Sink. It’s a heavy word. Think of the Titanic, of the earth suddenly opening up to swallow a home, or of hearts dropping in disappointment. Yeah, it has some bad connotations. But in kitchen and bath designs? A sink can be gorgeous. It can even serve as a statement piece. Right now, the queen of them all is the undermount sink.
Bye-bye, crumbs. Hello, space.
Because undermounts are installed from underneath instead of dropped in from above, they have invisible seams. They eliminate the usual crevices where crumbs and gunk tend to collect with other sink styles. So, when wiping down countertops, you can sweep the detritus right into the basin. Undermount sinks also increase counter space and give you more choices about where to place your faucet. Design-wise, they play well with just about any décor.
They do not play well with all countertop materials.
Undermount sinks are attached on the underside of the countertop using a combination of silicone caulk and epoxy. The super-strong bond prevents water seepage and allows the heavy sink to hold a substantial amount of dishes, pots, pans, and water without breaking loose. But this only works if the sink is attached to a solid, weight-bearing, and water-resistant countertop material. The best choices are marble, quartz, granite, soapstone, and concrete. Laminate or tile countertops can’t take the weight.
A little extra TLC goes a long way.
Undermount sinks do take a little additional TLC. You’ll need to regularly check on the caulking/epoxy for signs of cracking. The best way to stave off cracking is to wipe down the caulking with a dry cloth after you use the sink. And if the caulking gets really dirty, scrub it with a dab of mineral spirits. If you start to see cracks, it’s time to freshen up the caulk/epoxy (after removing the old stuff, of course).
Because of the work involved with installing them, undermount sinks can easily become a relatively pricey investment, but an investment is truly what they are. They don’t just give the room a premium look. They give it premium functionality. And we’ve found that most homeowners find the investment worthwhile.