Pros and Cons of Undermount Kitchen Sinks

Shannon Llewellyn
Reviewed by Jeff Botelho
Updated October 4, 2021
Woman washes grapes in kitchen sink
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Undermount sinks add an aesthetic appeal to many kitchens—but may not work for everyone

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Looking for an easy, inexpensive weekend project that will upgrade the most essential room in your home? Undermount sinks add sleek simplicity to the look of your kitchen that promises to be on-trend for years to come.

The Pros

Easy to Install

Whether you’re preparing to sell or just want a kitchen refresh, undermount sinks are a chic and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade with a few tools and even fewer years of experience. Installing it yourself is also a great way to save vs. splurge on an overall kitchen remodel. Even if you don’t consider yourself handy, an easy project like this one can transform you into a home improvement superhero. 

All you need to do is wipe the space clean where the sink meets the countertop with denatured alcohol and a clean cloth, then screw in the clips that will press the sink underneath the counter.  Apply sealant around the edge of the sink and line it up with the sink opening to form a watertight seal. Clip the sink to the countertop and allow the sealant to dry.

Gives You More Countertop Space

If you have a small-ish kitchen, you already know that counter space is always at a premium. Those bulky drop-in sinks with the lip that rides over the countertop can take up valuable perimeter inches where cutting boards, plates, or pans could easily rest over the edge of an undermount sink for a quick and easy cleanup every time.

Easy to Clean Around

Seamless sinks have distinctly clean lines that make for easy counter wiping when cleaning your sink and the area around it because everything gets wiped right down the drain. Drop-in sinks have that lip around the perimeter that catches water and grime that seems to keep reappearing, no matter how often you wipe it away.

No Caulking Necessary

Those raised sink edges also require periodic maintenance when the grout deteriorates or becomes discolored. Re-applying grout is tedious and makes the sink unusable while it cures. Not a fun way to spend a Saturday, right? An undermounted sink eliminates the need for scrubbing and replacing grout.

 Woman washes hands in kitchen sink
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The Cons

Not One-Size-Fits-All

Here’s the big one: not all counters work with undermount sinks. So, before you get your heart set on an undermount, be sure you won’t have to take out the entire countertop if you didn’t already plan for it.

Susceptible to Leaks and Mold

Older laminate or tile counters aren’t always perfectly level, and water can leak between the countertop and the sink. As a result, mold and water damage can develop under the sink cabinet.

Heavy

Further, laminate and tile counters may not be able to handle the weight of undermount sinks because they are mounted from underneath the surface of the countertop. Laminate can buckle and droop, and tile can crack and shatter—two very expensive mistakes no one wants to make.

"Undermount sinks are intended to be used with stone or composite countertops that are cut to fit the shape of the sink, and the opening is polished,” says Jeff Botelho, Expert Review Board member and licensed journeyman plumber. “I don’t recommend installing an undermount sink as a replacement for a drop-in sink since drop-ins are usually set in a rough cut opening."

More Expensive

It’s no secret that undermount sinks are more expensive than drop-ins, but they are also more upscale in their design aesthetic and, if you ask us, worth the investment. So, if you’re on a budget but still want to up-level your kitchen or bathroom, or you’re a new-ish homeowner that wants to try your hand at a minimal project with maximum effect, installing a new sink can be a rewarding project you can admire every time you do the dishes.

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