Undercounter Stainless Sink With Laminated Counter

nerdyshopperMarch 26, 2010

My wife prefers laminated counter tops to granite or quartz. We have found a new pattern in Formica that very closely resemble granite. The problem is: she also likes stainless steel sinks and especially undercounter ones. So how to accomplish this? I have thought up an approach which is to use a Corian top on only the cabinet that houses the sink, and mounting the sink under it. the laminate would extend to the lip of the sink opening, over the Corian. This would take some routing to do and even then I'm not sure an installer would be capable of doing the fitting. I'm wondering if anyone reading this can help decide if this is reasonable to try.

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salal_08

A friend of mine just did her countertops in a granite like Formica and on the edges of the counter and inside the sink they used Corian. Just on the edges, looks amazing. She ended up using some pieces of Corian for a backsplash as well. I have also seen articles in kitchen magazines for doing an under-mount with Formica alone. I'm sure your countertop people will know about this. If you want a picture of my friend's sink I can get you one.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:08PM
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kristine_2009

Many people use the counter seal method I have been told. Link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: undermount to laminate

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:11PM
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christmasbaby

Check out this link and see if it is what you need. I have not used this product, but have been researching it

Here is a link that might be useful: Undermount sink with laminate counters

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:11PM
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kristine_2009

I should also mention, Karran sinks can be undermounted to laminate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Karran

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:15PM
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kristine_2009

Ok..forget the Karran, I forgot they don't make stainless. Lansen makes a stainless to undermount to laminate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lansen

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:32PM
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writersblock

Another possibility is to use a micro edge type sink. Not really an undermount, but it doesn't have the big bumpy edge, either.

Here is a link that might be useful: micro edge

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:57PM
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kimkitchy

This thread is an education in sink options for laminate! I learned about 3 things I didn't know about already. Thanks for posting this question.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:29PM
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sdionnemoore

I, for one, would love to see pics of the laminate with corian edge. Recently turned on to the new Formica FX180 (or is it 180FX?), I was going to go for it but just got the call yesterday that they couldn't do it in the bullnose edge because I have a bump out. Nor could they do it around the bar for this reason. I don't profess to understand why they couldn't do it, but, man, I was so disappointed.

If Corian would solve the problem somehow, then I'd look into it. So, please, post those pics!

To the original poster, the only problem I saw with the undermount sinks was that the thickness of the laminate, or should I say the lack of a thick lip that you would have with quartz or granite, made the undermount edge look funny.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:56PM
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nerdyshopper

Thanks for all the responses so soon. I thought I had set up my post to inform me if I had any responses but that didn't work so I'm late reading them. I should have said that I already took delivery on an undercounter stainless double sink that seems very wonderful. That lets out products like "Counter Seal" because it uses a Corian type surround ring that is especially made for one of the sinks they sell. None fit our sink. I called the factory and they said that it is extremely difficult to make and they need to be sure of a large market if they go to the expense of designing and making one. Also designs that rely on special sinks that seal to the countertop are also out for us. I am reading the Lansen link posted by Kristine 2009. That has a very detailed procedure that will help me with my sink problem. Thanks to you all. I will let you know what the local contractors tell me, if any of them can do this project.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 3:46AM
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salal_08

Here are the pictures of the Formica countertop with Corian edge. It did not require a particular sink to do this.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 6:05PM
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desertsteph

salal - what's the name of the formica? i love it! is it corian around the backsplash also?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 8:43PM
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pinch_me

My carpenter undermounted my farm sink to a Formica counter. Time will tell if it works. When I first started on this forum someone had posted that there was a person who had used old Corian as the under lay. I bought some at the Restore to use but my carpenter assured me the underlay he used would be OK. My sink and counter are sealed very well, I might add. I've only had it for a couple of weeks but so far, so good.

That pretty Formica looks like Wilsonart Sedona Bluff or Sedona Spa.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:47PM
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sdionnemoore

Interesting.Could you ask the person for details about installation of the sink. Is there actually a corian countertop underneath the laminate, or is there a ring of corian cut out to the shape of the sink, then the laminate, corian and sink are all pressed and sealed together?

The Corian edge is a easier to figure out, installation-wise, but did they simply order a piece of corian 1/2 thick and 2 inches wide to go all the way around the countertop?

Thanks for the pics! It looks nice together.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:03PM
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nerdyshopper

Thanks for the pics salal, they seem to be doing exactly what I had in mind. I think the normal Formica laminate mount is to 3/4 inch plywood or particle board. To make the area around the sink at the same height as the rest of the counter, but in Corian, would require some 3/4 inch thick Corian. That stuff is very pricy. I can get 1/2 or 1/4 thick scraps on line at a good price. Then the installer would have to laminate a 1/2" piece to a 1/4 inch piece. I found a product that is made for this purpose, but they usually are talking edges, not entire sheets. I would be interested to know the details of the construction of the countertop in your photos.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 2:26PM
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buehl

The previous picture reminds me of the countertops with the wood edging. But, the solid surface should wear much better!

Here are the Micro-edge & Counter-seal (also using solid surface) options:

(The links were already provided by others previously)

Note that the Counter-seal method uses solid surface, just without the added countertop outside edging (in case you don't like that look).

