sink/countertop question - soapstone - lip or no?

MabiesJuly 11, 2011


Something I never thought of - the templater asked if we want a "lip" - cut countertop slightly larger than the sink to allow a cutting board to sit on top of the sink, but flush with the countertops, KD said most folks don't do this, they feel the lip just collects dust/gunk....

Do you agreet? We are placing templates tomorrow am...

Thanks much!! Karen

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Mabies, I'm deciding on the same thing now. I just templated Friday, and told my fabricator that I wanted a positive reveal (which means the counter is cut larger than the sink, with the edge of the stainless steel sink showing under the counter), but the fabricator talked me out of it. He said that the caulking would show. Tomorrow I'm going to tell him that I want it that way anyway. I've done a little research on GardenWeb and found that the fabricators don't like doing it that way because the caulking line shows and they have to be careful to caulk it perfectly. (they can use clear caulking.)

There's 3 reasons why I want it: 1.) because if the counter is cut to cover the sink (as it was in the past, called a negative reveal), then you can't see if there's gunk under the counter overhang lip, and it can collect and get awful moldy and germy. You'd have to put your head inside the sink to try to look under, which I don't think would be possible. But if you can see it, then you can see where and if it needs cleaning. ...and it would be easy to get at to clean.

2.) If it becomes necessary to replace the caulk you'd be able to see that, and just re-caulk it, rather than wait for water to leak below the sink.

3.) When you are handling pots and pans in the sink, and if they hit the sides of the sink, they wouldn't hit the edge of the counter (because it's cut back). Hitting the edge of the counter, would cause chipping and cracking of the countertop edge, if the counter is into the sink area (especially if it's soapstone or marble). But any counter can chip or crack.

Also, I think it looks more up to date.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 2:26AM
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I'm planning a bit of a positive reveal, not big, for my sinks. I wouldn't put a cutting board in there (wouldn't work for my cooking style) but for some of the reasons Honey mentioned. Also, I think I remember reading that having no reveal can be difficult for some fabricators have trouble cutting exactly, precisely to the sink outline. If you have a little positive reveal planned, a slight difference in the amount of reveal wouldn't be as noticeable.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 3:06AM
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I am planning a positive reveal with a cast iron sink and soapstone counters.
I do like the possibility of putting a cutting board over the sink.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 5:46AM
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I have a flush reveal... LOVE it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 7:48AM
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My counters were installed last Thursday. I initially wanted a slight positive reveal for the cleanliness issue, but I let the template guy talk me out of it. He said after years of being in the business, in his experience the negative reveal was actually cleaner because there isn't a "lip" for gunk to collect on. I took his advice and I am SO glad that I did. It looks clean and sleek and my sink is so deep I don't see how it could possibly get dirty under there (it's only about 1/8th inch negative reveal). Besides, it only takes a second to make a quick swipe with the dishrag to wipe off anything that might have stuck under there. With four kids who are "plate scraping challenged", I'm awfully afraid I'd have had to keep a toothbrush handy to scrub the crack between the stone and sink with a positive reveal to keep it clean. I just don't have time for that!

Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 8:50AM
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I have cast iron with soapstone and a positive reveal. My soapstone edge would be way more chipped than it is without the reveal.I just swipe it withh the sponge when i'm done cleaning up-not a big deal at all. There is no issue with stuff collecting There.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:18AM
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If tnhillbillytoo weren't in beautiful Tennessee (I assume), several states away, I'd think we had the same fabricator. I plan to get a small negative reveal on my granite fabricator's advice. He said that the positive reveal creates a ledge that moisture can sit on, so he prefers negative. His wife and mother, who both have negative reveal, told me that they find it easy to swipe a dishcloth or sponge under the edge.

In fairness, a different fabricator told me that they prefer positive reveal because it chips less.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:44AM
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As of Sat. I have a VERY small negative reveal. So small it's almost flush with my stainless farmhouse sink. My fabricator took a scrap and held it over the sink to illustrate options and explained the pros and cons of each. This seemed like the best option with a gunnel.

Of course, the sink is not operational yet so I haven't actually used it. I don't think daydreaming about using the sink is quite the same thing :) Good luck with the template tomorrow. Please post progress pics!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:24AM
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I would get it cut so as to have the option to have a cutting board or colander down on the sink flush with the counter. It seems every 2nd post is for or against. There are so many little arguments, for and against.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:25AM
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gunk under the counter overhang lip, and it can collect and get awful moldy and germy.

Says who? This whole notion came from plllog, and she wasn't talking about food "gunk" at all. She meant caulk and such. Really, the only way something germy is likely to get stuck under there is if you regularly fill your sink to the brim with pureed pig innards or something.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:35AM
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I'm messy and I have nothing to report after a year of living with a huge overhang around my sink.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:09PM
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Circus Peanut

I dunno, Marcolo: I actually had a negative reveal (overhang) on my last sink (granite counter, stainless sink) and really hated the outright slime that built up under there. And I'm a slob, admittedly, but I do have a German mother and I'm not that bad. Maybe it was just the rough cold underside of the granite that borked me out? In any case, there was about an inch under there that did get icky -- particles of offal, likely, on my dishcloth -- and I hated not being able to see where I was cleaning. And I was forever breaking glasses when yanking them out of the sink.

But david's right, there are arguments both ways. Pure personal preference.

Pig innards aside, I put a positive reveal on my current sinks in order to use cutting boards, and am a huge fan of the sheer utility of that. I have a round one for my prep sink and it gives me extra counter space when I don't need that sink. And I have a half-moon board for cutting/scraping things right into the disposal. Love it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Wow, thanks for the input!! This helps me a ton!

