Undermount and farmhouse sinks are two of the most popular sink designs for modern households. Choosing the right one is about more than aesthetics – there are some functional implications attached as well.
Farmhouse sinks can work well in larger households due to their higher volume. They also tend to be more durable. However, they are generally more expensive and difficult to install due to their weight. In addition, porcelain farmhouse sinks require more maintenance and can potentially crack and stain more easily.
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What’s the Difference Between Undermount and Farmhouse Sinks?
Undermount sinks are built into the countertop and are usually slightly recessed into it. They are typically smaller and lighter than farmhouse sinks and are often made out of metal. Other options are available but not as common.
On the other hand, farmhouse sinks are larger and usually made of a heavier material like porcelain. A farmhouse sink may be split into two compartments, though that is not always the case. The sink usually extends from the front of the countertop slightly.
Important Considerations for Choosing the Right Sink
Choosing the right sink for your kitchen mostly comes down to balancing price, durability, and maintenance. Farmhouse sinks are generally more expensive (especially in the long term), but they are can be a great investment in your home.
Choice of Material
Many people wrongly believe that farmhouse sinks are always made of porcelain. While it may be the most popular material for these models, it’s far from the only option. Copper and steel are also used often and they have some advantages when it comes to staining.
The market for undermount sinks is a bit less varied, with most models made of stainless steel or cast iron. The unusual shape of an undermount sink makes it more difficult to use other materials.
Installing and Adapting the Sink to Your Countertop Design
Installing an undermount sink almost always involves cutting a hole through your countertop. Some countertops might come with pre-made holes that can fit standard sink sizes, but it’s usually recommended to cut a properly fitting hole yourself (or hire a professional to do it).
Farmhouse sinks may also require some modifications to your countertops. The wider dimensions of most models make it more likely that you will have to rearrange your countertops to accommodate the sink. It’s also important to verify that your countertops can support the weight of a farmhouse sink in the first place.
Washing Dishes and Keeping the Sink Clean
Farmhouse sinks are great for washing dishes. The extra room comes in handy when you have a larger family that leaves a lot of dirty dishes after each meal. If you buy a model with separate compartments, this can further help you organize your dishes and go through them more efficiently.
However, a farmhouse sink can also make things more difficult for the clumsier ones among us. A deeper sink means that anything dropped by accident will fall from a greater height. Combined with the harder materials farmhouse sinks are typically made of, this is a recipe for disaster if you have a habit of dropping dishes and glasses while you’re washing them.
Undermount sinks tend to be trickier to clean due to the edge running around/under the countertop. The monolithic design of a farmhouse sink makes cleaning it a piece of cake, as you can easily give it a thorough wipe without facing any challenges in reaching every corner.
Undermount sinks are a great option if you’re on a budget. The market for them is very diverse, with models of all sizes and materials, and a corresponding variety of prices.
On the other hand, farmhouse sinks are generally more expensive. This includes both the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance costs. You will need to clean your farmhouse sink more often and more thoroughly to avoid staining it, and any chips and cracks can be expensive to repair.
Installing an undermount sink more or less precludes using that countertop for a farmhouse model later on. If you’re planning to renovate your home in the near future, a farmhouse sink might be a better option in terms of allowing you to reuse your current setup and furniture more efficiently.
But if you’re certain that you’re going to throw out your current countertops and get them replaced as well, there’s no harm in getting an undermount sink as a temporary solution.
A farmhouse sink can easily make your kitchen look more stylish while improving your workflow when doing the dishes. An undermount sink would be great if you’re on a tight budget and want to buy something that won’t cost a lot to maintain in the future. Both are great options for a modern home, and choosing the right one comes down to understanding your current situation.