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Yes, Laminate Countertops Love Undermount Sinks

  
  
  
  
  

From calls to our customer service department and the comments in online discussion boards, Formica Corporation has noticed there is quite a bit confusion regarding whether laminate countertops can be paired with undermount sinks.  The answer – a resounding yes! 

An undermount sink in formica laminate.

Since our expertise is decorative surfaces, we reached out to an expert in undermount sinks to address the most pressing questions surrounding installing undermount sinks in laminate countertops.  Mark Webster with Karran USA settles the debate once and for all.

Why would a homeowner or designer choose an undermount sink over a top mount sink? 

Undermounts are preferred from an aesthetic, a hygienic and a practical point of view.

a.      Aesthetics – Undermounts appear sleeker and streamlined when installed underneath instead of on top. Most top mount sinks have a fairly thick rim (more than ½”) that is obtrusive. Undermounts look like a more premium offering.

b.      Hygiene – Top mount sinks are sealed to the countertop with silicone. This bead is tough to keep clean.  With all the moisture around the sink area, this bead can promote bacteria growth and the eventual degradation of the actual silicone.

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

What undermount sink materials can be paired with laminate countertops?  What sink models are available?

To be undermounted to high pressure laminate, a sink must have an approximately 1” wide rim that is made from a resin, machined completely flat and meets the bowl wall at a sharp 90 degree angle. Our Karran acrylic sinks meet these specs, but so 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 – except Karran’s Edge sinks. Our patented sinks are stainless steel but with a modified resin rim that fits the specs outlined above and allows them to be seamlessly undermounted in high pressure laminate.

As for model designs, the sky is the limit with one parameter – 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” wide rim directly to the back of the high pressure laminate. This methylmethacrylate, two-part permanent set epoxy has been used for 10 years and we have never had a seam failure. It is impossible for water to get through the seam in any way.

An undermount sink installed in a formica laminate countertop.

How do you care for a 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 laminate manufacturer.  Same with the sink. Just because it is undermounted, it doesn’t mean that either requires more careful maintenance.

Can a DIYer install your sinks with a laminate countertop or is it a professional job?

This is most definitely a professional job. Not that it is difficult, it just requires specialized tooling that a DIYer does not have but a countertop shop would.

How does a homeowner or designer purchase a Karran sink?

To purchase, simply go to www.karran.com, click on Where to Buy and enter a zip code.  You’ll be provided with a list of local dealers and fabricators. Or go to The Home Depot – they sell our sinks.

Thanks, Mark!  To learn more about Karran and to see a great photo gallery of their work, go to www.karran.com.  They’ve also posted a great video on YouTube that demonstrates just how they install their undermount sinks in laminate countertops.

See the latest in Formica® Laminate for kitchens and baths

 

 


Comments

I'm a DIY and have limited finances for this project. The undermount is desired for all the reasons listed but I fear the cost of using a pro will eliminate the cost advantage of formica.
Posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:17 AM by Walter Beard
It seems logical that the chemistry of the cleaning products could attack the holding properties of the adhesive used to mount the sink. What assurances can you make that this doesn't happen over time? What are your stats on failures?
Posted @ Monday, March 18, 2013 1:33 PM by pr
PR-Thanks for reading Share the Love. Since we're in the laminate business, we turned to our undermount sink interviewee for this post, Mark Webster at Karran USA, to address your question. He assures that cleaning products cannot break down a permanent-set epoxy like the one used by Karran. Besides, since the glue is applied between the laminate and the rim of the sink, it wouldn't be exposed to cleaning products or any other chemical. You can read more about the installation process used for undermount sinks atwww.karran.com or contact Ask Karran at 866-452-7726.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:10 AM by Stacy Stufft
Walt--we don't have details how undermount sink installation may impact price since we're on the laminate side of things, but we'd encourage you to contact Home Depot or Karran directly (866-452-7726) to learn more. Thanks for reading!
Posted @ Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:13 AM by Stacy Stufft
stainless kitchen under mount sinks are perfect choice for laminate countertop. they really go well together. My kitchen got it also. 
 
