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Under mount sink disaster- what would houzz do!?

Elizabeth Yannone
December 20, 2014
Today I filled my 36" stainless steel sink with water and 8 cast iron commercial burners from my stove to clean them. I was cleaning other areas of the stove when suddenly I heard a sound I will never forget... The sound of my under mount full sink detaching from the marble and falling down... Water rushing everywhere- it was a total disaster. The sink was properly attached- I just don't think the sink was meant to have the extreme weight of all the burners and water at the same time. I'm wondering if anyone ever experienced this unfortunate situation and what you did to make sure your sink had extra support after the repair or are you aware of any special techniques to provide extra support for an under mount sink.

Thanks!
Comments (52)
  • Elizabeth Yannone
    And I moved into my house a year ago
  • zazfuzzroc
    Yes, most definitely this can happen. Most things do have a limit. A friend of mine owned a granite shop and he always supported the sink. I'm not exactly sure of the method, but he would use wood to support the sink inside the cabinet. Sorry you had that experience, I can just imagine your surprise. I'm sure it was not pleasant. Good luck moving forward. I'm sure someone will stop with more info to help you. :)
  • PRO
    New Concept 180
    Our installers always use bracing on all sides of the sink cabinet. You could stand and jump in the sink if you really wanted to after that.
  • PRO
    Ellsworth Design Build
    I've seen painters standing in sinks. I don't recommend sinks as a ladder, but if they hold an overweight Hungarian painter they should hold you're stove burners!

    There need to be wood cleats screwed to the cabinet supporting the sink. The last install simply wasn't beefy enough.
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    You are fortunate the marble didn't crack.

    @raineycarole- Let's not be too hasty to point fingers. A gallon of water weighs 8.333 lbs. If the sink was full of water + another 100 lbs.,, in an undermount sink, which is probably held to the bottom mostly by a chemical bond, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, WE"RE GOIN" DOWN!

    @New Concept 180-Really? JUMP in it? You're taking dynamic load there...unless you have a 2 x 4 frame fastened the whole way around the cabinet, I find that hard to believe. That is, at least if I am the jumper.

    Look, @Zazzy is right. Upper cabinets are engineered to hold 100 lbs. of dishes, etc. If a customer would put 200 lbs. of china in it and it came off the wall, NMP.
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    @Ellsworth-Hallett- An undermount sink? I don't know if a counter top could hold that weight at the sink without failure of some kind.
  • zazfuzzroc
    @River, it's about time you gave me some props. Instead of a hard time. J/k Thanks! ;)
  • PRO
  • PRO
    Ellsworth Design Build
    I promise. Single bowl undermount sink in granite counters. Never used that painter again, but it was a good test of sink install!
  • PRO
    sstarr93
    very sobering. Undermount sink just held on with goo.... a bad fad. Perhaps you could replace with a more substantial unit?
  • sunnydrew
    I am still trying to figure out how your burners weigh 100 lbs. really? I am so sorry for your problem. I have never heard of a sink dropping down like that. It must have been just frightful.
  • whistlerhouse
    Next time, take your burners outside on the driveway, put newspaper underneath and spray the heck out of them with easy off. Let it sit as long as you can then hose off. Stove parts will be clean as a whistle and sink will be intact. I have an ultraline/Viking stove and this is what I do periodically.
  • Elizabeth Yannone
    I have a capital culinarian open burner 8 burner stove. The burners are heavier than any cast iron pot and pan I own (minus my dutch oven with the lid on)-- they are easily 15lbs each. Multiply that by 8 and well there is your weight. I will have a carpenter build extra support under the sink when it's fixed. I guess this is a live and learn lesson- if anyone has a really big sink then make sure it's installed with lots of extra support below!
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    A sink shoud NEVER be attached with just silicone or epoxy. That is 1000% installer error if that is how that was installed, which it appears to be. And 2cm stone requires a ply substrate, which also appears to be missing from this stone installation.Undermount sinks should aways have additional bracing from the cabinet itself. The Hercules Universal Sink Harness could support 1000 lbs because it doesn't rely on the bond between the stone and the sink for strength. Watch the video.

