Installers and Owners- Can the Kohler Stages sink be topmounted?

scrappy25June 29, 2014

-I have bought this Kohler Stages 45 dream sink already and my layout is based around it.
-After reading about countertop woes after countertop woes I am ready to go back to Formica.
-The Stages sink has a 3/4 inch edge that looks similar to the Vault sinks- nicely finished.
-The lip that holds the integral cutting board and storage trays is inside this 3/4" lip.
-I realize that the cutting tray will not be flush to the counter if the sink is topmounted and that is okay with me.
-the provided clips obviously will not work with a topmount but there must be other ways of additionally securing this sink other than letting it rest on the 3/4 inch edges.

Please comment if this is just a crazy idea, or if you would think that it could work.

Please also comment with ideas about support for the sink from underneath if mounted in this way.

thank you in advance!

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I think it would work if you had appropriate support with the cabinets it sits on if you don't mind the look. We basically used the ledge of our frameless cabs for the rim to sit on and recessed it so it would be flush.

DH attached blocking along the entire back side of the cabinet and routed just enough out of the sides of the cabinets and the blocking so the sink rim can sit on it and be flush. I also added several layers of weldbond to all of the cut surfaces (let dry between coats) to seal from moisture.

You could do this and still do undermount laminate. If you now want laminate why wouldn't you do a normal undermount laminate install using the provided clips?

We just installed ours in a DIY walnut island using the routed technique and as many clips as we could reach and it worked fine. It is my firm belief that if a fabricator has trouble with this sink it is only because they do not have the skills to use the CNC, sharp bits, and are basically unable to do a zero reveal. A good fabricator should have no problem with this sink.

Scrappy, what was your original plan for a counter? I really urge you to not give up on it. You made quite an investment in this sink and you should not settle as it will be a joy to use. Top mount would really not look right and not do it justice. And your install may go perfectly. So many have counter install problems, but this sink does not cause it. It is just different than what they are used to, especially because they need to be accurate.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:15PM
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(Lurking enviously. As always, when the Stages sink is mentioned. Oh, and over that wonderful trough sink too...).

Good luck and please do post a few pictures post install (sorry can't help, but know others will chime in).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:59PM
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I also just wanted to assure you that this install method has complete support. It is structurally sound and cannot fail as it is not free-floating. Please feel free to ask questions.

Here is the finished product.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:35PM
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bbtrix, that is one gorgeous installation! Those walnut counters are amazing.

I appreciate your advice and may well end up with solid surface. I was looking at the lighter granites and quartzites/quartzes and see so many reports of staining or chipping, and my old formica has held up like iron for the decades that it has been in the kitchen. I recently found some blog pictures of installed Calacatta formica with the Idealedge which gets rid of the ugly dark line on the edges, and the pricing is less than $30/ sf for fabrication and delivery. I realize that this is close to some of the cheaper granites, but I don't really like those cheaper granites. The stones that I like are probably averaging $70/sf and of course all the worries about install that we wee posted.

Thanks for sharing your installation method. Can I ask what you mean by undermount laminate? The only undermount sinks I have seen in laminate are the special Karran sinks. Do you think that the provided clips could work on a topmount version for additional support?

Also, what did you do for the faucet holes to prevent water infiltration into the cut wood? I looked up weldbond and the spec sheet says that it is water resistant but not waterproof, and to avoid using it where there would be standing water.

Continuing to explore this possibility, I have found some pictures of temporarily overmounted Stages sinks.


GW member, I can't find the thread sorry

Would like further opinions on supplemental sink strapping if needed, and how to deal with faucet holes drilled directly into the laminate. Is there a special seal or plastic piece available for protection?

thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:04AM
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I am a fabricator

One option, if your fabricator has the necessary expertise and equipment, is to router a relived area into the surface of the countertop so the lip of the sink ends up flush with the countertop surface. With the right equipment this can be done within a few thousand's of an inch. MAkes a very "built-in" look.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Scrappy, I really don't know much about laminate except what I've read and don't know if those methods can be used for your application. There's not much choice for undermounting and I'm not sure if the counter-seal ring method can be adapted to the Stages. Old Ryder's method is what we used for insetting into our sink frame only we did not try to be accurate since it would be covered. Old Ryder, would you use this method with laminate? Wouldn't there be a water issue with laminate or would a sealing method be used similar to the Karran install? The Calacutta formica is beautiful, but I would be fearful of swelling and delamination.

