Ed the Plumber: Advice on replacing a kitchen sink

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Q: My wife and I can’t decide on what type of kitchen sink to get for our new stone countertops. We’re down to choosing an under-mount or a drop-in. The big advantage so far is that our contractor told us that a drop-in will cost less to install. But the under-mount looks cool. Other than price, are there advantages if we install a drop-in style sink instead of an under-mount?

— Bill, Illinois

A: Let’s start with some basic information about under-mounts. They are usually installed on solid-surface or stone countertops because the counter edges of the sink opening are exposed. On top of looking “cool,” under-mount sinks have no raised sink edges, so crumbs can be wiped directly into the sink bowl.

But a drop-in sink does have some advantages as well. As you mentioned, installation can cost less because it’s a less complicated process. Usually, all you need is the correct size of hole cut into the countertop, and then you drop in the new sink. Also, because drop-ins are considered the standard type of sink, you may have more colors and styles to choose from. Finally, and this is a big one if you ever want to change your sink, a drop-in sink can usually be easily removed and a new one installed in its place without disturbing the countertop.

The choice will be yours, but here’s one more “under and over” bit of advice: Come in “under budget” and be “overjoyed” with your new kitchen sink.

Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.