    http://www.braxton-bragg.com/index.cfm/m/1/fuseaction/store7catalog.level/bc/0,9096/

    And that is just ONE of the proper install methods. Here are additional braces that could have been used.

    http://www.braxton-bragg.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/store7catalog.level/bc/0,8459,10475/

    You need to raise 9 kinds of hell with the stone installer. It's their negligence that caused the failure. They need to clean up their mess.
  • Ann
    Wow, so sorry that happened. So glad your counter isn't cracked/damaged. Good lesson for all of us, glad I read the thread!
  • whistlerhouse
    Hi
    I looked at your stove type and easy off would clean it. My burners go black and greasy but are grey when the easy off does its work...and...no I do not work for them hahaha. I am a lazy cleaner. I was told to do this by the rep.
  • hatetoshop
    I wouldn't recommend using Easy Off outside then hosing the chemical into the storm sewers or ground.
  • PRO
    sstarr93
    what sophie wheeler said. Your sink was installed more like a decorative item than something to be used. The concept of a sink falling off a countertop is so silly...
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    BTW, cast iron grates should never be cleaned with either water or lye. Treat them like you would a cast iron skillet. You want them to develop seasoning. The baked on oil layer will become non-stick then. Just like a cast iron skillet. Putting them in a sink or cleaning them with lye is a sure way to get them to rust.
  • whistlerhouse
    Non stick grates? All that baked on grease would be stinky to say the least, but you are never ever going to put food on them and I have never had a pot stick to mine. They are coated so they don't rust. The underside of mine is not coated and I do my spray that side. The coated top side is easily cleaned with caustic easy off. Chemicals? Don't get me started on the whole industrialized food conversation. We all do our bit in our own way. I support organic food, grow my own, use non GMO
    and only natural cleaners like Pink Solution. But there are some areas where chemicals function better. I use a hybrid car. But unfortunately still use gas that may be a result of fracking
    . See what I mean. It's all about balance.
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    @Sophie- Let me clarify my statement. I said the sink is held mostly by chemical bond. Depending on the counter top material, there may also be some mechanical means to hold the sink up. Please peruse included videos.

    That sink support you suggested would certainly be ideal, but not necessarily a manufacturers requirement. We can argue all day about what an installer SHOULD do for, let us say, insurance. If indeed he installed the sink per manufacturer's instructions, why is it his fault. This is not to say that those cute little threaded inserts didn't fail, etc.




    Here's also a Hercules demo.
  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens
    @River - wait, you mean sometimes the installer does everything they were supposed to and bad stuff still happens? Then who do I get to yell at?

    To the OP, I'd call the installer and calmly let them know what happened. My guess is they'll be horrified and send someone as soon as they can, and they'll figure out what went wrong. That, to me, is a lot more productive than everyone getting all spun up over whose fault it must be. Kinda reminds me of this...
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    Drilling holes in the stone instead of using the strength of the cabinet box will bite any installer who relies on that. Too many ''granites'' are coming to market that could not stand that teatment without cracking. MIA standards reccommend additional cabinet based bracing "when weight is a consideration", which it always is in a sink that really gets used.
  • Fred S
    Regardless of what the sink manufacturer says, or even if an installer agrees to do it my way, those kind of installers won't even be allowed on my jobs. If they don't understand the basic principles of structural design, who knows what else they may be doing wrong, and if I have to sit there and babysit, I may as well do it myself.
  • linjofulch
    Same thing happened with my under mount sink. Filled with water and very heavy cookware. The sink was originally installed with just a bonding agent. It is a horrible thing to hear, and then to behold. My husband remounted the double sink with a bonding agent and brackets. However, I use the utility sink in the laundry room for cleaning burners and other heavy stuff now.
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    Ah, Fred , me lad! Ya need to be gittin' out morrrrrre. Houzz is rife with stories of granite top disasters which leads me to several conclusions: 1. Stone is an unfit material to be used for counters, 2. Customers have unrealistic expectations or 3. Everyone in the granite business is incompetent.
  • Fred S
    I am pretty sure it is (3) if you define "everyone" as only those that try to take shortcuts and believe that they are doing anybody a favor with such nonsense. There are plenty of people in the granite business that will refuse to do an install without proper support from underneath.
    You do know that at one point everybody was putting asbestos in everything, and thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread too, don't you?
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    #3 is close to the truth. Mainly because consumers shop on price and don't demand competence. I know of a dozen guys locally who've set themselves up as ''fabricators'' and don't even own a bridge saw. A garden hose and a shed and their drunk brother in law to help with the weight, and they are in business. No contractor's license. No insurance. Nothing but the cheapest price. And that's the sad state of the stone industry.
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    @Fred- That was possibly a little before my time; I don't remember when that particular product was banned.

