The One Big Drawback to a Farmhouse Sink

The One Big Drawback to a Farmhouse Sink

Alyssa Longobucco
Jul 21, 2018
(Image credit: Forrest Elliott)

Perhaps one of the most coveted looks in kitchen design right now is the modern farmhouse vibe. Championed by the likes of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the look is popular for its timeless charm, rustic finishes, and lived-in appeal. One of the hallmarks of the style? A nice, deep farmhouse sink.

The appealing qualities of an authentic farmhouse sink are countless. Also known as an apron or apron-front sink, they're often much deeper (and wider) than a traditional sink basin, making them especially ideal for large families or homes without a dishwasher. The exposed front that protrudes out past the edge of the cabinets also adds an extra dose of style to the space. And the farmhouse sink comes in fun materials including porcelain, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, copper, marble, and more.

But before you spring to action shopping for your new sink, there is an important factor to consider: Unless you already boast a farmhouse sink and are just swapping it out for a very similar style, there's a high possibility you may have to redo the surrounding countertop and cabinetry. Totally fine if you're already planning a full-scale kitchen renovation, but if not? Not such great news.

A major drawback: You may have to redo the surrounding countertop and cabinetry in order to install a farmhouse sink.

(Image credit: Eva Kosmas Flores)

The reason for the countertop redo? When it comes to farmhouse sinks, there are basically two options for installation: undermount and top mount (also known as drop-in) varieties. The most popular farmhouse sinks are undermount style, which, as the name implies, means they nestle under the countertop (not on top of), creating a seamless countertop edge surrounding the basin.

Undermount sinks are great for creating that custom, seamless look (and sweeping crumbs into the sink!), but become especially tricky when it's time to install them. Not only do you have to have the just-right size cutout in the countertop and a base cabinet that can support the weight (a larger porcelain style can weight upward of 300 pounds when filled with water!), but you'll also need to take extra care to have the joint between the countertop and the sink sealed properly so it doesn't leak.

Of course, the top-mounted farmhouse style sinks are often less expensive and easier to install (they sit atop the counter, so you can usually just drop them in), but they aren't as readily available as their undermount counterparts.

And depending on your cabinets, you might need to replace the ones under the sink for shorter doors in order to accommodate the apron front.

The takeaway? Know what you're getting into when you're picking out an undermount farmhouse sink and, if you can, plan the swap around a full-blown renovation or tap a pro to help you pull it off properly.

What other pros and cons come to mind when you think about getting a farmhouse sink?

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