Planning a kitchen remodel isn’t easy, especially when choosing a sink. There are more than ten types of kitchen sinks with a lot of aspects to consider.
Deciding whether to settle for an above-counter farmhouse sink or a below mount will simplify your work down the road.
And while below mount farmhouse sinks (undermount) are currently preferred for looks, above the counter (drop-in) make a better choice for the longevity of some countertop materials.
In this post, we compare above counter farmhouse sinks to below mount farmhouse sinks to help you make an informed buying decision.
What's in this Guide?
Quick Comparison Chart
|Feature||Above Counter Farmhouse Sink||Below Mount Farmhouse Sink|
|Ease of installation||Easy to install – DIY installation||Not easy to install – professional installation|
|Installation cost||Cheaper to install||Expensive to install|
|Countertop cleaning||A little difficult to clean||Easier to clean|
|Countertop space||Takes more counter space||Takes less counter space|
|Countertop material options||Wider variety of countertop materials||Limited countertop material options|
|Resale value||Lower resale value||Higher resale value|
What are Above Counter Farmhouse Sinks?
Also referred to as top mount, self-rimming, or drop-in sinks, above the counter farmhouse sinks feature a visible lip around their perimeter that sits on top of the countertop.
After cutting the countertop hole, an above-counter farmhouse sink basin drops straight in. It is held in place by the perimeter lip.
Hidden metal clips secure the sink beneath the countertop and a bead of silicone caulk under the fixture’s edge.
What are Below Mount Farmhouse Sinks?
Below mount farmhouse sinks are also referred to as undermount sinks. They mount to the bottom of the counter and are usually held in place by heavy-duty clips and a special adhesive or caulk.
Although undermounts have a lip, it isn’t visible as it sits against the bottom of the counter. The countertop edge is fully exposed around the sink cutout.
Below mount sinks are simply designed to allow the countertop to take the center stage. They are considered more marketable and in style than the above counter models.
An above counter farmhouse sink is installed from above, while a below mount requires installation from below. Other than that, the main concept is the same.
Both require mounting brackets to hold them in place and caulk for sealing.
However, top mount sinks are easier to install than undermounts since they don’t require much precision.
You can simply measure up and use a jigsaw to cut the hole to mount your top mount sink. It doesn’t have to look nice, just spacious enough to fit the sink and small enough for the lips to sit on the bench of all edges of your sink.
For an undermount sink, the cut-out hole sides require a higher level of finish.
When considering the cost of the two sink models, you have to think about the supply and installation costs.
In terms of supply, below mount farmhouse sinks are more expensive than above counter sinks of the same shape and material.
The cost of installing a below mount farmhouse sink is also higher in comparison to its counterpart. However, the savings can be much greater if you decide to install it without professional help.
Note that DIY installation of an undermount sink isn’t recommended as you can easily damage the countertop, leading to extra costs.
- Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to surface cleaning, the below mount models take the crown. You can sweep crumbs and wipe the water off the edge and into the sink easily.
On the other hand, the top mount may not be easy to clean since the rim barricades the dirt you want to brush away.
There’s usually a slight gap at the top of a below mount farmhouse sink where it joins with the countertop. This gap is filled with caulk during the installation process, but still, some space remains and can encourage buildup.
In the same way, a bead of caulk holds drop-in sinks to the counter below. The area can also harbor gunk hence the need for regular cleaning.
Therefore, whichever model you choose to go for, always check on your caulk and replace it when need be.
- Optimized Countertop Space
If yours is a tiny kitchen, invest in a below mount farmhouse sink. It takes less counter space than the drop-in models and is also the best if you want to draw attention to your countertop material.
With a below mount, the countertop can extend all the way to the sink unconstrained. In some models, it actually extends slightly into the sink.
You’ll lose some counter space with a drop-in sink because of the rim. Although this might appear like a minor drawback, it feels major if you are short on space.
- Countertop Options
With above counter farmhouse sinks, you can use a wide variety of materials for your counter. This is simply because the outer rim hides the cut-out hole in the countertop.
Some of the materials you can use include metal, stone, engineered stone, granite, laminates with plywood cores, etc.
The countertop rim is usually exposed along the perimeter with the below mount models. And for this reason, most individuals choose to install the fixtures on top of solid countertop materials like natural stone and quartz.
- Resale Value
Below mount farmhouse sinks highly improve the value of your home. They deliver a clean, streamlined look that most homeowners prefer.
These sinks are stylish, elegant, and designed to outlast current design trends.
Although expensive, below mount sinks deliver a high return and can improve the resale value of your home.
Pros and Cons of Above Counter Farmhouse Sink
- Easier for DIY installation
- More affordable
- Appropriate for porous countertops
- Easy to recaulk
- Harder to clean countertop
- Can collect water around the edges resulting in mold
Pros and Cons of Below Mount Farmhouse Sink
- It gives slightly more counter space
- Easier to clean countertop
- Attractive and elegant appearance
- Have deeper basins
- Requires professional installation
- Requires a solid-body countertop
Whether an above-counter farmhouse sink or below mount farmhouse sink is the right choice for your home is entirely up to you.
What is your budget? Preferences? Do you want a model that you can DIY install? What countertop top material do you intend to use?
Get answers to all these questions, and you will have found the right fit.