    Anyway, now we're getting somewhere. I've never sold a granite job because I don't have the equipment to fabricate it, I don't like the material myself and the closest place to me that sells granite is probably a Big Blue Box.
  • Fred S
    You must still be wet behind the ears then, River. They were still banning asbestos in home products in the 80's and even 90's. Asbestos still isn't 100% banned today.
    Just goes to show you how hard it is to get rid of a bad idea. But the manufacturers are going to continue to promote these "easy installations" because it sells more products. It IS 100% the installers fault for promoting "drinking the koolaid", but I suppose your too young to know what that means too.
  • zazfuzzroc
    @Fred, What's wrong with being young? We were all there at one point, right? Never drank it......but I do have common sense which would tell me that the sink would need more support. lol :) I'm sure many good ideas of today......will be the horrors of tomorrow. It sure seems that way to me anyway? :)
  • feeny
    Ensuring proper support for our heavy cast iron sink was an important issue for our cabinetmaker/contractor (who installed it before the countertop fabricators arrived). I wonder whether the comparatively lightweight material of a stainless steel sink misleads some installers into thinking it doesn't need as much support, not considering how much weight will go in it.

    I'm so sorry about your sink disaster. I'd be horrified. Your marble counters are lovely, BTW, and I hope the sink can be replaced/repaired/supported without damaging them.
  • PRO
    Terri Weinstein Design, Inc
    Get a new plumber! This should never have happened!
  • PRO
    ProSource Memphis
    Sorry, but that failure has zero to do with the plumber, and everything to do with the granite fabricator not choosing to use a sink mount that would handle the weight.
  • Elizabeth Yannone
    I had about 112 lbs of cast iron in the sink (not including the water)- I included photos for anyone who didn't believe me! I don't blame the fabricator- he was excellent- the brackets that were installed in the marble is what snapped because of the weight. He was shocked when I called him and he would have come to help but he was away- he was willing to send someone else but I dont want the sink attached to the marble as the primary way to support the sink. Currently We have the sink supported by wood but I will look into the harness (thanks so much for the suggestion) or having an entire foundation support system built around the sink as soon as my carpenter is available. Please ignore the mess under the sink in the photo!I hate a built in garbage Bc I'm a weirdo. The burners are seasoned- but it's not the same as cast iron cookware. Every few months I give them a good scrub. They are incredibly durable and I'm very careful not to destroy the seasoning even with soaking. I have a good collection of staub cast iron, antique griswold cast iron-- and a carbon steel wok--- all materials are very prone to rusting and all of them are taken care of appropriately. :-)

    When the time comes in my life to have a new kitchen again, I will definitely know to make sure the sink has more than enough support than it will ever need. I will also advise anyone I know who is in the process of building or renovating to make sure their kitchen sink has extra support because you never know what you will need to put in there!

    Of all the advice I received (crazy for choosing marble, crazy for choosing white cabinets, crazy for having dark hardwood floors) nobody said I was crazy for not having extra support for my sink! So to everyone who ever wanted marble but you're scared Bc it's "delicate" I'm proof that the material that has been used throughout history in both architecture and art can survive not only time and trends but it can also survive crazy trauma. :-)

    Lesson learned: extra large sink means you must have serious heavy duty support


    Thanks so much everyone!!!
  • Ann
    Elizabeth - I just love your attitude. I typically think the people who work in our homes do the very best job they can, even when everything doesn't go exactly as planned (and it rarely does). Often, people are so quick to blame the workers when the issue is often a combination of unfortunate circumstances. I so appreciate you saying you had an excellent fabricator and I bet that's true. Good for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • PRO
    River Valley Cabinet Works
    @Fred- Maybe I just don't hang with the right homies. Asbestos must not be as sexy as lead because I was under the impression it was banned from being used in everything a long time ago. LRRP is the latest crisis and it gets a lot of press.

