Shower, Bath, & Sink

Undermount Sink vs. Drop-In Sink: Pros and Cons with Pictures

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July 21, 2022
Kallista Design

When building your dream kitchen or bathroom, there are many factors to consider in your planning. An especially important component is understanding your kitchen sink options or bathroom style and determining what type of sink is right for your design.

Which type of sink is better: undermount or drop-in?

What Is an Undermount Sink?

what is an undermount sink
Credit: @lawlerdesign
Featured Product: Multiere® 45" Kitchen Sink

An undermount sink, also known as a bottom-mount sink, is considered more elegant because it creates a seamless flow from the counter to the sink. Undermount sinks are bonded from underneath to meet the counter at the top. 

When choosing a material for your sink, a stainless steel undermount sink is a functional and classic option, offering both durability and luster.

In the bathroom, vitreous china has a high-gloss finish, is highly stain-resistant, and will elevate the entire room into a sophisticated space, no matter the chosen sink shape. 

What Is a Drop-in Sink?

a drop-in kitchen sink
Featured Product: Monte Carlo Bar Sink

A drop-in sink, also known as an overmount or overlay sink, fits into an allotted space. With the proper measurements, a drop-in sink can easily be installed and caulk applied to seal it to the countertop. If you decide to upgrade your sink, a drop-in sink is much easier to pull out and replace with a stylish stainless-steel option. 

What Is the Difference Between an Undermount Sink and a Drop-In Sink?

When comparing an undermount sink vs. drop-in sink, it’s best to consider the size of the space and the sink types that are available to suit the specific design needs.

Keep in mind that, because a drop-in sink has a lip that extends to the countertop, installation can result in the loss of a few inches of counter space. The undermount sink rises up to meet the counter and is sealed underneath the countertop. 

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Pros of Undermount Sinks

Choosing between undermount sink vs. drop-in sinks depends on style preferences and how long you intend to stay in your home. When looking at your kitchen sink options, consider a modern undermount sink to add a sense of functional style to your space.

Undermount Sinks Can be Good for Resale Value

Undermount sinks can improve the resale value of a home. Because they are considered a more upscale option, installing an undermount sink in your kitchen or bathroom means that you have focused on creating a cohesive design for the space.

Undermount Sinks Make Cleaning Easy

Of the kitchen sink options, undermount sinks are a perfect choice to keep the home clean. Because they are caulked or clipped directly to the vanity or counter space, there is no gap underneath the sink. When cleaning the kitchen countertop, you can brush crumbs and peels straight into the sink without worrying about waste becoming caught on the lip of the sink.

What Makes a Good Undermount Sink?

high quality undermount sink
Featured Product: Multiere® 45" Kitchen Sink

Style and durability are desired qualities in any kitchen sink. A stainless steel bottom-mount sink is a good choice for both sophistication and functionality, and installation of these sinks has become much more feasible with newer designs available. 

For an undermount sink in the bathroom, a fine array of shapes are available. A custom-sized hole can be cut into the countertop to accommodate the preferred sink shape. 

Cons of Undermount Sinks

When deciding between an overmount vs. undermount sink in your kitchen, design and style aren’t the only factors worth considering. An undermount sink isn’t for every space, and it’s important to choose a sink style that best fits your unique needs and style preferences. 

Undermount Sinks Must be Carefully Installed

If the sink is not properly installed, or the caulk holding the sink to the surface wears off, water can seep through the cracks and potentially damage items under the sink or lead to mold growth. A custom hole must be cut into the counter, and only a trained professional should attempt this, so make sure to invest in hiring a professional with extensive experience to properly perform the installation so that you can enjoy your undermount sink worry-free.

Undermount Sinks Can’t be Installed on All Surfaces

Because undermount sinks are installed from the bottom up, certain countertops, like laminate or tile, are not able to support the sink. Marble or granite is more likely to properly accommodate a bottom-mount sink. Additionally, undermount sinks are not as easy to remove and reinstall as other kitchen sink options. 

