Undermount Kitchen Sinks: Pros and Cons

Undermount Kitchen Sinks: Pros and Cons

Kitchen
Kitchen Remodeling
By Dikran Seferian April 14, 2022

Being the heart of a home, you would want your kitchen to be as charming as it is practical. One of the most crucial features besides countertops and appliances is the sink. This often understated fixture is where you often start and finish with meal preparation. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, a type of kitchen sink you may be interested in is an undermount. These sleek, rimless sinks provide a sense of simplicity to the aesthetic of your kitchen. They are ideal for numerous design styles that focus on minimalism.

As with any other type, you may want to consider the upsides as well as the downsides of undermount sinks. Weighing the pros and cons will allow you to decide whether this feature is the right choice for your kitchen.

Pros of Undermount Kitchen Sinks

There are several reasons why going for an undermount kitchen sink can be a good idea. These include both practical and aesthetic advantages. 

Distinctive Features

A reason why undermount sinks are becoming a common choice for remodels is due to their seamless appearance. Since the sink is installed beneath the counter, its lip is flush against the surface of the countertop. This results in clean lines with a seamless flow that is ideal for a modern or sophisticated interior design style. You can even have the faucets installed into the wall, creating a look that’s both simple and unique. The inconspicuous design of the undermount sink tends to divert attention to other elements such as the colors and textures of your kitchen’s decor.

Undermount kitchen sinks have been experiencing an upward trend in recent years.

Undermount kitchen sinks have been experiencing an upward trend in recent years.

Easy to Clean

Wiping down the countertop when the lip of the sink extends just above the surface is known to be tricky. Food, grime, and debris can easily get stuck in all crevices around the sink. Eventually, you may need a toothbrush to remove the accumulated junk. You won’t have this issue with undermount sinks. Since the lip is positioned below the countertop surface, you can simply wipe the debris right into the sink and rinse it all down the drain. Certain undermount sinks may also feature a built-in draining board to store wet dishes, allowing for a clean countertop that looks clean and smells fresh. 

Trendy But Not Over the Top

Should you be looking to sell your house soon, you might probably want to incorporate design trends that won’t go out of style in a few years. An undermount sink is an ideal example of a trendy design that will maintain functionality and aesthetic appeal even after a couple of decades. Although the floating sinks that were common in recent years have their charm, they might not be practical when it comes to home renovations. The seamless appearance of undermount sinks, however, allows for the incorporation of a new interior design style in the area around it. 

Creates More Space

Undermount sinks are perfect for kitchens with limited room. This is because you won't have to worry about the edges taking up potential countertop space. Using small appliances, knife blocks, and chopping boards can be much easier; you can even have enough space to store small accessories such as a dish drainer on the countertop. Consider an undermount sink if you live in a small apartment, a granny flat, or any home where space comes at a premium.

Small kitchens would benefit a lot from undermount sinks.

Small kitchens would benefit a lot from undermount sinks.

Easy Installation

Whether you’re going for a kitchen remodel or looking to put your house on the market, undermount sinks are a stylish way to give your space a fresh look. Using only a handful of tools and basic skills, you can save a few bucks by installing one yourself. Even if you don’t think of yourself as handy, taking on this project will grant you a good deal of experience in home improvement. 

Doesn’t Require Caulking

Sinks with raised edges will require occasional maintenance due to the grout deteriorating or losing its color. Re-applying grout can be a rather tedious task and you’ll have to wait until the material cures before you can use the sink again — probably not the best way to spend your free time. With undermount kitchen sinks, however, there’s no need to scrub and replace the grout. 

Wide Variety

Undermount sinks are available in a myriad of shapes and sizes. You may also find them in a wide selection of colors and materials. Since you’d probably be using your kitchen sink for several purposes — from washing dishes to fruits, vegetables, and even stained delicates — having a wide variety is a huge advantage. And even though undermount units aren’t very obtrusive in an interior design, you’d still want one that somehow corresponds with the style of your kitchen.

Cons of Undermount Kitchen Sinks

As great as they are, undermount kitchen sinks do have a few drawbacks to take into account. These include a price tag that leans towards the expensive side and incompatibility with certain countertop materials. 

Requires a Specific Countertop Type

Undermount sinks require a good deal of strength and therefore aren’t compatible with all types of counters. Older varieties of countertops are typically composed of tile or laminate. These materials, however, consist of weak points that could make the installation rather tricky. Undermount sinks work best with materials like marble, granite, concrete, and soapstone. If your counter isn’t made of any of the compatible materials, you may need to replace it to be able to install an undermount sink.

What are some of the countertop materials that work best with undermount sinks?

What are some of the countertop materials that work best with undermount sinks?

Not Very Budget-Friendly

In many cases, undermount sinks may cost more than conventional varieties. Undermount units will typically average around $300. You may, however, have to account for other costs. Another factor to consider is whether you want a high-end undermount sink, in which case you can expect to pay up to $800. Should your countertop be made of materials that are incompatible with undermounts, your budget will also have to take into account a replacement for it.

Other factors may include labor costs for having a skilled expert install the new sink. Bear in mind that the professional will have to cut open a custom hole in the countertop. Nevertheless, the upscale aesthetic that an undermount sink provides is definitely worth the investment.

Prone to Mold and Leakage

Besides not being compatible with undermount sinks, tile and laminate countertops usually aren’t a hundred percent level. This may cause water to leak in between the counter and the sink, resulting in the development of mold and water damage beneath the sink cabinet. However, you may not have to worry about this issue if your countertop is made of compatible materials such as marble or granite.

Mold and leakage can create a plethora of future problems.

Mold and leakage can create a plethora of future problems.

Heavy

Undermount sinks are known to be quite heavy. This can be another issue if you have a tile or laminate countertop as it might not be able to handle the weight of the sink unit. In the case of laminate, the counter surface may buckle and droop whereas a tile surface may crack and shatter — expensive mistakes you want to avoid. Undermount units are meant to be installed on stone or composite countertops that are cut and polished to accommodate the sink. 

Risk of Overflow

In certain instances, you may be preoccupied and may forget to turn off the kitchen faucet. Leaving your faucet running may result in an overflow of water — particularly in the case of undermount sinks. This is because undermount units don’t have rims that prevent water from flowing out of the borders. Should you ever find your kitchen flooded with water, the culprit could be an open faucet on an undermount sink. This can pose a danger to the cement that holds the unit. A constant overflow can ultimately cause the collapse of your sink.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian