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Question DetailsAsked on 4/26/2014

Can an undermount sink be installed in an old formica countertop? I read that Quartz gives off toxic smells ; VOC

fumes. I want to get Quartz [granite has radon] but heard that the resin com[ponent gives off deadly fumes. Not worth the risk , in my view. Thx for U R help. :-)

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2 Answers

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Unless they have come up with a method recently and I doubt it there is no way to use an undermount sink on a formica top. I do not know of any problems with out gassing of toxic fumes from the resins use in almost all solid surface counters. I have never smelled anything other than that which happens when a field seam is being done and that disappears quickly. From what I have read the radon out gassing from granite has not been proven to be enough to be harmfull and the so called quartz tops are about 90% crushed stone anyway. To me the benefits of the either the real stones or man made stones far outway any possible danger if the is any. Most are almost scratch proof and hot pots and such can not hurt them and they last forever.

I am just returning from meeting with a customer I have done three kitchens for and she had a new man made stone counter put in a few years ago and we are getting ready to remove it and replace the cabinets and then reuse the counters as they still look brand new. You may be getting bias infomation from someone that does not do the solid surface or stone counters and wants to use formica since many carpenters can install that themselves.

Hope this helps Don

Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


1) Quartz and other synthetics do outgas when new - if you leave it unwrapped in the garage for a week, most people would not notice the smell after that time - and as other comment said, adhesive stinks for a day or two after installation but not noticeable after that.

2) The amount of radon you get from granite, unless you are using uanium ore for your countertop, is no more than you probably get from your yard and concrete foundation and slabs - several tests by government health and environmental agencies indicate you would basically have to sleep on it under a plastic tented covering for decades to pick up harmful radon effect. Except in radioactive material source areas, even the amount coming into a house fro the ground is not dangerous - what makes it dangerous in some cases is low or zero active ventilation in basements, so it accumulates and generates exposure there. Even then, in almost all cases, it is only a health hazard for basement bedrooms or other areas where people spend a very large amount of time - the amount of time you spend near your kitchen counters, which are almost always in a quite well ventilated area (except for basement flats), is far too little to pose any proven risk.

3) Undermount sinks come in all materials - even stainless.

4) Undermount with formica - BAD idea. The problem is, with a laminate (which includes formica) countertop, you do not have a solid surfacing material thickness, so the cutout for the sink exposes the plywood or particle board it is made of, and even though you can glue on a strip of formica to cover the exposed wood, there is really no way of positively sealing that exposed edge - hence it will eventually take up water and swell and disintegrate and mold, the same as the unfinished bottom edges of laminate countertops do in front of sinks where water frequently drips down over the lip - eventually crumbling away the base material.

5) I have seen some installers make "rimmers" out of solid synthetic countertop material seamed to the formica, which fits around the opening like a flush rim - but that still leaves a joint at the formica which will eventually, because it is right next to the sink, absorb water and start going bad.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


I know it's an old thread but I'm just posting for anyone doing research on the topic:

FYI.. You can install undermount sinks with Formica but it has to be done when the laminate is applied to the sustrate so old counters will not work. Link attached below from Formica. I'm considering for bathrooms because it would be nice if done cheaply so those counters could be updated without all the investment of quarts or granite.

We had quartz installed in our kithchen and the only smell of off gassing was the silicone caulk and that was only a day I think. Our quartz was late getting to us and then reordered because of a bad cut so I know it had not had any significant time to sit for any fumes to dissipate.


Answered 4 years ago by Mcyogi

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