    Believe it or not, I do remember the 1970's; the Jonestown massacre, the Weather Underground, PLO hijackings, Patty Hearst, Jimmy Carter...yeah, a wonderful time was had by all. ;-0

    I guess this thread should serve notice to all granite/stone fabricators who are following "manufacturer's instructions"; pick up your game or be posted on Houzz.
  • hayleydaniels
    I haven't followed this whole discussion, but in response to Sophie's comment about consumers being price driven, I have to agree. And because a lot of them really can't afford the quality of granite they need, they go with a lesser one that doesn't hold up. I think it comes down to good old peer pressure where if you don't have a granite countertop, somehow you're a failure. And for those of us that live in older homes in older subdivisions, it's foolish to spend $7,500 on a countertop that we'll never recoup just to be 'cool.'
  • Maureen
    I think that many people install granite and marble for their beauty, classic look and because they believe they will stand up to wear and tear vs installing for a cool factor. Granite is now becoming very common so instead of it being cool, many designers are opting for other materials. If a resell market is stable, well done kitchens and bathrooms should always provide a return on the investment - but unless you are a flipper, the main driver should be to use what you can afford and love and not worry about recouping its cost.
  • PRO
    RB Marketing LLC dba Gas Copper Lanterns

    Why be so judgemental, too many people on this thread are too ready to "jump" pon something they disagree with. There were some very good suggestions that should prove helpful. I am about to have an undermount sink installed as soon as I commit to a counter top and I am grateful for the constructive information. Not everyone has the same tastes, we should be careful about criticizing others idea.

  • Ken Zhang

    So, what actually is the best way to install an undermount sink except drilling holds on the underside of the stone and using clips?

  • Sharon Rose

    This exact thing happened to me on Good Friday 2017. I was soaking some pots. My townhome built by Crest in Surrey BC was only 2 years old. Home warranty expired 5 days before that. The only thing holding up the sink was 2 small screws and chains. No brackets. The builder will not accept responsibility for this.

  • PRO
  • PRO
    R J Kelley. / Caroenter/ Handyman

    Undermount cast or porcelain sinks should be supported by interior framing and a plywood platform cutting out for drain. Placing the top of sink no more than 1/8" down. Silicone sealer ..water proof type will be applied to make water tight. No way the sink should drop out.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    Sorry, RJ, but wood, which grows on trees, shrinks. When it shrinks, it breaks the bond between the sink flange and the bottom of the top. A metal strap system never shrinks and never leaks.

  • Diane Leake

    Okay, now you PRO guys are making my head spin! I'm about to have a Silestone (pseudo granite) countertop and sink installed. If I read everything above right I should be sure the installer builds a wood cage around the sink, uses water tight cement for bonding, and a metal strap system around the whole mess. Aiee!!


  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    No wood cage, please (you may want to change the sink someday), and only 100% silicone sealant between the sink flange and the stone bottom. A strap system will hold it forever.

  • Türsün Uygür

    This happened to our sink as well. we didn't even fill water, only put a medium size pot. Every installer that thinks glue or silicone can hold the sink and full of water in it should go back to middle school and learn basic physics.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    You may not want to hear this, but you’re lucky the sink fell instead of just insidiously leaking. Silicone and strap it, please.

  • bibbus 7b

    This was quite an interesting post. Since it happened to me on Saturday, I’ve been paying attention to the details listed here. Turns out that the handyman who installed my faucet UNHOOKED the harness supporting the sink!! The sink came down while I was gone and fortunately I didn’t have much in it at the time or any standing water. My very experienced and professional granite fabricator fixed it and didn’t charge me even though it wasn’t his fault. But I will be more careful in the future anyway. I do wish contractors explained things like the harness and that there is a weight limit to sinks and upper cabinets. I didn’t know.

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