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March 27, 2014

Understanding Undermount Sinks

We’re back for this week’s video blog. Topic of conversation is undermount sinks. You guys asked some fantastic questions and I want give you all of the answers to help you make the best decision possible. So we’ll go right through it and we’ll cover as many topics as possible in our time allotted today.

First question is a general question. What is an undermount sink and what are the benefits? An undermount sink is a sink that sits underneath the countertop– attaches to the bottom of the granite from under. And the benefits of having a sink that sits underneath is twofold.
One, you can wipe all of your stuff on top of the countertop without a lip of an overmount sink to push over directly into your sink. It’s so easy. That changes everything. You take your sponge out, wipe everything right into the sink, no mess, no hassle.

Second benefit is undermount sinks are typically deeper than topmount sinks. The average stainless steel topmount sink that sits on top of your countertops is about 5 inches deep. An undermount sink is about 10 inches deep from the top of the countertop to the bottom of the sink. That’s about double. That means easier washing. It means you’re going to wash your small dog in there. You can put baby in there. You can pretty much do anything you want in that undermount sink. It’s going to transform your life. If you’re the dishwasher in the family, this thing is going to be like a life saver for you.

Another great question that you all had was, can I use an undermount sink with any type of countertop? The answer is, you can use it with natural stone countertops, which covers travertine slabs, granite slabs– which are the most popular– marble slab countertop, quartz slab countertop. What you can’t attach it to is you can’t attach it to Formica– those just don’t work. That’s why there is always an overmount sink. So you have to get a new stone countertop to attach it to when you install your new countertops.

Another question is, what are the most popular type of sinks that you all sell? Overwhelmingly, we sell 90% stainless steel. The reason why people go to stainless steel is because it’s the least expensive– they average about $200 per sink. If they scratch, you can just get a buffing compound from Home Depot, or steel wool and buff it out pretty easily, and get it to look like new 10 years down the road. And it matches your new appliances. Stainless steel is the most popular type of appliance these days and people want to match everything in their kitchen.

The other type of sinks are granite composite, which are more expensive– they’re about $400. They’re made from granite that’s ground down. They coat the surface of the sink and they’re a little more scratch-resistant than stainless steel. And you can get them in black, beige, white– all sorts of different colors that you can’t get in a stainless steel.

The most expensive type of sink is porcelain, or cast iron– as you know– like the material in your bath tub. They’re the heaviest, which means you have to do extra bracing to make sure they don’t fall underneath the countertop. And they’re also the most expensive. They range from $600 to $1200 typically. And the problem with those is the minute you scratch them– which they all scratch– the water gets in there and starts molding– it has a little black line. And if anyone’s ever done this before in the past, you call up a repair company to do your sink– I think they charge $300 or $400– so it’s pretty expensive to make it look new. So those are all the different types of sinks you all can use.

Another great question that you all asked was, does it cost more to install than a traditional sink? The answer is marginally– maybe $50 more than a traditional overmount sink. But the truth is, for resale, reusability, probably 1 out of 1,000 jobs are done with overmount. It reduces your ability to re-sell your house. So I highly suggest always replacing your sink and always with an undermount sink.

Great question guys– this is a really good question. How do you clean and prevent build-up underneath the countertop? Even though we attach the sink as closely to the bottom of the countertop as possible, there is a little bit of a gap that we have to caulk with silicon caulk in there that covers the gap. That silicon has the potential over time for food to stick to it. You have to take some spray and clean it up over time to prevent the food from building up. And if the food builds up to a certain point– which it will, it’s normal– it’s not a thing to be afraid of. Every three to five years, you dig out that caulk– which is normal. You’re suppose to recaulk things in your house– everywhere in your house– this is not just a granite thing. It’s everywhere in your house– you dig it out and you recaulk it. You all can do it, or you can call us, and for a nominal fee, we can come back and recaulk the area over there to keep it fresh and new for another 5 to 10 years.

Last but not least, will an undermount sink make my countertop weaker or more prone to damage? Absolutely not. If you mount it the proper way, that’s thing’s going to stay there for life. It does not weaken your countertop. It’s not going to lead to more damage. It’s nothing but an asset. There’s almost no drawbacks to having an undermount sink, which is why it’s so popular, guys.

So when I meet with you when you call me for sales meeting, I’m more than happy to show you all the options that we talked about– the stainless steel, the granite composite and the porcelain– and we can help you find the best option for your house. So that’s it, guys, for today. Thanks again. Keep those questions coming in, and we’ll try to cover the topics that are most popular every few weeks.

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