I used the weld-bond as a precaution on all cut surfaces of my cabinet frames since they are mdf. They won't have standing water, but I wanted to do what I could to prevent absorption. I also siliconed all seams and drill holes in the sink cabinets.

The walnut is sealed with many layers of Waterlox, all sides, including sink holes. It will have to be maintained to keep the water protection.

The clips that come with the Stages are attached to the underside of the wood counter and push up on the lip, so cannot be used in an over mount. Have you looked at a sink setter or Hercules sink harness? I believe the counter-seal system also has a solution for the faucet holes. They only sell through fabricators so I'm not sure how adaptable this system is.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:25PM
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The optimal substrate for laminate is particle board. Which can not be exposed around a sink rim. Anywhere there is a seam in laminate is a weak spot for moisture infiltration.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:50PM
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oldryder's method can also be done going low-tech too. Simply plunge cut an MDF jig on a table saw and using the right router and collars, cut the rabbet. I'd do a test or two on a scrap first though.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Treb and oldryder, are you talking about routing out the top of the laminate layer? WOuld that not expose the paper layers and the underlying particlewood that LWO showed above.

bbtrix, thanks for your thoughts on the weldbond. I sigh enviously everytime I look at your walnut :).

I will look into the sink setter and the Hercules, not sure that they are made for such a large sink as the stages 45.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 4:35PM
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"Treb and oldryder, are you talking about routing out the top of the laminate layer?"

I don't know if I'd try that with a plastic laminate top. Maybe with a marine grade plywood substrate and epoxy bonding at the sink cut-out. And absolute religion about wiping up water.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 6:04PM
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can owners comment on the impact of a topmounted Stages sink on the positioning of the accessories? Will a higher cutting board and higher storage bowls affect the functionality?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:55PM
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That would depend on the thickness of your counter material and how tall/short you are. I would like it beacause I'm tall.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:36PM
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bbtrix, I was looking at your picture again. Is your faucet mounted behind the back wood harness for the Stages sink? Do you remember how much room you had to leave between the wood harness and the back cabinet wall for the faucet?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Scrappy, good to hear from you. I wondered how your install was progressing. We mounted behind the harness in the cab frame. There were some issues I'd like to share so you can avoid what we went through. I'll dig up pix when I get home.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 1:52PM
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thanks bbtrix! I sent your picture to my contractor. He is starting demo Monday and cabs will probably go in early Nov. I have decided on solid surface as the best option.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Will yours be installed in an island or on the perimeter? Our problem had to do with the fittings that screw onto the faucet and faucet controller under the sink. My DH had difficulty with the install as it was so tight. Be sure to give your contractor the specs/instructions for all of the fixtures now so he can design accordingly.
This picture shows the reinforced back edge of cabinet and routed edge for sink. I wish we put holes where we originally planned, between top ledge of cabinet and the reinforced area where you see the circles drawn. We were so close to the back of the cabinet it made the install very difficult. I was not able to get shots during the install as my DH was verrry frustrated. He likes it now that it is way behind him. ;)

Here is the underside showing the hole for the air switch. We should have moved the holes about an inch toward the sink.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you or your contractor have any more questions.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 4:12PM
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wow, very helpful, thanks!
I did not realize the cabinet back was so very thin. That does give more space wiggle in if the faucet is set more forward. I do have to say that in your "finished " picture, it looks like you very deliberately designed the faucets to sit on the blond strip of wood!

thanks again

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 7:44PM
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I did design that way thinking it would be stronger. We should have looked at all the pieces of the faucet and thought about the tool access. It worked out ok but not perfect. I would have done it differently had I known.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 7:49PM
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