The sink is the most important fixture in the kitchen because most of the kitchen work takes place around it. It is indispensable for carrying out all culinary-related work like prepping, cutting and washing as well as dishwashing for those who do it manually. The high usage of kitchen sinks reflects in the fact that people spend almost 60% time in the kitchen doing some work around the sink. Space utilization and comfort of use must be on the top of your mind during sink selection to ensure smooth workflows across the kitchen that enhances efficiencies. The size of the cabinet determines whether it would be suitable for a traditional drop-in sink or a stainless steel undermount sink that looks elegant and stylish. A cabinet with a 60 cm width is ideal for mounting any sink, including double bowl sinks.
Besides the cabinet size and the type of countertop that influences the choice of the sink, the most crucial factor is the nature of use. Whether it is for light and medium-duty or heavy-duty, that affects the choice of sink material. For versatile use with assured durability and ease of cleaning, stainless steel sinks are the universal choice because it is quite affordable too.
After deciding the sink material, you must think about the style and design, which depends to a great extent on the type of installation. Do you need a sink with a sleek design and clean lines that enhance the kitchen aesthetics, give a minimalist appearance, and make it easy to clean the countertop with complete flexibility in positioning the faucet on the sink? The only choice is an undermount sink.
All sinks are similar in one aspect of installation in that it sits inside an opening in the countertop and undermount sinks are no different. But the sink has a different design than drop-in sinks because it does not have a lip or tip. The sink is installed from the bottom or underside of the countertop and held in place with the help of brackets, clips, and adhesives while the top edges flush completely with the countertop to give a seamless appearance. The sink looks very sleek, and it is easy to clean the surfaces adjoining the countertop.
The absence of lip or crevice in the sink design does not allow any dirt accumulation around the sink. You can wipe away spills or food crumbs directly into the sink with no chances of it getting trapped under the rim. Although undermount sinks are very practical, its installation is quite tricky, and are also expensive than drop-in sinks.
For proper installation of undermount sinks, you need the right type of countertops made of hard stone, quartz, or marble. Why only such countertops are suitable for undermount sinks will become clear as you keep reading this article.
Why are Hard Stone Surfaces Best?
After placing the sink within the countertop opening and supporting it well from the bottom, it requires finishing the surface joints by using epoxy and silicone caulk to seal the gaps correctly to prevent water leakage and give a composite appearance. First, the sink is supported in place, and then a bead of caulk is run around the edge of the sink to fill the gaps and subsequently covered with epoxy coating. Once the caulk and epoxy dry, it hardens and adheres tightly to the countertop, thereby carrying the weight of the sink. Since undermount sinks are heavier than drop-in sinks with the weight increasing many more times when loaded with dishes, it requires a countertop material that can bear the heavyweight and is also water-resistant. Naturally, quartz, granite, marble, and concrete countertops are best for installing undermount sinks instead of laminated or tile countertops.
Quartz and Marble Countertops
Quartz and marble are the most popular materials for countertops because both make kitchens look elegant and beautiful. Both materials are hard and durable that provide traditional and natural looks. The appearance of marble with its unique color and vein patterns is so attractive that it is hard to stay away from it. Although marble can stain and is even prone to scratches and small nicks, it is possible to polish out the defects. The maintenance cost of marble is high because it requires periodic sealing to prevent stains. On the other hand, quartz that looks like marble is perfect for undermount sinks. Quartz is an engineered product made by fusing natural stone with polymer resin and is less expensive than marble as well as it does not require regular maintenance like sealing because it does not stain.
Granite countertops are equivalent to marble and quartz countertops in terms of solidity and durability. Granite is highly resistant to wear and tear and can carry hefty loads. Granite is also a natural stone like marble and available in several colors that gives you a comprehensive option in designing your kitchen and create unique styles. The toughness of granite and its high load-bearing capacity makes it ideal for installing undermount sinks. It is a very hard material that resists scratches and has excellent heat resistant properties too, which makes it very good for countertops. However, like marble, granite is prone to stains and chipping that requires periodic sealing to prevent it. If edge chipping happens, then only a professional can repair it.
Concrete countertops can bear heavy loads and suitable for installing undermount sinks because it is solid and highly durable. It is possible to create decorative surfaces with concrete by tinting and using decorative stone ships to create a unique texture. However, these countertops are prone to chipping, scratching, and may even develop cracks. Staining is a process applied to concrete to make it water-resistant and protect it from heat. Although you can create unique countertops tinted and textured especially for you that are not available from marble, quartz, or granite but the latter have higher durability and outscores concrete countertops.
Your budget determines which type of countertop you choose, but make sure that it has a hard surface like a stone that can bear the heavyweight of undermount sinks.