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A question that we are often asked is “undermount sink versus drop in – which is better?” Our answer is always the same “it depends on a number of different factors”. At Sink HQ our aim is to provide you with the very best advice and the highest quality range of sinks and accessories. So please read this drop in versus undermount sink guide carefully.
There are two types of sinks that you can purchase from an installation perspective. They are:
For a long time, drop in sinks were the only option available. Then undermount sinks hit the market and everything changed. Initially the undermount kitchen sink and the undermount bathroom sink were expensive, but over time, the prices came down and nearer to the cost of a drop in kitchen sink or drop in bathroom sinks.
Undermount Vs Drop In Basics
The most popular type of sink is still the drop in or self-rimming sink. All drop in sinks have a rim that sits on the countertop to provide support. You will need to cut the appropriate size hole in your countertop to accommodate the drop in basin. When you install a drop in, you will use mounting clips to secure it. It is also advisable to use a silicone sealant.
With an undermount sink you have to mount it on the bottom of the countertop and then use a special adhesive and heavy-duty clips to keep it firmly in place. There is a rim with an undermount sink but you cannot see it as it sits on the bottom of your counter.
This means that the countertop edge is exposed right along the cutout and exposed. It is best to install an undermount sink with a countertop material that is solid, such as quartz, natural stone or other solid surface.
You will Save Space with an Undermount Sink
If space is a premium in your kitchen, then an undermount basin can be the best choice for you. The reason for this is that your countertop will extend right to the sink (in fact usually a little more).
Nevertheless, you can choose a drainboard sink (which is a type of drop in sink) as this will save you some countertop space. The drop in kitchen sink with drainboard, used for the preparation of food and draining dishes for example, will extend between 8 and 10 inches beyond your sink basin.
It might seem strange for us to recommend a drop in sink that takes up even more countertop space if there is not much room in your kitchen, but in reality, this could be a good solution for the most economical use of the space that you have available.
It’s Easier to Clean Drop In Sinks
When you install an undermount sink there is always going to be a gap at the top where it meets with the countertop. You need to fill this gap with the appropriate silicone sealant. But even when you do this it is very unlikely that you will close of the gap completely.
Any kind of gap that you leave will soon end up with a buildup of food. This can be very hard to get to when you want to clean, and often you cannot reach it at all which is not at all hygienic. We recommend that our customers replace the silicone sealant with an undermount sink between three and five years.
There are no cleaning problems with a drop in sink as all of the areas are accessible. However, it is possible that the seam used to seal the sink rim and the countertop can experience a dirt buildup. This is not a problem though as you can easily see this area and access it for cleaning.
Undermount Wins with Cleaning your Countertop
It is really easy to clean your countertop when you have an undermount sink. This is a major selling point for undermount sinks. There is no sink lip to provide an obstruction when you are cleaning your countertop, which makes it easy for you to sweep and particles of food straight into the sink.
There are some drop in sinks with lower profile rims, which makes it somewhat easier to clean a countertop. Nevertheless, it cannot match the ease of cleaning offered with an undermount sink. Most drop in sinks have a sufficient rim so you need to swipe around it to clean your countertop.
Easier to Install Drop In Sinks
When it comes to drop in vs undermount there is no question which is the easiest to install. Drop in sinks easily win here. All you have to do is cut the right size hole in your countertop (usually there is a template supplied to help mark this out), add some silicone sealant around the edge of the hole and then lower in your drop in sink.
Usually a drop in sink will come with mounting clips, which you need to install to ensure that your sink will stay put. Most people with a modicum of DIY skills can install a drop in sink fairly easily.
It takes a lot of care and precision to install an undermount sink correctly. You must fit the sink in place and temporarily support it so that you can mark the locations for the clips. Then you have to carefully drill holes into the countertop so that you can install the clips. Finally, you need to add silicone sealant and mount the sink. There is little margin for error.
Drop In Sinks are usually Cheaper
You will usually find that drop in sinks cost less than undermount sinks. We have a fine selection of high quality drop in sinks that you can see here. If you prefer an undermount sink then you can see our high quality range here.
If you decide that you will need professional help to install your sink, then it is very likely that you will pay less to have a drop in sink installed than you would an undermount sink. It takes more time to install an undermount sink properly.
Another advantage of drop in sinks is that you can install them with most types of countertop materials. If you have a laminate countertop, then installing an undermount sink can be tricky as usually the base is not strong enough to support the sink.
An undermount sink certainly looks more elegant and high-end than most drop in sinks do. If that is important to you then go with undermount. We hope that we have answered the question “undermount sink versus drop in – which is better?” for you with this guide.
We have a lot of experience with both drop in and undermount sinks and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. All you need to do is to contact us here and we will be ready to discuss your requirements.