Back in the day, plastic laminate countertops were widely used in kitchens and bathrooms in many homes as they were easy to clean and did not require much maintenance. Laminate countertops are back in style with a bang, bringing with them a variety of modern shapes, sizes, and colors to add beauty, style, and glamor to every space.
A laminate countertop can easily support an undermount sink. Make sure that you have the correct reinforcement to support the type of sink that you install, as some sinks are heavier than others. Using a laminate countertop with an undermount sink gives you an alternate décor option.
When paired with an undermount sink, laminate countertops offer an array of affordable options which can modernize and add style to any home!
What Is a Laminate Countertop?
Today’s laminates are made from better quality top-end materials than in the past. To create a laminate sheet, the manufacturer layers resins onto brown kraft paper or particleboard and then adds a decorative print layer. A thin, transparent melamine resin layer is then added on top to protect all the other layers and provide resistance to scratching and heat.
The latest laminates offer hundreds of design options and are still more affordable than most other materials. The price of the laminate countertop depends on the pattern and color that you choose and whether you are using a standard design or a custom-made countertop.
New technology allows the laminate countertops to be designed to fit any modern-style home. They are used in kitchens, bathrooms, bars, and most notably in recreation areas which are well-utilized, as laminate countertops are so easy to keep clean!
Consider installing a textured laminate in areas you use most frequently, in order to disguise damage and stains. Unfortunately, accidents and mishaps will happen from time to time, and you cannot replace the countertop every time it is stained or scratched.
These companies manufacture top brand name laminate countertops:
- Formica. The original plastic laminate manufacturer and still the leader in their field.
- Wilsonart. Manufacturer of high-pressure laminates, including solid-surface materials and quartz.
- Nevamar. They supply artistic laminates, including standard wood grains, stone patterns, and abstracts, and texture prints in many colors.
Go online to order directly from the manufacturer, or, better still, visit your local home depot for ideas before your buy.
Pros And Cons Of Laminate Countertops
Modern laminated countertops have many benefits for the homeowner. Always place heat-resistant cloths down on the countertop for protection before placing anything hot on the counters.
- Very DIY-friendly and easy to install. Laminate is lightweight sheeting. You can likely install it without professional help.
- Extremely budget-friendly. Inexpensive countertops are perfect for people who like to change their décor often and perfect for a kitchen remodel on a budget.
- Easy to clean and maintain. Laminate can be cleaned using any household cleaning materials; no special detergents are required. Permanent stains can be avoided if spills are cleaned away quickly.
- Various design options to suit any space. These countertops can mimic other expensive materials like marble and wood but at a much better and affordable price. In addition, laminate sheeting can be cut to any design so you can design the stylish and functional space of your dreams!
- Laminate countertops are available as custom-built one-of-a-kind designs, or they can be purchased ready-made off the shelf. In addition, laminate sheeting is available if you are going the DIY route.
- Laminate countertops are the perfect match for undermount sinks!
There are a few minor issues associated with laminated countertops that you should be informed of before you buy:
- Laminate is plastic which means that it can melt. This will only happen if exposed to much heat – it is mildly heat resistant, but it’s best to avoid placing hot items directly onto the laminate to prevent damage.
- Laminate countertops can have a short lifespan if not looked after correctly. Always use chopping boards when cutting vegetables and meat to avoid chipping the laminate and heat-resistant pads for hot pots. Do not clean with abrasives or steel wool.
- They can be difficult to repair and replace if damaged. This means you may need to replace the entire countertop as you won’t be able to replace a single piece.
- If not installed correctly, laminate countertops can have weak points along grout lines and seams. So poorly installed, it might not support the weight of an undermount sink.
Top Tip: When buying your laminate sheeting, always buy a few extra pieces to keep in reserve for replacing damaged countertops. It’s challenging to find an exact match if you do need to replace damaged laminate countertops.
What Is An Undermount Sink?
What defines an undermount sink is a sink installed underneath a countertop, as opposed to an overmount drop-in sink installed at the top of the counter. It effectively hangs underneath the countertop creating a sealed continuous flow from the countertop to the sink.
While a drop-in sink is generally set in a pre-cut hole in the countertop with edges that rest on top of the counter,an undermount sink is placed under a custom-cut hole in the countertop. The edge lip of the undermount sink is fastened to the countertop, so in effect, the sink hangs underneath the countertop without any supports underneath it.
If you’re still not clear, read more about the different types of sinks that typically come with a bathroom vanity in this post. You’ll see images, too, to help you picture the differences between integrated sinks, vessel sinks, drop-in sinks and undermount sinks.
As a sink is generally used for washing cutlery and crockery, it is designed to be solid and sturdy enough to hold heavy weights. Typically made from stainless steel, ceramic, or even cast iron, an undermount sink needs to be attached to a well-designed, strong countertop to ensure that it won’t come crashing down when it is being used. Laminate countertops are designed for use with undermount sinks.
Undermount Sink Styles
Undermount sinks are available in four styles:
Square and rectangular-shaped sinks allow for more countertop space and are generally used in the kitchen. The rounder-shaped sinks offer more sink space and are typically used as basins in the bathroom.
When designing your new kitchen or bathroom space, bear in mind the available shapes of the undermount sink and make sure that you have ample space in the room for the sink to fit in. In addition, the materials used on your new countertop and undermount sink should blend perfectly with the aesthetics of your new space.
Sizes of Undermount Sinks
There are different sized undermount sinks available on the market, so there should be a shape and size to suit your needs and fit into your space.