Posted @ Friday, April 05, 2013 9:02 PM by stainless kitchen under mount sinks
I'm researching all countertop surfaces and ruled out formica due to inability to undermount a sink. This is fantastic! 
 
My question is, where can I find a professional who is capable of this installation? I'm in the 01960 zip and it looks like Home Depot could provide this type of undercount? 
 
Thanks very much.
Posted @ Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:35 PM by joan green
Thanks, Joan! Yes, you should be able to get a Karran undermount sink and Formica® laminate through Home Depot. If you run into any issues, contact Karran directly. They are incredibly helpful and can offer other retail options.
Posted @ Monday, April 22, 2013 6:32 AM by Stacy Stufft
I have picked out a formica counter top , but I really want a black sink. Do you know any other manufacturer that makes an undermount sink for laminate in black?
Posted @ Thursday, May 02, 2013 7:08 PM by Jean Milbee
Hi Jean, 
We recommend Karran for undermount sinks and they do have styles other than stainless steel (including black). However, we encourage you to speak with them directly (866-452-7726) regarding whether these can be paired with a laminate top. You can view their entire selection atwww.karran.com. Thanks for reading and reaching out!
Posted @ Friday, May 03, 2013 7:36 AM by Stacy Stufft
I would like to know what the name of the counter in the first picture at the top of this post. It's the marble looking white and gray with the light blue and brown back splash. I'm hoping it is the bianca luna from the 180fx series. Also, I love the back splash, can you tell me the name and brand.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:19 PM by charmaine
Hi Charmaine, 
The images in this post were provided by Karran. The countertop is our 180fx® Calacatta Marble but we cannot identify the backsplash--try reaching out to Karran directly. They'll be glad they inspired you! Thanks for reading.
Posted @ Thursday, July 11, 2013 7:58 AM by Stacy Stufft
Bad idea - I've had this done professionally and the counter top rotted in less than 6 months. It was expensive to have done and it obviously wasn't worth it. Water found its way into the unfinished laminate! Don't do it.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 21, 2013 4:01 AM by Mike
Sorry about your experience, Mike. It sounds like an installation issue. A correctly installed undermount sink would not cause water damage to laminate. We would recommend working with the sink manufacturer/installer on a resolution.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 21, 2013 7:29 AM by Stacy Stufft
I have a laminate counter top & need to get a new kitchen sink because I hate the double sink the builder installed. But I want to get granite next year. So can I get an undermount sink to an existing laminte countertop? Then install granite later when i can afford it?
Posted @ Friday, October 25, 2013 11:58 AM by Connie Daly
Hi Connie, 
Thanks for reading. Karran, the undermount sink manufacturer, would be a better resource for this question as there are likely many considerations. You can reach their customer service department at 866-452-7726. Have a good weekend!
Posted @ Friday, October 25, 2013 1:40 PM by Stacy Stufft
We did a K remodel with Formica 180/Fx and a Karran sink because that's the only sink the countertop fabricator would use! Expensive, and I still worry about leakage around the faucet base...
Posted @ Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:36 AM by Shermie Schafer
We are currently remodeling our kitchen and our contractor is hesitant to try to install an undermount sink in the Formica. Is it possible to order the sink already installed in the Formica?
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 8:58 AM by Julia McLain
Hi Julie, 
It is quite possible to install an undermount sink with Formica(R) Laminate, and we've seen a number of great successes with the process! The key is to pay attention to the sink and ensure it meets the specifications outlined by our Karran expert in the article above. We don't offer pre-fab countertops with sinks already installed. We would recommend you ensure your ultimate installer is confident in the process and that the sink you select is designed for laminate undermounting.
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 9:30 AM by Angie Hall
Formica is still a strong player in the counter top game. The commitment to producing a great product with fresh colors and patterns is a strong reason for this. 
 
Posted @ Tuesday, June 24, 2014 2:20 PM by Bob Benhardt
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