Undermount sinks- a wee bit reluctant and worried

marvelousmarvinMay 30, 2013

I'm switching countertops to something in stone, probably something like granite. And, when I look at pictures of kitchens with granite countertops, it seems like they're all using undermount sinks.

So, if I get granite countertops, would it not look 'right' if I reused my current non-undermount sink instead of installing undermount sinks?

Are there any potential issues or problems that might sway me not to get one? I heard that condensation will build up under the counter, and lead to mold and mildew? Since my cabinets won't be plywood, I'm also concerned about that moisture damaging the cabinet too? Is that a common problem? Or, is it a problem if not properly installed?

And, are these undermount sinks easy to switch out with another undermount sink? Right now, I might put in a stainless undermount sink but might want to switch it out later.

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marvelousmarvin-I have never heard of that. The undermount sink is one of my most favorite things in my kitchen! We have had it now for 2 years with no issues whatsoever. My vote would be to put one in 100% but that's just me. I can't speak to the ease of switching out.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 6:22AM
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We have an undermount stainless sink and black granite counters. We have never had any problems with mold or leaks. We're doing undermount again in the new house, under quartz. If you like the look, go for it.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:05AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Millions of people have undermount sinks with zero issues. They key to success is matching the reveal with how you clean, and choosing a sink to marry. It's not a trial engagement where you can change your mind down the road. It's a marriage. And while divorce is remotely possible, it's expensive, messy, and risks substantial damage.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:21AM
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As for changing the sink...

Get a sink that actually fits your sink base cabinet without cutting it.

Have supports that are easily removable.

Get a sink base without a center stile. Very slight upcharge .

I have never removed an undermount sink but those items will make it easier if you have to.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:46AM
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If you want the new kitchen to look like it has leftovers from the old, then that's guaranteed if the old sink is reused. I'd donate it and get a new undermount. That said, stone is fabricated to fit a specific sink. Sinks are not easily interchangable -- not even a top mount.

I chose a top mount for my laundry room and it was a mistake. It's harder to keep clean than the undermount and the granite must be pieced around it rather than fabricated for it. Not a good look and not easy to change because they'd need to cut the granite in place. Not happening. So I'm stuck. I wouldn't want to be stuck like that in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:07AM
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"They key to success is matching the reveal with how you clean, and choosing a sink to marry."

Could you please explain this?

I would get a new sink now, not reuse an old one. Both to fit the counter cutout and to keep things fresh and new looking.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Lots of kitchen choices are trendy options; that is, they're just preference. Do you like dark cabinets or white cabinets? Regardless of your choice, the function remains the same.

An undermount sink is not in that category. It is genuinely a "step up" in function from the older sinks. It isn't just a design choice. With no rim, it makes your sink easier to clean. Admittedly, this isn't such a big jump as cabinet-doors-to-drawers, but it's in that same category.

I'm not one to jump on the newest-trend bandwagon, but I'd go with the undermount sink. I've not heard of the issues that concern you. If they were realistic fears, they'd be addressed here. People here aren't shy about sharing their experiences -- good or bad.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:49AM
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Don't do it. I just ripped out my first undermount in granite -- a big honkin' Kohler porcelain. And I will be putting the same thing back, except it will be stainless undermounted in quartz. I was shocked how much the undermount improved cleanliness -- I like the look, but didn't grasp the efficiency. Just the ability to sweep crumbs and flour and dust into the sink is worth undermounting to me. I will never go back, and don't care what the trends are. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:18AM
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My counter fabricator offered only negative or positive reveal, not no reveal. I suspect it's because to have no reveal you have to be perfect and that gives them no leeway.

I'm fully in the positive reveal camp. I want to be able to see what needs cleaning.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Where your sink meets your counter will have cleanliness issues no matter what kind of sink you have. If you have a topmount sink, you already know about cleaning around that lip. If the sink is undermount, cleaning that transition area doesn't disappear. It just looks like it does when you have a negative reveal. You still have to get your scrub brush and brush underneath the lip of the granite and keep an eye on the caulk/granite junction. With a positive reveal, you can see that junction, so maybe it isn't so "out of sight, out of mind." And, if you get the right sink, you can have a cutting board or colander or other accessories that fit inside the granite on the exposed sink lip.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:30AM
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" And, if you get the right sink, you can have a cutting board or colander or other accessories that fit inside the granite on the exposed sink lip."

Or the same thing that simply rests on the granite itself.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:55AM
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We had a Kohler cast iron "tile in" sink under our ceramic tile counter for close to 30 years without a problem. We recently put in a Silgranite undermount with our new soapstone counters. All of our bath sinks are undermount as well. I personally would never want a lip over on any sink, kitchen or bath.

This post was edited by ctycdm on Thu, May 30, 13 at 11:28

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:26AM
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hollysprings has a good way of looking at it.
The issues of mold or mildew is hogwash as well as cabinet damage. If every thing is planned out correctly and proper mounting methods are used you can replace the sink later, but if proper planing was not done it may not be feasible or even possible.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Love, love, love my undermount sink---I think it's my favorite thing in the kitchen. Absolutely no issues with it, and I feel it's much easier to clean the sink and area around the sink with an undermount. We had about as close to a no-reveal sink as possible; the granite extends 1/16" of an inch over the sink on all sides. To clean, I just run a clean cloth around the upper edge (or use one of those antibacterial kitchen wipes to do so). It's much easier to clean there than the overmount.

Frankly, I would have been okay with putting in a good quality laminate for my countertop (although I love my granite), but I wouldn't because I felt had to have an undermount sink---and I was right.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Mold? Mildew? That's crazy talk. Maybe the people having mold & mildew problems are forgetting the critical installation step of caulking between the counter and sink?

We recently demo'd a kitchen with granite and 2 undermount sinks that had been rode hard and put up wet. There was most definitely not a single sign of mold or mildew around, under or near either sink. We installed marble and 2 new undermount sinks. Will never go back to over mount!

Go for the undermount. It's so, so much easier to clean than always dealing with that lip where the overmount sink sits on the counter. You'll be so glad you did.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:41PM
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