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Decide Before Buy: Undermount Sink vs Top Mount (+How to Install Each)

Any homeowner planning to improve their house has asked this question before Undermount sink VS top mount, which one is better?

Even though they look similar at first glance, there are quite a few significant differences that you need to be aware of before installing one of them.

As such, we will help you choose between these two sinks.

We will walk you through the pros and cons of each kitchen sink, and by the time you’ve read throughout the whole article, you should know exactly which one to settle down for.

Undermount Sink vs Top Mount

What is an Undermount Sink?

As the name suggests, an Undermount sink is a sink that goes down below the countertop, and it attaches from beneath, unlike the top mount sink.

This type of sink has grown in popularity over the years, given how flexible it is compared to other options.

The main benefit that the Undermount provides is that it is not exposed and does not take up nearly as much space since the lips do not sit on top of the countertop.

Pros

  • Does not get in the way
  • Looks more appealing
  • Has more space
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Hard to install

What is a Top Mount Sink?

A top mount sick, also known as a drop-in sink, is a rectangular shape sink that sits on top of the countertop.

The installation process for this model is pretty simple.

A couple of clips down below attach the sink to the stone of the kitchen to hold the unit together.

These were the go-to kitchens back in the day. They are still used, but not as popular as they once were.

Pros

  • Prevents water from getting in
  • It’s a lot cheaper than the Undermount
  • Easy to install
  • Holds up pretty well over time

Cons

  • Mold can grow on top of it

Factors to Consider Between Undermount Sink and Top Mount

Undermount sink VS top mount, which one should I pick up?

If you’re planning on replacing your old kitchen sink but don’t know which type of sink would suit you best, here are some factors you should consider before installing:

Hygiene

Undermount VS top mount sink, which one is easier to clean?

The Undermount is easier to clean. Sinks can get pretty filthy, and sometimes they might be hard to clean.

Food can get underneath the sink, and sometimes mold can grow on top of it.

All of these factors can ruin your sink’s aesthetics.

And they can also damage the sink to the point where you have to replace it, given how bad it’s gotten.

This is a different story for the Undermount sink. Since it is mounted underneath the countertop, it is a lot easier to clean it.

The only downside is that food residue can get in-between the sink, which can cause mold to grow.

As for the top mount, cleaning might be difficult as the sink’s lip sits on top of the countertop.

It can get in the way, and you might not be able to reach dirty areas.

Installation

The most crucial difference between these two sinks is that the top mount sink is relatively easy to install.

It barely requires any tools and can be removed effortlessly. On top of that, there are plenty of guides on the internet for this simple job.

Installing the Undermount sink, unfortunately, is not as easy as you might think. It takes a lot of effort and tools just for the installation.

Let alone removing it.  There are just so many steps to remove and install it that just make you think if it’s worth the trouble.

The installation process has gotten easier over the years for Undermount sinks.

When they first came out, everybody had a hard time convincing themselves that it was actually good given how hard it was to install.

They would also fall off after nearly a year, which didn’t seem attractive back then.

Flexibility

The third factor you should consider when picking between the Undermount VS top mount kitchen sink is how flexible the former is when it comes to aesthetics.

It gives the kitchen a much cleaner look than what you’d achieve with a top mount sink.

The Undermount sink does an excellent job of adapting to most environments it might be installed on.

On the other hand, the top mount sink has a hard time standing out from the crowd. For example, it looks terrible on granite.

Comfort

That state of physical ease you feel when you don’t have to struggle to achieve something cannot be put into words.

This is why the Undermount sink has only grown in popularity over the years. It is relatively easy to use and does not feel clunky.

For example, the Undermount sink barely takes any space since it eliminates unnecessary tools, which take up too much space.

Moreover, the faucet for the Undermount goes straight into the countertop, which gives you more space when doing the dishes.

This ease of mind, unfortunately, is not the case for the top mount.

This type of sink tapes up too much space, making doing the dishes a lot more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

The faucet gets in the way, it is hard to clean, etc.

Cost of Undermount Sink Vs Top Mount

Perhaps the most significant factor that comes to mind when choosing between the Undermount sink and the top mount sink is the cost.

Even though the top mount has gradually lost its fame, many homeowners still use it today, given how cheap it is compared to the Undermount sink.

The installation can cost anywhere from $75 to $200. In comparison, the Undermount sink costs roughly $200-$500.

This depends on the material used for the sink, but for the most part, you should expect to pay more for the Undermount sink.

Also, the Undermount sink is more difficult to install than the top mount, making the installation more expensive.

How to Install a Top Mount Sink

If you chose the top mount sink and have no idea how to properly install it, this is your guide.