- Bathroom undermount sink sizes typically range from 10 – 17 inches (25 – 43cms) wide.
- Kitchen undermount sink sizes range from 16 – 17 inches (40 – 43cms) wide.
If you are planning to install your new undermount sink under an existing laminate countertop, make sure you measure the space correctly to avoid buying the wrong-sized countertops and sink!
Pros and Cons of Undermount Sinks
Although a bit more complicated to install than a drop-in sink, under-mount sinks are worth the extra effort. Here’s why:
- Undermount sinks are customizable. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.
- They are available as single or double-bowl sinks.
- Various shaped undermount sinks allow for placement in different spaces in the room.
- Cabinets and countertops can be built around the undermount sink, allowing for additional storage.
- Visually, undermount sinks are stunning! Because they sit below the countertop, the edge of the sink is hidden from view, creating a seamless look.
- With a sink installed underneath the countertop, there is more countertop space to work on.
- Cleaning countertops is so much easier with an undermount sink! Simply wipe food particles and crumbs into the sink.
- Undercounter sinks add value to your home with their stylish good looks!
Are there any problems with an undermount sink? Let’s have a look!
- Installing an undermount sink is more complicated than installing a drop-in sink. If your budget allows, hire a professional to install the sink and get the job done correctly.
- Undermount sinks are heavy. They require the extra support of solid countertops.
- They are more expensive than drop-in sinks.
- An undermount sink will sit lower into the countertop than a drop-in sink. You may need to bend over further into the sink to reach items inside.
- More cabinet space is used under the sink. The undermount sink is lower in the cabinet than a drop-in sink.
- Additional insulation is required if installing into an existing countertop. This will prevent leaking and problems with bathroom mold in the future.
- Faucets need to be attached to the wall or the countertop and not to the sink itself.
- Replacing the sink may mean replacing the vanity and countertop as well. If you need to replace the undermount sink in the future, the chances are that you will have to replace the entire cabinet and countertop too.
Can a Laminate Countertop Support an Undermount Sink?
A laminate countertop is an ideal material for an undermount sink. The only concern when using a laminate counter with a particleboard core is the stability of the countertop and the strength of the laminate. If the laminate is weak, it will bend or crack if the bond with the particleboard is damaged or broken.
The particleboard can weaken if saturated with water which could cause the undermount sink to sag. This can pull down the edge of the counter, causing damage to the countertop. To prevent water damage and sink sagging, schedule regular maintenance of the plumbing and immediately tend to any leaky faucets or pipes
Use Adhesive Strong Enough for the Job
Glue the undermount sink into the countertop with a strong adhesive made specifically for undermount sinks. When the sink is filled with water, a downward force is exerted on the bond. Therefore, the bond needs to be strong enough to withstand this downward force to make the installation of the undermount sink reliable and secure.
Therefore, it is vital to use an adhesive specifically made for this task, as any old adhesive won’t do and could compromise the installation.
Check the Sink Material
Not all undermount sinks are made from materials that can be attached to laminate countertops. For example, some stainless steel undermount sinks have steel-rolled rims which don’t meet the specs, while others do have the required resin rim and can safely be attached to the laminate countertop.
Most acrylic undermount sinks have the required rim and can easily be attached to the laminate countertop. Acrylic and stainless-steel sinks are lighter than stone or ceramic sinks, which means less weight is placed on the laminate countertop.
How to Attach an Undermount Sink to a Laminate Countertop
An undermount sink that is going to be attached to laminate countertops should have a 1 inch (2.5cm) wide rim made from resin. The resin must be machined entirely flat to meet the bowl wall at a 90-degree angle. A solid surface seam adhesive should be applied to bond the rim to the back of the laminate countertop to keep the seam watertight.
Follow these instructions to install an undermount sink to a laminate countertop:
What materials do I need for the installation?
- A laminate countertop
- An undermount sink of your choice
- Adhesive glue
- A measuring tape
- A pencil
- A template of the sink
- A sheet of laminate attached to a core board
- An electric hand drill
- A saber saw, or a hand saw
- Denatured alcohol and a clean cloth
How to install an undermount sink:
- Lay the laminate countertop upside down and measure and mark the spot for the sink on the back of the board. Then, draw around the template with a pencil.
- Cut an opening in the laminate countertop using a drill. First, drill a hole in the corner, then, using a saw, cut around the space following the pencil marks.
- Mark and drill holes for mounting the screws.
- Using the alcohol and cloth, clean around the cut edges of the hole opening and the sink edges.
- Cover the edge of the hole on the outside of the sheet with the adhesive. Wipe off the excess.
- Turn over the laminate countertop and install the undermount sink according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Install the faucets and apply putty to make sure all the water supply lines and connections are watertight.
- Install drain traps and connect to the plumbing.
- Turn on the water and check for water leakages. Tighten all fittings if water lea
Have a look at this DIY installation for more ideas on how to install your new undermount sink:
Laminate Countertop Supports an Undermount Sink
While a laminate countertop can support an undermount sink with a resin rim, it can also support your budget! Stylish laminated countertops in the color and design of your choice will look so good with a functional undermount sink at a price that you just can’t beat.
Even if you are on a budget, designing and choosing your new fixtures for your bathroom or kitchen is exciting! You can finally get rid of the old worn-out faucets and replace them with gorgeous faucets to make your space dazzle.
Read my complete guide to find the best faucets, including many that are quite affordable. And be sure to fill out the form below to get genius designer hacks that can literally help you save thousands of dollars on a bathroom remodel.