What is an undermount bathroom Sink: Everything you need to know
What is an Undermount bathroom sink
An undermount bathroom sink is a sink that is installed underneath the surrounds as opposed to an overmount which is installed from the top. This design means that your sink is flush with the counter material, meaning less chance of food debris being caught in between. Aesthetically it is also more visually appealing as the sink does not intrude with the natural material of your countertop as much of it is underneath your countertop. Typically this design is more sought after for those that have a more natural look to their countertop.
Undermount sink vairations
Undermount sinks come in four key variations, allowing you more stylistic changes to your aesthetics. Available in square, round, oval and rectangular shapes, you are allowed more variation to the standard rectangular or square shaped style. In addition to changing the aesthetics, different shapes can help save space depending on the size of your cabinet space.
Both square and rectangular shapes will feel more at home to the standard sink dimensions, giving you more counter space to work with. The more rounder shapes provide the opposite, giving you more sink space and are better for personal washing as it can easily double as a basin of sorts. All undermount sinks are available in these four styles and ultimately which you choose will come down to your space available for install as well as your needs. whereas the more rounder shapes
Undermount sink sizes
Undermount sinks come in a wide variety of sizes meant for a wide variety of tasks. Typically for bathrooms, 10-17 inches is the general range for sizes. Anything larger may not necessarily be practical as that is encroaching on kitchen sink size.
10 inches is the starting point, giving you just enough space to wash your face and complete any bathroom activity you wish. It’s also not entirely comfortable, and that is why, for a small sized sink, you want to aim for anything between 10-13 inches, as this is considered the small variant and can easily give you more room and space available. The reasoning for these sizes is that all undermount sinks need to be installed under an existing vanity, so your cabinet size will determine your options. With the construction of larger vanities or if you have more room available, than 16-17 inches is a well considered large size, giving you the most amount of sink area, but as always, it should be reinforced and supported as a 17 inch sink is quite large and heavy on your cabinet or vanity.
What size undermount sink do you need?
The right sink size you need will depend largely on the space available to you. For undermount sinks especially, your cabinet size will determine what space is available to you. Unlike top mount sinks, undermount sinks need to be supported by clamps and adhesive, so it is advisable that there is extra space to make sure the sink stays anchored. Your use of the sink is also an important consideration, as it may be visually appealing, but if you rarely use your sink aside from simply washing your hands, than a medium-large size may not be the right fit for you. A small basin or bowl would be more appropriate, so it is best to understand your needs before choosing the size sink you need.
Undermount sinks come in a wide variety of materials, each with their own positives and negatives. Undermount sinks are a bit more limited compared to top mount and drop in sinks, but there are still a large selection of quality materials available. The right material for you will ultimately come down to aesthetics, functionality and price.
Copper is considered to be one of the best materials for your sink due to its vibrant aesthetic and quality durability. It is also considered one of the most expensive of any material for your bathroom sink for that reason. Copper sinks are unique in that the material will patina and deepen in color the more it ages, adding to it’s visual appeal. The drawback to copper is most certainly it’s price which is drastically significant compared to something like stainless steel or porcelain.
Stainless steel sinks are quite popular as they are known for being durable, long lasting and very cost effective. For stainless steel, you want a lower gauge steel as this number determines the thickness of the steel provided. The lower the number, the thicker the steel, resulting in a much more durable sink. The only drawback to this material is that hard water stains will show and the aesthetics options are very limited.
A sink material that is has been a classic for centuries, Porcelain sinks come in two variants. One is either pure porcelain and the second is porcelain enameled cast iron. Porcelain sinks have been known to withstand the wear of time and with proper care, can easily last a lifetime. However, this material is very fragile to heavy impacts so avoid dropping anything that might damage the sink itself. Another benefit of Porcelain is that it comes in a wide variety of colors and styles, giving you more flexibility.
Quartz or stone resin, is material that is man-made, constructed from natural stone like quartz and a composite of resin. This mixture gives the sink the look of natural stone while weighing significantly lighter. The benefits of this material is two-fold, since it’s not entirely quartz, it’s much easier to install and much more affordable than a pure quartz sink. Second, it retains all the benefits of natural stone such as it’s durability, excellent heat retention and long lasting longevity. That being said, because it is a man-made material, it loses the unique individuality that natural stone carries since most stone-resin sinks are identical in appearance as opposed to the rough characteristics of natural stone sinks.
