There are few different things to consider when assessing your farmhouse sink installation options. These might also be referred to as "mounting types." Primarily, there's the issue what installation type will be used. For farmhouse sinks, also called Apron sinks, it will usually be one of the following:
- Undermount attached to countertops
- Apron undermount with reinforced cabinets
Let's focus on that second one.
The Apron Undermount Install
Though we often use the term "undermount" to describe farmhouse sink installation, adding the "Apron" term makes it a lot more accurate, since this indicates that we're not simply attaching it to the bottom of the countertops.
Most farmhouse sinks are too heavy to be installed this way.
An apron undermount means that we're using the following elements to support the weight of our sink:
- The structure of the cabinets
- Added wood framing around the base of the sink
- Attachment to the bottom of the countertops
This is the most effective and common of the farmhouse sink installation options, since it supports the weight of your sink with three different components; the countertops, the cabinets, and an additional wooden frame.
You can see in these photos of our farmhouse sink, the wooden 2x4s used to make a supporting frame:
I would argue that this wooden frame is the most crucial element of the installation, regardless of whether you're using an apron front or not. Assuming this installation type, let's look at some additional considerations.
When you're buying a farmhouse sink, you'll need to take into consideration a few different factors, and make note of them so you can make sure your contractor has all the information necessary to install the sink correctly.
How much does the sink weigh?
Farmhouse sinks can weigh anywhere between 30 and upwards of 60 pounds, though they typically fall in the 40-50 range. Make sure you get this information from the manufacturer and provide it to your contractor. Once they know the weight, they'll know how much support is needed from the bottom framing and cabinets to keep the sink from falling.
Ideally, you should be able to put a 20 pound child in the sink and fill it up with water, without worrying about the sink falling down or cracking the cabinets.
What are the sink's dimensions?
For whatever farmhouse sink you choose, you'll need to make note of the dimensions, including the width, depth, and height.
All of these numbers will impact the following:
- Cutting the countertops
- Cutting the cabinets
- How the supporting frame is setup
Most farmhouse sink's width measures somewhere between 30 and 36 inches. Though you'll need to confirm exact numbers so your contractor can do a proper undermount install.
What type of installation is the sink designed for?
Almost all farmhouse sinks are designed for an apron undermount installation. However, some are not designed for the exposed apron front and instead will sit enclosed within the cabinets and countertops. Keep this in mind as you shop for your farmhouse sink.
The odds of having a drop-in or vessel installation with a farmhouse sink is pretty minimal.
It'll always be undermount, but the question is whether or not you'll have the exposed apron front.
DIY or Contractor
I remember when our contractor installed our apron front farmhouse sink. Two people were needed and even then it looked like a really difficult job. It seemed especially tricky to deal with the 2x4 framing underneath the sink to make sure it would support the weight.
With that fresh in my memory, I wouldn't advise taking this on as a DIY project.
Hiring a contractor, which you might have done already if you're doing a kitchen renovation, is a far better option for making sure this is done right.
You don't want to get through the install process yourself, just to have your sink fall through the cabinets because it wasn't supported properly.
As you can see, I would only recommend one of the farmhouse sink installation options, being the apron undermount with added support. They're just too heavy to go with only the attachment to the bottom of the countertops. Again, this should always hinge on what a licensed general contractor is advising you to do, and I would not recommend taking this on as a DIY project.
Just make sure to do your homework on the sink you want to buy and provide your contractor with all the information they need to install it properly.
That should be all your need to worry about.