How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink
Kitchen sinks are by far the most used fixture in the kitchen. Consider how many times a day you use your kitchen sink compared to the number of times you use your stove or microwave.
Considering the evolution of the kitchen into the multi-functional hub of activity in the home, sinks have had to evolve as well. The result is a wide array of choices including everything from materials to bowl configuration. This means that a lot more thought needs to go into choosing the right kitchen sink, in terms of design and functionality, for your home.
First, you need to be aware of all the choices and options that are now available to you. Sinks have come a long way over the years and they are no longer considered just a wash basin.
Next, you need to have a good understanding of what your needs and preferences are and whether you’re simply replacing an existing sink or doing a complete kitchen remodel.
Combining these two areas of information will help you find matches that will provide a new sink you will be satisfied with.
Basic Factors to Consider
Having a firm understanding of what you want from these basic features will help you narrow down the list of available choices and target your search. From there you can zero in on the range of options offered by the various manufacturers that fit into those three basic criteria.
Type of Installation
Self-rimming, or drop-in sinks as they are sometimes called, are the easiest to install. These type of sinks are easily positioned into a cutout in the countertop on top of a base cabinet, supported by the flanges of the sink that overlap the cutout.
The biggest disadvantage to this type of installation is the barrier between the countertop surface and the bowl that’s formed by the lip. When you try to sweep food and liquids into the sink, from the countertop, you end up catching the debris at the edge of the sink, where the countertop meets.
Undermount sinks are attached under the countertop. The sink either hangs from the underside of the countertop or it is supported from underneath the cabinet by the base cabinet structure.
Undermount sinks allow you to brush items from the countertop directly into the sink without any “catch points” which can capture food particles and moisture. These sinks require clips and other mechanical fastening devices to attach them to the countertop. Heavier kitchen sinks, made out of cast iron or stone require a well-designed mounting system in an undermount installation.
A solid surface sink combined with a solid surface countertop is another form of undermount sink although it may not appear as such. In this situation the sink is glued to the underside of the solid surface countertop. The joint between the two surfaces is then smoothed, making the seam between the two surfaces invisible.
Flush mount sinks are also called “tile edge” sinks. They are similar to a drop-in sink except they are used with a tiled countertop. The tile is installed so that it’s flush with the mounting flange of the sink providing a flush surface with the countertop. There’s usually a grout line between the edge of the sink and the tile.
Configuration and Size
A sink’s configuration refers to it’s design, including the number of bowls, whether the corners are square or rounded, number of faucet holes, etc. Size, of course, refers to the dimensions of the sink.
A smaller, single-bowl configuration may work better in a small galley kitchen, whereas a large kitchen may be able to accommodate a wide three-bowl, multi-depth chef sink. Another idea is to install a corner sink configuration that makes the most of a kitchen’s available area.
Choosing the size and configuration that best fits your space and lifestyle is important.
Stainless sinks have a bit more “give” than a harder material like cast iron and are more forgiving when dishes and glassware are dropped.
Typical colors are white and off-white, although there are some blue, black and grey products as well. Fireclay differs from cast iron because cast iron forms the primary structure of the sink, which is coated in a porcelain enamel. Fireclay in contrast, is a clay based structure with a topical glaze, that’s fused with the fireclay base.
These are only a few of the more common sink materials on the market, there are several other, more custom, materials for kitchen sinks in a wide variety of textures and finishes.
Additional Aspects to Consider When Buying a Kitchen Sink
Take the time to become familiar with all the new features in kitchen sinks and you will have a better chance finding a sink you will not only be happy with but one that will make your kitchen a more efficient work space.