My biggest concern w/ the reveal is that I'd like to be able to use a cutting board above the sink -- we are leaning towards a flush reveal.

It looks like there are choices for cutting boards that extend slightly beyond the sink - does anyone have one that has an edge/ i.e. slightly thicker in the middle , so that it doesn't slide around ?

If I did go with the positive reveal so that the Elkay cutting board will sit as designed on my sink, it seems like the thickness of the board would be less than the thickness of the soapstone, which might be annoying...

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Mabies, I would say the opposite. Never try to buy the exact shape you need.

Cutting boards are made out of wood; this material is easy to sculpt to shape. I did this. I used woodworking rasps and files.

With Elmer's Wood Glue or any other wood glue, you can add little wood squares to the bottom of your cutting board. This gives it feet. This holds it at the right height to match the level of your countertop.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 5:32PM
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tnhillbillytoo/marcolo - how can anyone say that they have no problem with gunk collecting under their negative reveal edge...if they cannot see it?

I never liked hidden places where things can collect (like the under the rim inside the toilet bowl). ~ There doesn't need to be pig innards to get moldy, .. cheese, eggs, beans, fish, even just pieces of spinach mixed with water = gunk. .. Whatever splashes up there, which is ANY food you're spraying of your dishes will build up. And when you swipe it to clean, you DON'T KNOW if you're getting it all... Because you can't see it!

...and all that swiping will wear the caulk down and how would you know if it needs re-caulking....if you can't see it!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 1:34AM
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Lordy. It's not brain surgery. You can certainly lean over and see it if you want to. An overhang on a negative reveal isn't thirty feet deep. And you can easily wipe things you can feel. Or brush them.

I don't get gunk under there. I've looked. All these dangers are theoretical. Any "gunk" is likely to be soap scum. This is just a matter of personal preference, not hygiene.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 12:32PM
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There is a problem, I just ran into, about the positive reveal. I just met with the fabricator and he demonstrated the positive reveal, and now I'm afraid that it makes the sink look too big! I have a 32" x 19" (overall length)sink, I ordered that size, because I have a 36" cabinet (without putting enough thought into size). And when it arrived, I got worried that it is too big, .. and now looking at the positive reveal, it makes it look even bigger!

Does anyone think it's better to change the sink for a 30" x 18" (overall length), or just use a flush reveal, So it doesn't look even bigger!.. Should I be worried about how big this size sink is?? I don't really have the time to waste changing it (would have to ship it). Does anyone feel that this size sink is just too big, and takes up too much counter space, and is it a reason to change the positive reveal that I wanted?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 12:54AM
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I don't think it will look too big. I also don't think the reveal will matter in how it looks to you over time. If you bought the house with a sink like that already in, you'd probably think,"Wow, what a great sink. I can wash big pans in that." (If I were given a larger sink, I'd think "wow, I can wash my dog much more easily in that!")

Go for the function you need. While you are enjoying using your very convenient cutting board (which can be bigger in a bigger sink), you will not be focusing on how the reveal looks.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:59AM
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What does anyone think of this idea: Use a standard negative reveal, but then ALSO put a recessed edge on the top, inside lip of the countertop. The recess (obviously) wouldn't go as deep as the countertop, but perhaps half the thickness. This would provide the desired "shelf" to hold a cutting board or grid, but would avoid any positive reveal problems (real or imagined).
Just think -- in 5 years we could be asking about the stylishness of a cove or ogee vs. flat recess on the inside lip of our sinks. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Thanks so much Ginny, I guess I will keep the BIG sink. I didn't think of it that way, .. but I think you are right, that If I bought the house and the sink was already there, I probably would say, wow what a great sink! (My old sink is 20", it's a big difference for me).

I'll use the positive reveal too. Today I was in fabricators showroom and they had 3 sinks set up, one with a negative reveal, one with positive reveal, and one that was 0 reveal, flush. I had to put my head down into the sink to even see the flush reveal. I also liked the way the positive reveal looked, too, with the stainless edge showing. I'll do a 1/8" reveal.

Mabies ~ what have you decided about your reveal? In your last post you were leaning to a flush.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:37PM
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We are going with a flush reveal... countertop installers are due in about an hour! :-)....

These responses were great! Helped me think through the pros and cons... I love how preferences don't seem to favor on choice over another, but when one is in the middle of this, it really helps to hear from others who have given this a lot of thought... This site has been so helpful, thanks all!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:01AM
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Anyone got a few pictures of the different reveals?


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Yes. Pictures would be good. I'm not sure what the difference in positive and negative are.

Pics would be so helpful.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Oh, i get it. It's funny the things you don't think of when remodeling.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 12:09PM
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overhanging is a positive word for what they call negative here.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 12:12PM
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Interesting: I am leaning towards installing an Elkay EGUH2816 sink ( The installation instructions copied below specify a 1/2" positive reveal for "aesthetic" reasons:

Warning: the enclosed cutout template will create a countertop opening that will expose approximately 1/2" of sink rim ledge. It is recommended that you discuss this with your customer and agree that this finished appearance is the desired effect. Due to the aesthetic qualities of the converging bowl radii, the template furnished with each sink provides the only opening recommended for installation of Elkay undermount sinks. See illustration above.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elkay installation instructions

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 1:10PM
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How do you like the BIG sink? I bought a Franke SS 30 1/8 x 181/8. I guess I got giddy when I discovered that I did not need to live with another SS top mount x 28" ! IT SEEMS REALLY BIG(same reaction you had)
How did the sink (1/8 reveal) turn out ? Do you think flush or slight negative is better to prevent chips around the sink ? I'm leaning towards soapstone....

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:26PM
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