Copper undermount sinks are a new sink option that are gaining more popularity over time. Copper sinks are non-porous, so they are hygienic and easy to maintain. They are resistant to staining and scratching, and the heavy gauge is resistant to dents from heavy objects.
Copper kitchen sinks are easy to maintain with simple waxing and polishing, but they will develop a patina over the years. The main drawback to copper sinks is the cost as they are often one of the more expensive undermount kitchen sink options available.
Acrylic Undermount Sink
Acrylic undermount sinks are crafted from a strong acrylic resin that manufacturers have made to be durable and strong. While these sinks are durable, this durability cannot be compared to stronger materials like fireclay and stainless steel. This is a light undermount sink compared to other materials which allows for easier installation.
Acrylic sinks can be damaged with the use of certain chemicals. You can also damage the finish with the application of heat so placing hot pans inside the sink should be avoided.
Which Undermount Kitchen Sink is Right for You?
If you still are not sure which type of undermount kitchen sink is the right choice for you, ask yourself these questions.
- What is the general level of activity in my kitchen? If your home kitchen is an active and busy place with many people using the sink, a durable undermount sink option is the best choice. Choose a sink made from stainless steel, composite quartz, composite granite, or fireclay for the most durable option.
- What is my budget? Undermount sinks are not much more expensive than other varieties of sinks, but the installation can cost more. For budget undermount sink options, choose a smaller size and a material like acrylic, stainless steel, a composite stone, or porcelain. These sinks are lighter than natural stone and more budget conscious.
- What material do I like the most? Preference should always play a role in your sink decision if possible. Preference will determine the material you choose as well as the number of basins and the style of the sink including farmhouse sink styles and more conventional options.
- Does the sink I am considering come with a warranty? Some sink options will come with a warranty. This would allow you to try a certain style or material and cover damage or allow you more hassle free returns.
- How many basins will work best in my kitchen? Certain basin styles work better with certain types of food prep and dish washing. Consider large basins if you do a significant amount of large dishes. More basins require a larger area but these help you to separate out food prep and dishwashing.