A unique sink material, glass offers a visually interesting alternative to other materials on the market. Although not as durable as the other materials, glass sinks are built to be impact and shock resistant. That being said, it is best to be extra careful when using a glass sink as heavy impacts may inadvertently damage the structure of the sink. Glass also is known to go through thermal shock, which occurs when temperatures rapidly change from hot to cold, so be wary of this when using a glass sink for long periods of time. Glass sinks also tend to be a bit pricier for many of the drawbacks listed, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
Undermount Bathroom sink Common Colors
Colors can play an important role in your bathroom aesthetic, changing the mood and atmosphere more than just lighting and decor. Undermount sinks come in a wide variety of colors that will ultimately depend on the material selected. As stated before, each material comes with its own positives and negatives, but it should be noted that with an undermount sink, your sink will be out of immediate viewing range, so you might want a color that contrasts with your counter material. Black is a great color for blending with a more modern aesthetic that pairs well with darker colored bathrooms. Summarily, you could always use it as a contrast to a more vibrant color as well. White serves an opposite purpose, giving your bathroom a more classic and cleaner look that matches well with older bathroom designs. Grey sits in between, providing a strong focal point for your bathroom and allowing it to match both classic and modern design aesthetics.
Undermount vs Top Sinks
Undermount sinks are installed from below, giving you more counter space as opposed to top-mount sinks as they are installed on top of your counter. Undermounted sinks are visually more appealing than top-mount sinks, because their design is hidden from plain view and they enjoy having a higher resale value. Top mount sinks on the other hand are much easier to install as they do not require clamps or extra adhesive to remain stable. They are much cheaper in price, by at least $200-300 and they can installed on laminate countertops. Top mount sinks also come in a wider array of materials whereas undermount sinks are a bit more limited in options.
Pros and Cons of Undermount Sink
Although considerably more complicated to install than a normal drop-in sink, undermount sinks warrant some of the extra work. Undermounted sinks have many advantages over drop-in sinks, and where most of these positives are aesthetic in nature, there are a few practical elements as well.
Pros: Visually pleasing
Since the sink is installed underneath the countertop, your sink looks much cleaner as more of your countertop material is displayed more prominently.
Pros: Cleaning made easier
Since the sink is flush underneath your counter, it makes wiping crumbs and other food particles much easier as you have the length of the counter to just sweep them into the sink.
Pros: More Space
With the sink installed underneath, there is more counter space available to you.
Pros: Higher resale value
As it is much more complicated to install, Undermount sinks hold much higher resale values than drop-in sinks.
Con: More complicated install
Drop-in sinks are much easier to DIY, where as Undermount sinks are more complicated, sometimes requiring a professional installation to avoid further complications
Counting installation costs, undermount sinks are generally much more expensive than drop-in sinks.
Con: Not Compatible with all countertops
While you can install an undermount sink to a laminate countertop, it is not advised without additional insulation installed as the outlying material will eventually get wet and degrade over time.
How much do undermount bathroom sinks cost
Like most sinks, Undermount sinks vary in range anywhere from $75-1,000+ Small sized undermounts have a price range of $75-200, depending largely on the material. Average to medium sized sinks are priced anywhere from $250-500, and finally large sinks start from 550-1,000 and above. Material of the sink will also drastically alter the pricing as porcelain or stainless steel will be much cheaper than copper/bronze or quartz, as be prepared for that pricing increase. Installation costs typically will add anywhere from $100-500, dependant largely on the labor with smaller sinks being much cheaper and larger sinks being more expensive.
Can a undermount sink be installed with laminate countertops
Yes, an undermount sink can installed with laminate countertops as the sink is installed underneath the countertop as opposed to above it, but there are some caveats. Since the edge is not finished, water will make the sink rim wet, and overtime can cause deterioration if not supported or maintained. The sink will not conflict with the countertop layer, but it is important to keep it flush with the countertop so no edges are left exposed. For laminate countertops it is recommended to use a drop-in sink as the edges are not exposed, thus protecting your laminate from future damage.
There are many benefits to undermount sinks, such as high resale value and vibrant aesthetics, but not everyone can support them in their bathroom. They aren’t capable with all countertops, and they require extra considerations than just dropping in a sink wherever you please. So if you are looking at an undermount sink, make sure to measure your vanity or countertop before choosing the right one for you.