Approximate Space Needed Behind a Sink for a Faucet

Stainless Steel Sink and Countertop

How much space do you need from faucet to wall? Image via Wikimedia Commons

Kitchen remodels are fraught with little details that can be the difference between a kitchen that is just right for you or one that fills you with regret. Something as simple as how much counter top rim to allow behind your faucet can make a big difference in the use of your kitchen sink. 

We are committed to answering all your sink related question, like this one:

What is the recommended space allotment behind your kitchen faucet? 

Undermount Sinks

The answer can vary a bit depending on your sink and faucet as well as your countertop depth. In most cases the counter top will be 24 inches deep. In the case of an undermount sink the lip of the sink is not actually resting on top of the counter, but rather underneath it so you can go ahead and measure from where your sink back stops and your backsplash begins

In this case there should be about 3 inches of space from the edge of the sink to the wall/backsplash. In most cases this will allow at least a one inch rim around the front of the sink. 

Again, this measurement will depend on the size of your sink as well as your countertop depth. 

If you're looking for a new undermount sink, checkout our roundup of the best farmhouse sinks that we maintain and update regularly.

Drop In Sinks

You may notice I am talking about undermount sinks only. Drop in sinks don’t really leave any question of the fit in relation to the countertop depth. The lip is not obscured under the sink, and the faucet holes are usually pre drilled into the sink. In other words, you will easily be able to tell if your countertop depth can accommodate a drop in sink. 

Additional Considerations

Here are some other things which are important to consider:

Size of faucet. 

If you have a sink that is 20 inches long and a countertop depth of 24 inches, you may need to watch the size of faucet you install in order to maintain that 3 inch rim around the back of the sink. 

NOTE: when measuring sinks the distance from the front of the sink to the back of the sink is called the length, not the depth. 

The measurement taken from the left to the right of the sink is the width, and the depth is from the top edge to the bottom of the sink. I hope I didn’t just make your life even harder by explaining these terms but it is important to understand what they mean.  

Just know that depth of countertop corresponds to LENGTH of sink, not its width.

How your faucet is oriented

You may be just fine with that minimum of 3 inches because your faucet turns on with an up and down motion or a side to side motion. In some cases though the faucet installed will need to clear the wall behind the sink which could mean you need a bit more space. 


Hopefully these tidbits are helpful for easy installation of a perfect kitchen sink.

My advice is that you can never be too careful measuring and remeasuring and you will never regret measuring a distance even if you don’t end up needing that measurement. Thankfully most sinks and faucets don’t actually need a ton of room to operate properly on a standard countertop.

Now you can move on to the fun part of making your choices final and going ahead with that installation.

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