Pros of Drop-In Sinks

Drop-in sinks have always been a popular choice for designing kitchen spaces. They are a simple solution and can fit into almost any style preference while meeting practical needs.  

Drop-In Sinks Are Easier to Install & Remove

Also known as overlay sinks, drop-in sinks are easy to install, as their name implies. These sinks are often a standard size, and if you choose to change your sink at a later date, you can potentially remove and install the drop-in sink yourself.

Drop-In Sinks Work Best With Tile and Laminate

A drop-in sink works well with more malleable counter surfaces, like tile and laminate. Because the drop-in sink lays over the top of the counter, the caulking will secure the sink to the surface. 

What Makes a Good Drop-In Sink?

Because drop-in sinks are designed to be installed above the counter and are available in standard sizes, there is no need to customize the size of the hole cut in the countertop. Drop-in sinks are offered in an array of materials, but stainless steel provides the most durable option and can also meet almost any style needs. 

Cons of Drop-In Sinks

When choosing between an undermount sink and a drop-in sink, review which of the options will work best for your specific countertop material and the size of your space. 

Drop-In Sinks Can Require Regular Maintenance

If you have limited countertop space, the overlay sink will have a lip that takes up a few inches on either side of the counter. Smaller kitchens might need every inch of space available for preparation and cooking room. In addition, sometimes grime can be caught between the lip of the sink and the counter; however, regular maintenance with a toothpick along the edge can help keep this area clean. 

Drop-In Sinks May Not Fit Your Style

Because a drop-in sink is often considered a more basic option, it may not contribute to the high-end feel of a design like an undermount sink. This could potentially detract from the overall value of the kitchen for future appraisals.

What About Pedestal and Vessel Sinks?

Bathrooms often feature either a pedestal or a vessel sink in lieu of a drop-in or undermount sink. Either of these options will elevate the room into an elegant space.

Pedestal Sinks and Their Benefits

Featured Product: Tuxedo® Pedestal Sink

Pedestal sinks work well in smaller spaces like powder rooms or guest bathrooms. Made of cast stone or vitreous china, this option will maximize available square footage. Plus, you can choose the size, style and design that best fits your personal tastes and vision for the room. 

Vessel Sinks and Their Benefits

Argile™ Vessel Sink

Vessel sinks sit on top of the counter, raising the sink to a higher level. These models offer an opportunity to express your personal style because they are available in a wide array of shapes and stunning finishes. Vessel sinks add an opulent touch to the bathroom and can even be viewed as artistic expression.

Undermount and Drop-In Sink Installation FAQs

It’s important to fully understand the installation instructions for drop-in vs. undermount sinks. Drop-in sinks are typically easier to install and can potentially be added by the homeowner. Undermount sinks require greater skill and should be installed by a professional, but they provide a sleek and modern look to any kitchen.

How do I install an undermount sink?

It is strongly recommended that you hire a plumbing professional for a bottom-mount sink installation as the gap between sink and counter should be as seamless as possible. Depending on the weight of the sink, this may require more than one person to accomplish.

How do I install a drop-in sink?

Many counters have standard cutouts for an overlay or drop-in sink. Measure the counter opening prior to purchasing your drop-in sink. Once you choose a new sink model, it will come with specific instructions. You may wish to consult a qualified contractor for assistance. 

What type of sink should I get for my bathroom?

When shopping for bathroom sinks, you can choose from an undermount, pedestal, or vessel design. Factors to consider include the size of your bathroom, the material of your bathroom counter, personal style preferences, and whether you need a professional to install it. 

What type of sink should I get for my kitchen?

Choosing between a drop-in sink or an undermount sink primarily depends on your kitchen countertops. If the counters are constructed of sturdy material like granite or marble, consider the bottom-mount sink. If the countertops are laminate or tile, or you simply want to install the new sink yourself, consider the overlay sink.

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