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New Granite Kitchen Countertop: Drop-in or Undermount Sink?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by velvetfoot, Dec 11, 2007.

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  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    We're thinking about new countertops.
    Not sure about which type of sink though.
    Supposedly, most popular today are undermount.
    I'm thinking they may not be mounted as securely and might be harder to replace in future.
    I'm kinda not sure about looks preference.

    Any opinions?

    Thanks.

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  2. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Undermount, definitely. The mounting clips are plenty strong, unless you plan on standing in it and dancing.

    The big benefit is you can wipe and spills on the counter right into the sink, with no lip to get in the way. Plus, it just looks nice.

    If you don't already have one, get a pull-out, single-hole faucet. That eliminates a hole for the sprayer (or lets you put in a soap dispenser, a hot-water maker, or a reverse-osmosis tap without an extra hole).

    And consider a pot filler next to your stove. They're becoming very popular, and it's kind of hard to add an extra hole to the granite, after it's installed.

    Okay, I used to do plumbing (before I dropped that and went to just heating/cooling), and I have a few opinions on the right way to do things... :)

    Joe
  3. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the answer Joe.
    I'd hate to go through all the expense on the top and mess up on the sink.
  4. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    If you're going to the expense of a granite countertop, you'll need to shell out for the undermount sink. To some extent it's just the fashion (does granit do anything corian or even formica didn't), but a granite counter with a regular over-mount SS or cast sink will look like a shiny mercedes with the wrong color door. The exception might be the 'farm sink' look, but that depends a lot on your decor.

    Steve
  5. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

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    Granite guys were here to template yesterday-monday, (me still installing the kickplate and molding- just finished installing the cabinets sunday).
    Countertops= Dark Grey, Island= kinda a Grey and Pumpkin swerll (walls=Pumpkin Spice), Master Bath= Dark Brown, Guest Bath=Absolute Black (came with the cabinet).
    Wife's dream kitchen-VERY expensive Crown Point cabinets, has to be Perfect.
    (I was more scared mounting those that hanging off a 24' ladder !---came out Perfect.)

    We (she) chose a Drop-in, two deep double tubs by Koler.
    *We had a large double sink in the old farm before- like that you can fill taller containers and do dishes (pot and pans) without splashing water all over the countertops.
    * The Koler one is heavy duty- I think it is 18 gauge, and it wasn't all that expensive (Lowes)- Other ones we looked at were 20-24 gauge, and some of them were very expensive (forgein sinks at the granite showrooms).
    * Better 'sound proofing' under the tubs= less noise.
    * a little leary of the mounting of the 'undermounts'- drop-in's are tried and true.
    * I (we) have seen them in other places- they look great. (well- they are brand new- they should look great)
    * Easier to change out if you need/want to- Faucet holes are in the tub, not drilled into the Granite.

    Just my Three-Cents worth... Best of Luck.
  6. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Don't mean to hijack the thread, but as long as you're talking sinks did you consider the "farmhouse" style sink at all? My wife wants one in our kitchen remodel project. They are the sinks that look as if they are mounted on top of a short cabinet. I think they are also called "apron front" sinks.
  7. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

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    FarmHouse sinks are beautiful... we looked at them too.
    But me knowing how spastic I do things sometimes- I could see myself 'banging' into the front of it with a pan or a cup and leaving some 'forever' mark on it... would not be too good.
    Besides... it's the wifes choice, really.
  8. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I like them. Of course, I live in a 150-year-old farm house, so it would definitely fit in...

    Joe
  9. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    That's a good point about banging into the front of the sink. I will tell wife about that - still think we'll go with one.
  10. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    I have to agree about the under mount sink, with the investment you are making in granite, it seems a shame to have a drop in sink sticking out there taking away from the granite. Plus the ability to just wipe stuff right into the sink without an lip to go over is a nice benefit.
    I am just about finished with a full kitchen remodel, complete DIY, we went with granite and a huge single bowl under mount sink. On a side note, check out these guys for your sink, i got ours from them at a fraction of the cost of the name brands, I love the thing, our granite guy could not believe what we paid for the sink. I spent a lot time on a kitchen forum before and during the remodel and these sinks got rave reviews for the quality, price
    Galaxy tool supply

    I would not worry about the strength of an undermount sink, besides the clips the sink is held up with silicone caulk. My sink had to be removed two days after the install to re-contour the sink opening a bit. With the silicone dried, they had to cut it as much of it as they could with a razor and then try to push the sink out, they had a VERY difficult time getting that sink out, they spent well over an hour after removing the clips trying to get it out. I was skeptical of the idea at first, not after seeing that.


    here are some pictures of it installed and the granite in general

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    We've settled on Dakota Mahogany for the island and "L".
    Probably tile of some sort on the backsplash.
    Sinks-still up in the air.
    I'm still having a hangup on function/fad and extra costs.
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    pfmg,
    That looks beautiful.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    pfmg,
    Did you have to put any support brackets for the island seating area?
  14. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Yes, the granite sits on a 3/4" plywood subtop. Anything over 10" needs some additional support. Mine is 12" so the subtop is sufficient, anything over 13" would have needed more support. If needed i had i had 1/4" strips of steel 2" x 34" that i would have set into a routed pocket in the subtop if it was needed, but my granite guy said the subtop alone was sufficient for a 12" overhang. I did not want any brackets in the way of peoples knees.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  15. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Curious, how did you handle the outlets? With an island/penninsula you have to have an outlet within 24" of the edges then an outlet every 48" of counter top. By the looks of things, you need an outlet on the right side edge then one somewhere in the middle, then another on the wall. How did you do it?

