Cabinet Details for an Apron Front Sink

"Farmer's" sinks have an apron front that overhangs the cabinet face. Here, cabinetmakers discuss the difficulties that can arise, and how to address them. February 28, 2006

I am currently building a frameless kitchen with full overlay doors that calls for a 30 in wide apron front / farmers sink. The sink cabinet is 36 in wide and next to the dishwasher. The company manufacturing the sink said that the sink just rests on the side walls of the cabinet with the top lip of the sink being flush with the adjacent cabinets. A bead of silicone is placed on the top edge of the sink before the counters go on. Since this is a frameless cabinet I was thinking of building a small U shaped face frame to surround the front of the sink that would be flush with the doors below but still does not resolve the problem of what the sink will rest on. It seems to me like there should be some mechanical fasteners built into the sink and counter to join the two together without relying on the cabinet below for all the support. Has anyone else out there run into a similar situation and how did you resolve the problem??

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
Your cabinet must hold the sink, and it is not light. I always have my customers have their sinks delivered to my shop so that I can ensure a good fit. Some sinks have a lip which will fit against the U-shaped frame you mentioned and some do not. If you have one that does not have the lip, your tolerances must be really close.

From contributor B:
Definitely do not trust specs. Take the sink to your shop. I just did a kitchen with the Kohler 33" sink and it took a lot of attention to get it looking correct on the front frame. As for support, I used a U-shaped cleat that was supported on 3 sides. The front was not supported. The sink was heavy. They are a lot of work but look great.

From contributor C:
I've found no two sinks of this kind to be alike, and no two sides on one sink to be exact either.

From contributor D:
I definitely agree with the others, either get the sink in your shop or go to the house and take careful measurements.

From contributor E:
I've only done one but I used a U-shaped face-frame as you suggested. The counter was to be marble. To support the sink, I built a plywood shelf across the cabinet and used t-nuts and bolts to push up a second, moveable shelf upon which the sink feet rested. I epoxied flat steel onto the underside of the upper, moveable shelf where the 4 bolts contacted it, so they wouldn't dig in. The sink was installed slightly low, and the counter installed and the shelf/sink assembly jacked up to the counter using the bolts.

From contributor F:
I just completed an apron sink on our last job - a Rohl sink hand-made in Sheffield England. I mention the fact that it's handmade because the specs can be way off. Not only do the tolerances for the front of the sink have to be tight for a good fit, but you have to measure all four corners to make sure whatever support system you build will allow the sink to be installed level
On the sink that we installed (and I definitely concur you should have the sink delivered to your shop) not one of the four corners were the same height. They ranged from 9-7/16" to 10-3/16, so a decision had to be made: cut the cabinet sink opening level to match the door reveals below and have the top of the sink not level, or cut the cabinet to level the top of the sink, throwing off the reveals?

We chose to keep the sink top level for the matching countertop. I hated to do it, but it made the most sense. But even then there was a problem that none of us had considered: keeping the sink top level to match up with the countertop was great, but it meant the bottom of the sink was not level, creating a puddle of water on one side that never drained out. It's not much thankfully, but we had to bring it to the attention of the homeowner and get her input.

From contributor G:
I have built quite a few of these sink bases and it is a lot of work, as others have said. I usually build a standard base cabinet wide enough to swallow the sink with maybe an eighth wiggle room. Then we build the stretchers across the back with 2.5" wide nailers in an L and add some false sides of 3/4" plywood inside the cabinet screwed to the inside walls on both sides. Then we just build a face frame to hide the lower lip of the bottom of the sink that usually curls in slightly. We usually frame the front of the sink to the top of the cabinet and hide what little gap there may be left. Upon installation a little silicone or construction adhesive and some laminate shims on top of the false sidewalls ensures a square, level sink.