Drainboard Sinks: Everything You Need to Know

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When doing dishes by hand, many people pull out their drying rack and set it on the counter next to the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, doing so takes up quite a bit of counter space. And when it's time to put the rack away, you may discover that the water it captured ran under the tray rather than into the sink, creating a messy or moldy situation. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, it may be time to consider a drainboard kitchen sink.

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What is a drainboard sink?

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A drainboard kitchen sink is exactly what it sounds like — a sink with a drainboard built in. It's a handy feature for corralling dishes (or fruits and veggies!) that need to dry. Although the name isn't glamorous, the sink design can be. They come in the same variety of materials as their traditional counterparts — this includes stainless steel, granite composite, copper, fireclay, and Corian.

Like other sinks, you'll find both drop-in (self-rimming) and undermount drainboard styles. Most, however, are drop-in. They're also available as single basin farm sinks. You'll find that your drainboard can have multiple basins, though, so you won't need to give up your double sink if you like having a seperate area for washing and another for rinsing. You can also keep the single-bowl style if you wash a lot of large pots and pans.

The drainboard strainer is the only difference you'll find between drainboard and traditional basins (even if you have a utility sink), so you don't need to worry about installation headaches. Any licensed plumber or plumbing-proficient DIYer can install the feature, and it shouldn't interfere with your backsplash or kitchen faucet.

Drainboard Sink Pros and Cons

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There are many advantages to having a drainboard built right into your sink. Namely, it saves valuable kitchen real estate. You won't need to waste counter space on a freestanding dish rack, and if you need extra room, you can simply place a cutting board over the drainboard to create a work surface. When you do hand wash dishes, the built-in feature will channel excess water directly into the sink rather than making a mess.

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Additionally, if you place a cutting board over the drain to chop vegetables or other foods, it'll be easy to scrape any waste right into the garbage disposal. Moreover, if the sink is made of stainless steel or another heat-resistant material, the drainboard will create a place to set hot pots and pans.

Although drainboard kitchen sinks are incredibly convenient for the most part, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Many of them have ridges or grooves where dirt can gather. You may find you need a small brush to help you keep things clean. According to Fairfax Kitchen Bath, drainboard sinks may also feature a smaller basin than a traditional single- or double-bowl sink.

Drainboard Sink Installation

Drop-in, or self-rimming, drainboard sinks are the most readily available and the easiest to install. A hole is cut into the countertop where the sink will go, and the basin is lowered into place from above. On a self-rimming sink, the lip around the edge is wide and strong enough to support the weight and simply sits on top of the counter. When the sink is in place, you hook up the necessary plumbing and caulk around the rim to form a watertight seal.

You may also choose another drainboard option — undermount sinks get attached to the bottom of your countertop using sink clips and strong construction epoxy. Because they fit under rather than over the counter, you can wipe crumbs, dirt and water puddles directly into the vestibule without having to go over any trim at the edge of the sink. Note that because of their weight, undermount sinks don't work with every countertop material. They do well with stones like granite and quartz but aren't recommended for concrete or laminate.

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Remember that undermount sinks get heavy, especially when filled with water. Consequently, it's usually best to leave undermount installation to the professionals. The same is true for apron-front and farmhouse sinks. This variety often requires custom or modified cabinetry and sometimes leaves only a little room for additional fixtures. In addition to modifying your cabinets, you'll likely need to build a frame to support the bowl, which should generally be undermounted.

Top 6 Drainboard Sinks

We did some online browsing and found a plethora of stylish drainboard sinks that will work in just about any cook space. Whether you want a single or double basin, a stainless steel or cast iron finish, or want something completely fresh for your kitchen remodel, there's a drainboard style for you. Here are our top picks.

1. Allardt Drop-in Granite Composite Sink with Drainboard, starting at $319

This is the perfect, simple white drainboard sink from Signature Hardware, and it's small enough to fit into a snug kitchen. We also love its classic, drop-in style that's easy to install.

2. Elkay Quartz Composite Undermount Drainboard Sink, starting at $508

Available in three different finishes, this undermount sink on Build by Ferguson features a well designed drainboard right inside the basin for enhanced durability.

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3. Inez Farmhouse Apron Front Fireclay Sink, starting at $1,115

You can pick up this pretty apron sink from Home Depot and install it without having to wait on long production times. All the classic farmhouse charms, including a handy drainboard, make this one of our faves.

4. Signature Hardware Copper Undermount Sink with Drainboard, starting at $1,029

Skip the stainless steel kitchen sink, and go with copper. The material is unexpected but but always impactful. This copper drainboard and sink duo from Signature Hardware is 54" wide with plenty of room for pots, pans, and prep.

5. Elkay Double Basin Undermount Sink with Drainboard, starting at $464

This super cool sink we found on Amazon has a sleek modern vibe. As an added bonus, it features a double basin and roomy drainboard but won't break the bank.

6. Sudbury Cast Iron Wall Mount Sink with Drainboard, starting at $999

Turn on the retro charm in your kitchen with this wall mounted drainboard sink. The old world look from Magnus Home Products is perfect for a rustic or farmhouse kitchen or anyone who love the cottagecore look.

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As an Emmy Award winning creative director, writer and producer I have worked on content for brands like Disney, BravoTV, TBS, Universal, E! and MTV. But I mostly love rearranging furniture and repotting plants at home.