    I've been trying to figure out how as we work out our kitchen remodel project, and have the problem the only place that makes sense to fulfill that electrical code is the back side where people sit & legs will be... not a useful place for a recept. To make matters harder one can't have face up receptacles in the kitchen which would make putting recepts in islands a bit easier. At this point, it looks like we're going to have a 2 level island just so we can have room for the required receptacles in the back splash otherwise our only option is putting them in the face of the island where our cabinets & appliances go, would rather not have them there.
  16. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    funny you mention the outlets in the island. The island is attached to the column, the column has two outlets. During the final inspection the elec inspector said he wanted an outlet on the other end of the island. My electrician said no, its not required and ask the inspector show him the code that says it is. As we read the code, an Island requires one receptacle to serve the counter top, no matter how large, as long as there is no sink, cook top, etc. dividing the counter. Our argument was that we have two outlets on the island, there is no other location on that island to put one, they cannot go under the overhang per code and obviously not in the front. If the island had two levels, and created a little back splash area then it would need an outlet every 6 feet or less if sinks and cook tops were involved. Apparently the code that addresses island outlets is a little unclear.
  17. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Oh man you were lucky! I know exactly the section you're talking about code says, "Any counter or island 12"+ needs a receptacle" which implies they only need one. However, code also says countertops need a receptacle within 24" of a counter top edge. Every 48" counter from there, need another receptacle. When you come to a cook top or sink, if there's 12"+ of space behind them, they're considered part of your countertop and follow the 48" receptacle rule. If there isn't 12"+ behind, then receptacles must be within 24" of the sides. Corner sinks/cook tops follow the above except if you measure diagonally out from the corner and there's 18"+ to the edge of the sink/cook top then must follow the 48" rule and mean you need a receptacle in the corner behind them, otherwise must be within 24" of the corners closest to wall.

    It starts out sounding like islands/penninsulas only need 1 receptacle, but then another rule comes in saying you need a receptacle every 24" of the edges and 48" of countertop and doesn't specify island, penninsula, or kitchen so applies to ALL countertops in the kitchen. Inspectors when dealing with two rules that seem to imply different things error on the more strict standard so I think you got lucky cause, technically they both should've been applied leaving us to still ponder how we're going to deal with it :)
  18. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    But since the code named islands and peninsulas specifically, they separated them from the generic counter rules. even though they don't clearly state the rules. When this happened i spoke to a couple other electricians i know and they all agreed, that in my case it should not be necessary, if the column was not there, then i would have had a problem. A lot of interpretations with the code have to do the overall quality of the job and the relationship between the contractor and the inspector.
  19. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I was praying pfmg you were right it's been a nightmare for us. I'm so happy you are right! I just found http://www.dora.state.co.us/electrical/forms/Newsletter2004.pdf in particular page 3 where they say

    "In either the island or peninsular configuration, countertop spaces with a long dimension of 24 inches or greater
    and a short dimension of 12 inches or greater are required to be supplied with a receptacle outlet. When measuring
    a peninsular counter space, the measurement is started at the connecting edge. It is important to note that
    210.52(C)(4) states countertop spaces separated by cook tops, refrigerators, or sinks shall be considered as separate
    countertop spaces in applying the requirements of 210.52(C)(1), (2), and (3). If the countertop is unbroken by a
    cook top, etc., you are only required to provide one receptacle outlet for an entire island countertop. The same
    applies for peninsular counter tops."


    Exactly like you said. That made our day, now my wife and I will be able to move on with the design. I have to have a support beam on one side of our island I'll put the receptacle in it and, thanks to you and the coincidental perfect timing of this that's all I need. Thanks!
  20. WILDSOURDOUGH

    WILDSOURDOUGH New Member

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    pfmg:
    That's a show stopper kitchen (probably to good for you- ;-) )

    Love the granite and the wall colors- looks great.
    Our island is much smaller- funny, we were just discussing where to put the outlet on it tonight.
    Good work !
  21. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    On a side note, the approx. $8k for the granite counter could go a long way towards a wood gasifier boiler, but which of course, would not receive much support from the other party concerned.

    Following the discussions on boilers in the BoilerRoom has really given me a hankering, but I don't think I'll ever be able to follow through.
    Maybe I could package it as a "hobby", but that's a reach.
  22. pcampbell

    pcampbell Member

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    What a beautiful kitchen... are those Merillat Portrait cabinets?
  23. Biglumber

    Biglumber Member

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    Velvetfoot,
    I'm for the under mount. We went with the granite 60/40 sink. Dakota mahogany.. my choice when we were building our house but I was overridden by the wife and the builder.
    Is this project going? Pic's?

    Peace
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It's currentlyon hold.
    It's also been hard to find a piece of Dakota mahogany big enough for the island. Other colors, not as much a problem.
  25. Cath

    Cath Feeling the Heat

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    velvetfoot,
    You raise an interesting point, but for what it's worth I think the undermount sink is here to stay because it is more functional. It may seem like a minor thing but it is probably a nice little luxury to sweep any water and crumbs into the sink without hitting the speed bump / debris trap created by the edge of a top mount sink; not to mention it's a much more sleek look. I think the look is here to stay which suggests better resale value.

    As far as any difficulty in removing/replacing it at some point it looks like pfmg is the voice of experience there. It sounds like the hardest part was breaking the seal on the caulk, but that may be true of a top mount as well.

    This is just one woman's opinion so take it with a grain of salt. I lived without a kitchen stove for almost a year and just replaced a 25 year old hand me down stove with a 4 year old used stove from Craig's List. (Although it is the "double oven" Maytag Gemini; I couldn't bring myself to spend $1,000.00 on a new one.) And I'm still living with the original circa 1947 cabinets and the 1970's formica countertops.

    When we do get around to overhauling the kitchen we will probably be getting granite countertops and an undermount sink.
    ~Cath
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