posted on November 07, 2013 17:13
From calls to our customer service department and the comments in online discussion boards, Formica Corporation has noticed there is quite a bit confusion regarding whether laminate countertops can be paired with undermount sinks. The answer – a resounding yes!
Since our expertise is decorative surfaces, we reached out to an expert in undermount sinks to address the most pressing questions surrounding installing undermount sinks in laminate countertops. Mark Webster with Karran USA settles the debate once and for all.
Why would a homeowner or designer choose an undermount sink over a top mount sink?
Undermounts are preferred from an aesthetic, a hygienic and a practical point of view.
a.Aesthetics – Undermounts appear sleeker and streamlined when installed underneath instead of on top. Most top mount sinks have a fairly thick rim (more than ½”) that is obtrusive. Undermounts look like a more premium offering.
b.Hygiene – Top mount sinks are sealed to the countertop with silicone. This bead is tough to keep clean. With all the moisture around the sink area, this bead can promote bacteria growth and the eventual degradation of the actual silicone.
c.Practical – Isn’t it nice to mop all that water on your countertop directly into the sink? You can only do this with an undermount. Also, it’s easy to wipe food prep remains directly into the sink when unhindered by a thick, top-mount sink rim.
What undermount sink materials can be paired with laminate countertops? What sink models are available?
To be undermounted to high pressure laminate, a sink must have an approximately 1” wide rim that is made from a resin, machined completely flat and meets the bowl wall at a sharp 90 degree angle. Our Karran acrylic sinks meet these specs, but so do a few other acrylic solid surface sinks on the market.
Most stainless steel sinks don’t meet this rim spec because they have steel rolled rims – except Karran’s Edge sinks. Our patented sinks are stainless steel but with a modified resin rim that fits the specs outlined above and allows them to be seamlessly undermounted in high pressure laminate.
As for model designs, the sky is the limit with one parameter – double bowl sinks must have a lowered bowl divider. This allows for router bit movement between bowls during installation.
How does Karran ensure no moisture issues arise when pairing laminate countertops with undermount sinks?
We use a solid surface seam adhesive to bond the 1.25” wide rim directly to the back of the high pressure laminate. This methylmethacrylate, two-part permanent set epoxy has been used for 10 years and we have never had a seam failure. It is impossible for water to get through the seam in any way.
How do you care for a laminate countertop with an undermount sink?
There are no special care requirements for undermount sinks in laminate countertops. Clean the laminate as specified by the laminate manufacturer. Same with the sink. Just because it is undermounted, it doesn’t mean that either requires more careful maintenance.
Can a DIYer install your sinks with a laminate countertop or is it a professional job?
This is most definitely a professional job. Not that it is difficult, it just requires specialized tooling that a DIYer does not have but a countertop shop would.
How does a homeowner or designer purchase a Karran sink?
To purchase, simply go to www.karran.com, click on Where to Buy and enter a zip code. You’ll be provided with a list of local dealers and fabricators. Or go to The Home Depot – they sell our sinks.
Thanks, Mark! To learn more about Karran and to see a great photo gallery of their work, go to www.karran.com. They’ve also posted a great video on YouTube that demonstrates just how they install their undermount sinks in laminate countertops.