Renovating a kitchen requires numerous pressure-filled decisions – the wrong choices will have an impact for years to come. This is certainly true for the kitchen sink. Style, cost and functionality all come into play. If you’re wary of being a slave to kitchen fashion (and paying for it later), it makes sense to put practicalities first and style second.
There are three types of methods for installing sinks: Undermount / Recessed, Overmount/ Drop In and Integrated.
Undermount sinks, as the name implies are mounted so that the lip of the sink in under the counter. This creates a continuous flow from the countertop into the sink.
- This has the practical advantage of being able to sweep food and liquid directly into the sink.
- Another practical advantage, especially in kitchens where counter space is limited – is that countertop space is maximise as you can work right up to the edge of the sink.
- From an aesthetic point of view this type of installation works brilliantly with sleek, modern kitchen as the sink “disappears” from view.
- However an important fact to remember is that because the countertops edges are exposed around the sink area this type of sink mount is only recommended for solid countertops like granite, stone or engineered stone. Why? Firstly laminates or timbers run the very high risk will absorb excess water which will cause swelling of the work surface.
- Undermount sinks are generally more expensive than drop in sinks.
- Proper installation is critical to make sure that the weight of the sink is properly supported. Remember the weight of the sink full of water and dirty dishes needs to be supported. That said a professional installer will be able to do the job quickly and easily.
- You will need to accommodate a drip tray so it is worth considering having drainage grooves cut into your top for practicality.
DROP IN / OVERMOUNT
These are the sinks that most of us grew up with, albeit with a greater variety available today in terms of material, shape/size and thickness of sink lip.
- The countertops supports the weight of the sink and the sink is easy to drop into a pre-cut cavity.
- As the lip of the sink fits over the countertops the edges of the countertop are protected and easily sealed against water. This makes them ideal for laminated and solid timber countertops.
- The sinks are generally cheaper than undermount sinks as well as less complicated to install.
- With an overmount kitchen sink, pieces of food can easier get swept underneath the edges of the sink and stuck there.
- An excessive lip can reduce counter space, especially in smaller kitchens where this is already a challenge.
- The exposed lip may compromise the “sleek line“ of a modern or minimalist kitchen.
Integrated sinks are made from the same material that the countertops are made from. This option is only available for materials that are flexible enough to be fabricated into the shape of a sink. Think Solid Surfaces (Corian & Staron), stainless steel and quartz (although in SA this is more specialist).
- This integration allows for the ultimate seamless look. There is nowhere for moisture, food particles or condensation to collect.
- These tops are generally the best for complete mould or mildew resistance.
- Solid surface materials can easily have drain board integrated, are durable and stain resistant plus come in a variety of colours.
- These surfaces must be installed by professionals.
- They are generally fairly pricey, especially stainless steel and quartz/marble which required specialise fabrication undertaken by highly skilled professionals.
- Hot pans burn the solid surface materials (although surface burns can be sanded out).