davidro1, sabjimata - Why more counter overhang?

jmcgowanMarch 6, 2012

I am looking at my kitchen cabinetry shop drawings to make final tweaks. I'm in the stage of "oh no...is there any great idea that I forgot to consider?" -- a problem when one reads this forum and becomes TKO.

I was looking at some old but good posts, including this one, Biggest Regret.

In this post, sabjimata stated she wished she had an inch more overhang all around her countertops. Davidro1 also mentioned this in a post.

What overhang is recommended (other than the typical 1 inch)? And, what's the rationale for a larger overhang?


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I'm not either of those folks, but the overhang is measured from the cabinet box, and unless you have inset drawers, will barely stand proud of the drawer fronts and doors (which are usually 3/4" plus any bumper). Anything dripping off the counter then drips down the whole cabinet front. If the overhang is a little deeper, any drips just go to the floor without the mess on pulls and wood panels. My overhangs are almost 1 1/2" so they're a little over 1/2" beyond my doors and drawer fronts.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Thanks rhome410. Got it now. I am going with inset cabinetry, so I wasn't thinking of it this way...just that it would be 1 inch past the outer edge of the cabinetry.

Now I wonder if I need to adjust since I will have a furniture base that stands proud of the cabinets....thoughts?

Furniture base like this:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Hmm. That's so far down... Sometimes drips have a mind of their own over a distance. ;-) How far does that trim stick out from the cabinet face? It'd be a reasonable idea, perhaps, to try to clear that, but at the same time, you don't want to make the countertop look ridiculous and out of scale with the cabinet.

I hope someone with inset cabinets, and especially with furniture trim like that will check in and help out!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Generous overhangs are great for the reasons outlined above by rhome410, but make sure you consider them if using an undermount sink. Our countertops have a generous overhang, but I find that this same overhang also places me too far away from my sink. Obviously this won't matter if your sink is not an undermount, or if you trim back the overhang at the sink. Just my 2 cents worth, based on my experience.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:25PM
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When you have a furniture base like that, a deeper overhang will help prevent you from scuffing it a little. It will keep your center a bit further back. I'm not sure that's a big advantage or nothing and might be offset by the distance you might be held back from the sink.

Your picture shows additional overhang. I wish I had another 3/4" at the prep counter as the flour seems to have a distinct preference for diving off the front.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:32PM
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i believe the flush look will be dated one day. Overhanging countertops are great. People go to great lengths to have corbel-free overhangs. An inch or two more overhang everywhere is great. I paid to have a fancy edge. They had to flip the stone and polish the underside. To each his own. I'm cheap about some things and I spend money on other things. In my bathrooms I have wall hung toilets with the tank behind the wall. To each his own. I think that cheap countertop fabricators don't want you to get fussy about the polishing on the underside, because it adds more cost to the job, and it might make you hesitate about buying and closing the deal. They just want to get a few thousand out of you, today. When my chosen fabricator delicately mentioned the price objection I told him to smarten up and tell me his costs, not to be so timid about it. I paid. He did what I told him to do. Most people are not like me, and don't have my approach.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 12:19AM
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jmcgowan - I think you've gotten a good summary of the tradeoffs involved. At some point you'll have to talk with your fabricator about this. Mine really, really balked when I said I wanted a 1.5" overhang to clear that additional depth added by the drawer fronts. I said it all along but evidently he brushed it aside. When it came time to cut, he was surprised and tagged on extra money for the additional yardage involved. [insert rolling eyes emoticon here].

This should have been a tip off to me to keep looking.

But it is also another of the tradoffs, on the positive side of the ledger, I think. Additional overhang does give you more countertop acreage; I like that. Do pay attention to the result around your sink. There was some discussion a while back about how a farmhouse sink with its in-your-belly apron and no intervening countertop was especially good for your back. I don't really buy that argument, but it does illustrate an end-point in it. Farmhouse sinks will pull the sink itself and its faucet about as physically close to you as it can go. From there you can wind up with a really quite offset sink if the intervening countertop becomes very expansive. For me on my island it is: but I actually like it; it's a mini-ledge that I find really useful for filling and balancing pots. So far the additional distance I have to lean over for the dishes doesn't bother me; heck they make you pay money for that sort of exercise in gym class.

So there are some legitimate choices to made about all of this. If you're worried about drips from the countertop onto the fronts of the drawers, do pay attention to the profile of your countertop edge as well too -- another decision, another story. ;)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 12:49AM
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I have 1.5" overhang everywhere except the front edge of my peninsula because my drawer micro takes up some of that distance. I agree with aliris, it does give you a little more countertop real estate and I like that aspect also. Especially because my kitchen is small with not a lot of counter space and I need all I can get. More overhang (within reason) is better than less, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 1:12AM
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Thanks for all the replies! I definitely am going with an overhang, and it's supposed to be 1 inch at this point. I'm waiting to hear how far the furniture base projects, but I think it will be about 3/4 inch. It will be good to avoid the drips and flour spills. At this point, I'm wondering if I should keep the overhang as is or add another quarter inch or so....

My island is going to be very large and it's important to me to keep my aisles at 42-48", so getting more counterspace isn't critical in my situation, although I can see how this would help in many cases.

Davidro1, glad to hear your feedback. I'm with you, I'll pay for what's important to me. Also, good reminder to see if I need any undersides of the counters "finished."

Aliris19, I'm putting in a farmhouse sink on one wall for clean up, and an undercounted stainless in the island for my prep sink. When I was pregnant and even recently, I've found that my back does hurt while working at sinks at friends' houses. I'm thinking it's a combination of being inset more than I'm used to plus the sink depth (10 inches plus). My plan is to go with an 8 inch sink depth and right corner rear drain based on reading feedback on this site (including farmgirlinky) and talking to Dino Rachiele. Hoping it turns out ok.

Now, another research project on the horizon -- countertop edges -- fun, fun.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:07PM
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for the normal human, a 1 inch overhang is 1 inch from the front of the door or drawer front, and this door or drawer front is about 0.75 inch from the front of the cabinet.

jmcgowan you have to state whether your 1 inch is this, or not. The closer one gets to ordering a countertop the more one becomes trained to specify the distance as being from the cabinet (and not from the visible front of the cabinet door or drawer front). It just happens. It's a gradual shift in thinking.

The industry never talks about the overhang as a distance from the physically real front panel of the end user experience. This is unfortunate but true.

So, your stating X distance overhang is confusing. The confusion happens all the time, in millions of discussions. This is one reason why people always end up with less overhang. I think that last-minute corrections make the average human retreat from their initial position and allow themselves to be sold a smaller overhang than they wanted.

No one has ever posted to complain they got too much overhang on their countertop.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:51AM
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People have posted to complain that they have to lean more than they'd like to wash their dishes, though.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Davidro1: you mentioned getting the underside of your granite polished--is there a reason for this?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:15PM
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These posts remind me that I need to work extra carefully with the fabricator and my GC to ensure we're all on the same page...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:23PM
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when standing at the sink, if you are of typical size and shape, your thighs touch the cabinets before the overhang becomes a serious obstacle. You also need a toekick space or else you have real problems hanging over a sink.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 1:04PM
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