1. What You Will Need

Before installing the top mount sink, gather all these tools:

  • Utility knife—use the utility knife to remove the sink from the countertop.
  • A bucket—water might come out as you remove the supply lines.
  • Plumbers nutty and silicone sealant—you’ll need these sealants to seal the top mount sink properly.
  • A garbage disposal key—to take off the disposal connected to the sink, use the garbage disposal key.

2. Shut Off The Power

Before getting started, turn off the water. After that, locate the circuit breaker panel box and turn off the power to the garbage disposal. Next, disconnect it from the outlet.

3. Disconnect Everything Underneath The Kitchen

Now, you have to disconnect everything that is attached to the sink.

However, before disconnecting anything, place a bucket underneath. You’ll soon notice just how much comes out of the supply lines.

Once you’ve placed the bucket, disconnect the supply lines.

After that, you want to take off the drain pipes. From there, take a screwdriver and remove the discharge pipe from the sink.

The garbage disposal is now exposed. So, grab the garbage disposal key and get it in there to take off the disposal.

4. Remove The Old Top Mount Sink

To remove the top mount sink from the countertop, remove the clips found on the bottom side. For this, use a screwdriver.

Once you’ve removed the clips holding the sink into place, use a putty knife to get underneath the sink.

When installing a sink, someone must’ve used caulk, which you have to remove.

For this, use the utility knife. Now that you removed all the old caulk from the sink proceed to take it off.

5. Install The New Top Mount Sink

Before installing the new sink, there are quite a few things you need to get done.

First, use plumbers putty on the drain strainer. Take a bead of it, and then roll it into a snake.

Next, wrap it around the drain strainer. It should look like a ring. Now install it, apply pressure, and then clean any excess.

Second, install the gaskets and flange. Make sure to tighten those two before moving onto the next step.

With that out the way, put the faucet back into place. Next, install all the clips to secure the unit.

Once that’s done, run the silicone sealant along the edge of the sink before installing it.

By adding this substance, the unit will remain in place. Now lower it into place.

If this process does not sound as easy as you expected it to be, watch this video as it goes through everything we covered above:

How To Install an Undermount Sink

Replacing the Undermount sink might not always be the easiest thing to do at home.

But with the right steps, you can get it done even if you have no prior experience. That said, follow these steps:

1. What You Will Need

Get all these tools before installing the Undermount sink:

  • Parallel clamps—use clamps to hold the Undermount sink when running the silicone along the edges. Otherwise, it’ll fall off.
  • A 2×4 piece of wood—you can skip this part. However, you might damage the working area when clamping the sink.
  • Silicone sealant—use silicone to secure the unit.
  • A towel and denatured alcohol—use alcohol to clean the countertop and the sink.
  • A razor knife—to remove the sink from the countertop, you’ll need a razor blade.
  • A putty knife—when you’ve removed the sink, you’ll notice all the silicone that was left behind after pulling it out. To remove it, use the putty knife.

2. Remove The Old Undermount Sink

To remove the countertop, you must use a razor knife to slice through the silicone holding the unit together.

So, go ahead and run it through the edges of the Undermount sink.

After that, get underneath the sink, and remove all the clips from the sink. Now you should be able to pull it out.

Also, make sure to clean any silicone that was left behind after removing the sink.

For this, use a putty knife. Now, use denatured alcohol to clean both the countertop and the sink.

3. Install The New Undermount Sink

Now that you’ve cleaned and removed the old sink, you can apply a bead of silicone sealant along the edge of the new sink.

Next, put the sink right into place. From there, lay a 2×4 piece of wood on top of the sink.

That’s where you’ll put the clamp. So, grab your parallel clamp and take off the end of the clamp.

Now feed the end of the clamp through the drain hole.

With that out the way, hold a piece of wood between the clamp and the sink.

After that, put the end of the clamp back on. Now, make sure to tighten up the clamp.

This way, it’ll hold the Undermount sink tightly. Once you’ve secured the sink, install the mounting brackets.

After that, wait at least 24 hours for the silicone to secure the unit. Once the silicone has dry, remove the clamps from the sink.

And now you’re done. If needed, here’s a video for installing the Undermount sink. This video will walk you through all the steps we covered above:

Conclusion – Which One to Choose?

Now that we’re on the same page, did you figure out which one works best for you?

The never-ending discussion about the Undermount sink VS top mount boils down to what you actually need.

As you know by now, the Undermount sink works best for those folks who need a great and easy-to-clean kitchen sink.

The top mount is still a great choice based on today’s standards, especially if you want to save up money.

Just keep in mind that the latter is a lot harder to clean than the former.