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Under-Mount Sink or Over-Mount Sink? That’s the Question!

by Ginger Perales

Posted on June 09, 2017 12:15:00 PM

If the kitchen is indeed the heart of the home, then the kitchen sink is surely what keeps it pumping. A combination of style and functionality, a sink is expected to perform for more than just a few years, so it’s important to find the right one. Deciding whether to install an under-mount or over-mount type sink is typically the first step, as the decision can have an impact on other options. The information below can lead the decision-making process straight to the perfect kitchen sink.

Over-mount (also referred to as drop-in) sinks have a visible lip around them, which hold them in place, and “drop-in” directly into the countertop cutout which rests directly on the counter. Under-mount sinks, by comparison, are installed from beneath the counter, and although there is a rim around the sink it attaches underneath the counter and is therefore not visible.

Under-mount sinks offer a high-end seamless look and they blend well with the most popular countertop materials. Today, an under-mount sink installed with granite, marble, or quartz countertops is the most popular choice for the kitchen, although drop-in sinks continue to be installed, albeit at a lesser rate and most commonly as utility sinks such as those in laundry rooms.

The following are common questions and considerations homeowners should consider before deciding which type of sink to invest in:

1. Cost. Over-mount sinks are less expensive to both purchase and install, and although the difference in labor can be marginal, the cost of a drop-in sink is significantly less expensive than their under-mount counterparts.

2. Countertop materials. Under-mount sinks can be used with almost any type of material, including granite, marble, and slate. Laminate countertops, however, are the exception. Laminate countertops have an underlying particleboard base that isn’t strong enough to support an under-mount sink. Drop-in sinks can be installed on any type of counter materials.

3. Counter space. If counter space is in short supply, an under-mount sink will generally result in more available space.

4. Installation. The homeowner can easily install Over-mount sinks. Once the cut-out is made, installing the sink generally takes less than an hour. Installing an under-mount sink generally takes more than two hands and the cutout must match the sink exactly. Additionally, the removal and replacement of over-mount sinks can be done easily and without damaging the countertop. Under-mount sinks are much more difficult to remove and replace.

5. Cleaning. With an over-mount sink, although all the working areas are accessible, the rim sits on the counter and tends to attract dirt and mold. The rim can also interfere with cleaning the countertop. Under-mount sinks allow easy cleaning of countertops as crumbs and spills can be swept directly into the sink and are considered by many to be more hygienic because there’s no place for dirt and grime to accumulate.

6. Quality. Under-mount sinks are typically higher quality when compared to over-mount sinks, due in large part to the fact that they’re designed for higher-end kitchens.

7. Resale Value. By itself, neither type of sink is going to significantly change the resale value of a home, however, when considered as part of a highly sought after designer kitchen, an under-mount sink is more desirable.

In summary, while over-mount sinks may be more traditional they do have their advantages, including, easy installation and removal regardless of the countertop material, and in addition to being affordable, as the “standard” sink there’s a wide variety available. The disadvantages of over-mount sinks are generally related to their cleanliness. Under-mount sinks, by comparison, offer a sleek modern look that works in any kitchen, and they are easier to clean. However, under-mount work well with natural stone countertops and will attach your under-mount sink for you during installation.