Going Green: Undermount vs. Overmount Sinks

When doing a bathroom, or a kitchen, renovation you have a decision between overmount sinks or undermount sinks. This is a debate that many people have going through their mind as they step into the home center to purchase their new sink. When taking the time to check out the differences, a person will be able to make their decision with much less debate and confusion. 

Overmount Sinks Design

The overmount sink design is the most popular and widely known. This type of design is where the lip of the sink goes over the countertop. The weight of the sink is held by the edges of the sink that is resting on the countertop. It is the easiest type of sink to install.

Undermount Sink Design

The undermount sink is just like what the name implies. Instead of being dropped into the vanity, it is mounted on the underside of the vanity. This type of sink if held in place by strong adhesive. As more people begin to experiment with this design it is becoming more popular. The seamless look to the vanity is great for a more contemporary bathroom or kitchen.

Installation Differences

As already stated, the two type of sinks are installed in completely separate ways. The overmount sink design is the easiest as it simply drops into place. Some caulking placed along the outline of the hole and it holds in place very well. The undermount sink design is a little bit different in that there is the worry about the adhesive failing. When installing the undermount you must use strong adhesive to support the weight of a full sink. Undermount sinks also need to be mounted to much stronger, and more expensive, materials like granite to support the weight.

Tolerance Difference

Overmount sinks can be dropped into any size vanity. They do not have to have a specific size of cabinet in order to be installed. The edges of the sink also serve to protect the edge of the vanity countertop if it is made out of expensive materials. The undermount sink must be fitted correctly in order to have the full basin useful.

Clean Presentation

Undermount sinks take the advantage when a clean appearance is concerned. The way in which they are installed gives the countertop a much better, smoother, appearance. There are no edges that need to be caulked that can trap grime. The lips of an overmount sink form a seam between the countertop and sink where mold and mildew can start.

Undermount Sink Drawbacks

While overmount sinks are relatively maintenance free, with the exception of cleaning and keeping the seam free of dirt and grime, the undermount sink design has some drawbacks. The adhesive that holds the sink to the countertop is not water resistant and can loosen over time. Also, if the sink is filled to the top of the basin, there is no edge to keep it from overflowing.

Cost Comparison

Overmount sinks are not as costly as the undermount counterpart. A sink can start at $100 and be installed easily by a homeowner. The undermount sinks can start at several hundred dollars, depending on the material they are made of, and may require a professional installer.