Countertop drainboard/runnels - pros and cons?
August 11, 2011 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm remodeling a kitchen. We want to do that thing where the countertop by the sink has a drainboard cut into the counter material. What are the limitations?

I know that stone-countertop makers can cut runnels (sloped grooves (1/2") in between sections (2") of regular flat countertop) in soapstone or granite. But I don't really trust that the water would drain off very well. I've seen some recommendations that one should wipe it off when you put away the pot, bowl, or produce that was drip-drying there - which is all well and good, except I was wanting a dish-drainer, not a place to set wet greens.

I know that Corain can be cut, and I think it's easier; the one I saw in a showroom looked like the lower-left image here. Much wider troughs for the water to run down, more of a sense of overall slope toward the sink even thoug again there are unmachined stripes of level countertop, too. But Corian surfaces are thinner than granite slabs, that whole slope wasn't very steep. Is it enough?

I have friends who were enthusiastic about including a sloped drainboard when they had the mold made for their concrete countertops. It's a full sloped cutout, not just a few grooves cut. We weren't planning on doing concrete, but htis is the form-factor we're really after. A slope down to the sink, is that so hard?

So, questions:
- Have you done either runnels or a full drainboard cutout? Do you like it? What about it do you not like?
- Are runnels sufficient to put a dishdrainer rack over or are they really just designed for setting a solitary pot to dry on?
- Oddly enough I've never seen runnels or a drainboard in quartz, though I've seen it in granite, soapstone, marble, concrete, and Corian. And of course Silestone/quartz is my husband's favorite. What's up with quartz - can drainboards for some reason not be done?
posted by aimedwander to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
I've only ever seen this done with Corian-like materials. A few end-users I've dealt with who had this feature added to their counters were happy with it, but none specified how well it actually worked.
posted by nickthetourist at 7:38 AM on August 11, 2011

I have runnels. They work pretty well and look cool. They're cut into black granite and drain into the smaller of the two sinks.

One thing I wish I had done though is not undermounted the bigger non runnelled sink. It looks nice. But practically it's a pain and I've taken four or five chips out of the edges of the granite with pans. Not big enough to ruin it or anything. But I would recommend a normal mount for your larger sink if you have more than one. That said it's not that big. So maybe with a bigger sink you'd be OK.

Other than that, love granite. Apart from the few minor chips it's pretty much indestructible and you can leave anything on it. Cannot imagine why people like wooden worksurfaces.
posted by rhymer at 9:19 AM on August 11, 2011

I had this on an apartment sink once and it was awesome. However it was a freestanding metal unit (bizarre old building).
posted by radioamy at 11:45 AM on August 11, 2011

Response by poster: I should add, another thing we were considering was this sink which is half basin + half drainboard. But it seems a bit odd to have the whole thing undermounted, i.e. the drainboard is then 1.5-2 inches below the counter surface.

At this point I think we'd prefer a counter-cut option to the sink, though it's anybody's guess what would end up cheaper. One interesting factoid is that prices really really vary on the cost to get runnels cut, from a couple of hundred total to $200+ per groove, in which case we'd fall back on the sink option.
posted by aimedwander at 12:27 PM on August 11, 2011

But it seems a bit odd to have the whole thing undermounted

Well, at least that way even larger pools of water can't run off onto your counters/floors.
posted by xedrik at 12:46 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

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