Installing a Farmhouse Sink: Choosing Premade or Custom Cabinets
Installing a farmhouse sink is a great way to improve the form and function of your kitchen. It is a profound upgrade from a typical drop-in sink and also requires a larger space in the cabinet and countertop. So how should you plan for your cabinetry?
A farmhouse sink is a unique and useful feature for your kitchen. The basin is a deep rectangle with plenty of room for dishes, cooking, and large projects. They are usually a single chamber, though some have as many as three rectangular basins in the sink space. The unique feature of farmhouse sinks is that they extend beyond the countertop edge. Farmhouse sinks are more accessible because you can stand directly at the sink's edge. However, they also pose a challenge for cabinetry.
To make space for the extra-large sink, you'll need an 'apron-skirt' cabinet design. A farmhouse sink can't fit into the usual drop-in sink space and extends over the top quarter of the lower cabinet. This requires a full re-design of the cabinet and countertop where your farmhouse sink is installed. Often, we are asked whether premade cabinets or custom cabinets are the better option for a farmhouse sink installation. The right answer depends entirely on your sink choices and the extent of your kitchen project.
For DIY-ers and renovation project planners, let's dive into the difference between your cabinet choices for installing a farmhouse sink.
What is an Apron-Skirt Cabinet?
The defining feature of a farmhouse sink cabinet is the apron-skirt design. This cuts a larger section from both the countertop and the front of the cabinet. Because the sink protrudes from counter and the front of the cabinetry at the front corner, it needs a two-surface cutout.
Apron-skirt cabinets have also been used for appliances with a control panel, like countertop stoves, but the design differs.
Apron Cut-Out for the Sink
The cut-out is the defining factor of the apron-skirt cabinet. It creates the necessary room for your sink designed to perfectly cradle your new farmhouse sink. The apron-skirt cutout will need to be sized to fit your sink with two or more inches of countertop and cabinet space around the sink perimeter.
Lower Cabinet Door
Because the top of the front panel is cut away, your cabinet doors also can't block this space. You'll want smaller and lower-set cabinet doors below the bottom level of the sink. This allows you to access the plumbing underneath.
Countertop Cutout Fits the Apron
The countertop is the final piece of the puzzle, though is not strictly cabinets. You will also need a custom or farmhouse-fit countertop with a larger open-front sink cutout for a farmhouse sink. The cutout in the countertop must match both the apron width and then the sink width in order of installation.
Installing Premade Apron-Skirt Cabinets
Premade cabinets were designed to install quickly and in matching sets. They are usually made of pressed board which is sturdy but has some added susceptibility to moisture. Premade cabinets may or may not include the apron skirt model in the dimensions you need. It's reasonably common for homeowners to start with premade cabinets, then cut to fit if the dimensions of the sink warrant.
The Apron-Skirt Cabinet Model
First, you'll need to find an apron-skirt model offered in the premade cabinets you want to install. Not every brand or cabinet line includes an apron-skirt model. Then make sure the apron skirt cabinet is wide enough for your sink. You'll want some space on each side so that the sink is framed by the cabinet instead of overwhelming it.
Matching Size or Cutting to Fit
When choosing a premade cabinet for your farmhouse sink, you'll need to fit the size carefully. Not only do you need a cabinet a few inches wider than your sink, but the apron cutout size also needs to properly fit your sink. Otherwise, you'll find yourself cutting cabinetry even with premade models.
Farmhouse Size Limitations
Farmhouse sink sizes vary widely from double-wide sinks that take up two whole cabinet lengths to modest deep basins in a compact kitchen. With premade cabinets, you will need to guide your farmhouse sink size selection to those that fit inside the premade apron skirt cabinet models.
Ordering Custom Farmhouse Sink Cabinets
Custom cabinetry is when you order cabinets made to your exact specifications. Your kitchen's measurements will be used along with the measurements for every fixture and appliance - including your farmhouse sink. If you want to be sure your cabinets will install with the sink beautifully and completely the first time, custom cabinets are the leading choice.
Custom-Perfect Fit for Your Sink Dimensions
Custom cabinetry is always cut to fit, and is often the solution for unusually sized spaces. If you can't find a premade model to fit your favorite farmhouse sink, custom cabinets will always have the answer because each piece is made to order. The cabinetry will fit not only the dimensions of your sink, but also the unique dimensions of your kitchen.
Personalization and a Splash of Luxury
Once you've decided to go with custom cabinetry, why not do more? This is your opportunity to add a few more custom touches that will make your kitchen more functional and enjoyable. Choose a rich varnish for your finish and a luxurious wood tone. Or get a few square feet back by redesigning the dimensions of your cabinet space. You can add hidden storage or upgrade appliances that will mesh perfectly with the cabinets being built.
When installing a farmhouse sink, don't forget about the countertop. You'll need another 'apron' style cutout on top o f your counter to make room for the large rectangular basin. Have your old countertop cut or work with your new countertop stonecutters to ensure the sink apron-slot will line up perfectly and securely cradle your farmhouse sink.
Altering Your Cabinetry for a Farmhouse Sink
You may also be considering altering your current sink cabinet and countertop cutout. With the right tools and expertise, this is possible but also potentially risky. Be careful when working with your cabinets or using power tools near plumbing. If you're determined to up-cycle your cabinet or are curious about the process, here's how you can convert a typical sink countertop into a farmhouse sink base.
Cut the Apron-Skirt or Replace the Front Panel
First, use a small saw tool to cut the apron space from the front of your cabinet. Use your sink as a reference to measure the space.
Cut & Finish the Countertop Slab
You'll l also need to cut and refinish your countertop. You may require a stonecutter, specialized tools, or a specialist to cut the coutnertop depending on what its made of.
Install Smaller Cabinet Doors
Lastly, you'll want to install new below-sink cabinet doors that give you access to the pipes under the sink. These will be shorter than the previous cabinet doors but can be the same doors cut down and re-balanced for hinges.
Which is the best type of cabinet installation for your farmhouse sink? Would you rather an apron-skirt premade cabinet or custom cut and made to order cabinetry? The choice is entirely up to you. Whether you are building a home's first kitchen or renovating an existing sink, we're here to help you find exactly the farmhouse sink and installation solutions you need. Contact us today to explore your best farmhouse sink options.