Laminate Countertops Love Undermount Sinks

Laminate Countertops Love Undermount Sinks

Undermount sink expert Mark Webster of Karran USA answers the top questions about installing undermount sinks in Formica® Laminate countertops.

Modern kitchen with Formica laminate island and undermount sink

Why are undermount sinks popular?

Why would a homeowner or designer choose an undermount sink over a top-mount option? Undermount sinks are often requested for aesthetics, hygiene and practical points of view.

Undermount sinks offer a sleek and streamlined look. Most top-mount sinks have a fairly thick rim (more than ½ inch) that can be obtrusive for some. Undermounts are a great alternative.

Top-mount sinks are sealed to the countertop with silicone, creating a bead that requires cleaning. With all the moisture around the sink area, this bead can promote bacterial growth and the eventual degradation of the silicone itself, making regular maintenance imperative.

Isn’t it nice to mop all that water on your kitchen countertop directly into the sink? You can only do this with an undermount. Also, it’s easier to wipe food prep remains directly into the sink when unhindered by the rim of a top-mount sink.

What undermount sink materials can be paired with Formica® Laminate countertops?

To be undermounted to high pressure laminate (HPL), a sink must have an approximately 1-inch rim made from resin. It needs to have been machined completely flat, so it meets the bowl wall at a 90-degree angle. Karran acrylic sinks meet these specs, as 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 – with the exception of Karran’s Edge sinks. Karran’s patented sinks are made of stainless steel but feature a modified resin rim that fits the specs outlined above and allows them to be seamlessly undermounted to high pressure laminate.

What sink models are available?

As for model designs, the sky’s the limit, with one caveat: 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-inch rim directly to the back of the high pressure laminate. This methyl methacrylate, two-part, permanent-set epoxy has been used for 10+ years, and we’ve never had a seam failure. We believe it’s impossible for water to get through the seam in any way.

Waterfall Formica laminate kitchen island and undermount sink with chairs

How do you care for a Formica® 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 manufacturer, and the same goes for the sink. Just because it’s undermounted, it doesn’t mean that either component requires more careful maintenance.

Can a DIYer install your sinks with a Formica® Laminate countertop, or is it a professional job?

This is definitely a professional job. Not that it’s difficult, but it requires specialized tooling that a DIYer doesn’t have. A countertop shop has all the necessary tools and expertise.

How does a homeowner or designer purchase a Karran sink?

Visit Karran’s Where to Buy page for a list of authorized retailers or to find a showroom near you. 

Learn More About Karran Sinks

Karran's site also provides more information about their products, plus a photo gallery. They also offer installation information and videos. 

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