how do you clean an undermount sink

swimmer58January 18, 2011

I know this will seem silly and obsessive, but how do you clean an undermount sink? Does stuff collect in the crack between the countertop and the sink edge? Do you get leaks? Does the edge chip when you bang it with heavy pots and pans if you have a stone countertop? I've always had a topmount sink, and am struggling with the decision of which type to go with. There seems to be a better selection of undermount sinks these days. I'd appreciate any input -- Thanks

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There is supposed to be sealing gunk between the sink and the counter, same as with a top mount sink, though on the inside, rather than outside. Yes, you can and should clean it. Just run your sponge or brush or whatever around the edge there. Stuff shouldn't collect there unless you have a big mess. Then you clean it up, as usual. :) Leaks can eventually happen, but if you regunk you're good to go. The edge can chip if you really bang on it. The type of stone determines how hard or easy it is to chip. It's not a constant occurrence, but stuff happens over time. Some stones are much more prone to chipping than others.

I wouldn't be afraid of an undermount sink unless your crew are really careless.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:25PM
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Thanks plllog -- thanks for the info -- I'm still being teased about the corn plant that sprouted in the dish drainer side of my double bowl sink a while back....I'm most definitely not a neat freak (that thing was pretty tall before someone noticed it....), but I can scrub and bleach my topmount sink whenever the spirit moves me. That sealing gunk might not hold up for me!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:33PM
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There is a third option -flush mount. Not top mount, not bottom mount. Eliminates the gunk collection problem.

There is a thin seam which gets siliconed. Wipe it down every day and you will never have gunk!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:43PM
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Had two undermounts, never had gunk. Never heard of it, either, until I read about it here and stuck my head in the sink to see if anything was there. I mean, if you have a copious vomiter in the house, or you regularly butcher whole piglets, I suppose you can get dirt under there. Otherwise, no.

Top mounts are considered pretty dated. They are much harder to keep clean, because the rim picks up some serious gunk; plus there's no sweeping of pig guts--um, I mean, crumbs--off the counter into the sink.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 10:15PM
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I previously had a top mount, but when we remodeled our current kitchen, we went with an undermount stainless steel sink and granite counters.

We aren't the neatest crew and my husband splashes like a toddler in a tub when he does the dishes. And neither of us is careful of the granite (pots, pans, oven roasters banging the edges of the granite) and we haven't had a problem. No leaks around the sink, no cracks or chips on the granite.

Cleaning the undermount is actually easier because I feel like we were always scrubbing where the edge of the top mount met the countertop. This way even if there IS any stuff where the undermount meets the countertop, you don't see it. But when you do one of your "thorough" cleans, you can clean there pretty easily.

Same for where the faucet is mounted...way more effort to keep that area clean on a top mount sink. With the undermount sink, wiping around the faucet / granite area is easy!

Major vote for undermount sink here!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 10:38PM
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Doesn't how gunky the seal gets depend on what kind of reveal you have? What kind is best--positive, even, or negative? Also, not exactly related to gunk around a sink, but definitely related to undermount sinks, what happens if the sink needs to be replaced? Do counters have to be ripped out?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:20PM
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Okay, I started the "gunk" thing. I wasn't talking about grime gunk, but caulk or plumber's putty or whatever gunk it is that they seal the sink with!!! The good thing to have. I think OP got that, but plant growing in sink? I'm not sure that there's any sink proof to that!!! Undermount shouldn't be any worse than any other kind of sink for that (assuming you also wouldn't be wiping down the rim of Pharaoh's flush mount either. Maybe not good in a super humid environment where fungus grows really easily.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:38PM
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collins design

The kind of "gunk" plllog is talking about should be silicone caulk. It's a sealant and adhesive; it helps glue the sink to the stone and seals the joint as well.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:43AM
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How often should we "re-gunk" our undermount sinks? Since we are talking about this...any rough ideas?

And, do you need to "un-gunk" the old "gunk" first?

Just curious.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:52AM
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"How often should we "re-gunk" our undermount sinks?"

A quality caulk (especially silicone) lasts a long time unless excessive scrubbing starts to remove it.

If the joint is tight and the caulking done well (putting caulk on the rim of the sink before tightening it in place and then cleaning up the squeeze out) the seal should last almost indefinitely.
It is not exposed to much of anything except on the sink side to water.

Of course using a knife to try and scrape the joint clean will remove the seal.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:19AM
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