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:22PM
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salal_08

The Formica is called Yellow River #3468 and has a 5' repeat. The cabinet guy's wife liked it so much he's putting it in their kitchen too. My friend says there is no Corian underneath the Formica. They used the sink and the sink template to mold the Corian. For better information, you should speak to Randall, the countertop guy that did it. He's at Countryside Designs in Cowican Bay, B.C. 250-743-1244

Here is a link that might be useful: Formica Granite

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:31PM
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live_wire_oak

Laminate is just layers of paper with a printed design under plastic over partical board. The only part that is water resistant is the plastic. There are zero circumstances under which I'd put an undermount sink in a laminate countertop.

The Karran, if you've ever watched their how to videos, is only waterproof by the barest skin of it's teeth. One chip, and it's done for. The counterseal is only as good as the fabricator and the glue used to assemble. There have been a couple of cases where the seam wasn't done properly and the whole thing rotted out. That's the chance you take doing any undermount with laminate. The seams are the weakest point, and they are right around the sink, where the water is. It's not a good bet to take.

If you really want an undermount sink, your best bet is to move up to some type of solid surface and do it properly. Laminate and undermount is just not going to be reliable long term.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:54PM
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nerdyshopper

I prefer the pattern of the new Formica fx150 laminate better than any hard surface except granite. There the patterns of nature are unsurpassed. However the initial cost for the best patterns can be very expensive. My wife feels that laminates feel warmer and somehow less hard and dense (a cup would probably break if dropped on such a counter). So my start of this thread was to see if anyone had used scrap solid plastic to build up a waterproof counter that was covered in the laminate. I know all about the problems of water, rot etc. I just thought the photos that salal posted were what I had in mind. I don' t know how the edges I see were done without the plastic underlayer but if it isn't then I can't use it. My current idea is to get 1/2 inch thick scrap about 40" by 80" and cut it in half. Then laminate the two halves using an epoxy glue. When finished the piece would fit the base cabinet that holds my sink. I would then route the edges of the slab enough to fit into the cabinet at a height matching the particle board or plywood used under the rest of the laminate top layer. The sink pattern could be cut out of the solid surface before the laminate is attached and the edges routed and polished normally. After attaching the laminate the sink hole would be cut in it and the sink fitted. The edges of the counter and the sink would be made of the slabbed solid surface. If I have enough left over, I would use it the make all the edging (such as bullnose) for the counter. Does this sound reasonable?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:33PM
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Sophie Wheeler

It sounds needless complicated and expensive. More expensive than just an inexpensive granite would be. Look at granite. Or look at the new Corian colors with some directional movement. Those are "soft" and you can have a stainless sink undermounted to them. Sounds just like what you want.

You're trying to reinvent the wheel and the wheel is perfectly round and rolls just fine the way it is. A top mount sink works just fine with laminate if properly sealed. An undermount sink works just fine with a solid surface. Decide if having a laminate countertop is more important than having an undermount sink, and then you've chosen your flavor. You don't mix pepperoni with chocolate ice cream though. You either like the pepperoni on the pizza or you like the chocolate ice cream on the cake.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:56PM
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desertsteph

i don't know how you'd make the seal yourelf. that company makes them to fit their sinks. maybe other sinks too.

i watched some videos on youtube last night... I'll stick with a drop in sink. people complain about crud around a drop in sink. I'd worry more about crud building up in an undermount. with a drop in i can easily get to the edging w/a tooth brush. had 'em all my life and never had a problem.

that counter looked a lot more orangey than ylw river does on the formica site. is it that orangey irl?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 12:54AM
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kristine_2009

I know exactly how you feel. I longed for a way to undermount a Blanco sink to laminate (fx180). I just didn't want a drop in sink and DH didn't want to spend the extra $$ for granite. I live in the midwest and there just are not cheap granites here like people on the coasts can find. I finally found some ubatuba granite for $50 sq ft and that is what I finally went with. It costs us $1100 more than fx180 would have with a Karran undermount sink. We are very happy with our choice. I love my Blanco sink and would not have been happy with anything else. There is a guy that I found on the internet. He says he can undermount any sink to laminate. You could check with him possibly. This is one of his pics showing fx180 with a ss undermount sink.

Here is a link that might be useful: undermount to laminate

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:42AM
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salal_08

Nerdyshopper, you really should call Randall, I'm sure he would be pleased to have such notice of his work and would be happy to tell you how he does it.

I don't think it's a bad way to go at all and well worth the risks involved. You really can't beat Formica for function. It's not hard, cold, or high maintenance. With the Corian edge you get an up to date look with a touch of high end. My friend said it ended up being their only option because they didn't want any seams around the sink -- that island is what I think they call orchestra shaped.

I spent a fortune on Richlite because I wanted something different from laminate this time but, in spite of it's many fine qualities, it would appear that it is indeed high maintenance.

The Yellow River isn't orangey irl, it's more of a dark coral.

good luck NS!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 1:21PM
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nerdyshopper

salal, I have telephoned both shops you mentioned and left messages. So far neither has returned my calls. I told them where I was located so both knew that there was no possibility of a direct sale to me. It might just have been expecting too much to ask them to help a distant stranger solve his problems. Of course, one may call me when he gets time.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:37AM
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