It’s time to discuss an often neglected item in a kitchen design or kitchen remodel: the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is a fundamental part of what is arguably the most important room in the house, the kitchen. And with all the use and abuse it takes in a lifetime, the kitchen sink you choose will have a big impact on the end product when designing or remodeling your kitchen.
As with most decisions in the home, there is no one right answer for everyone, but by understanding your choices and making an informed decision, you can guarantee you will end up with a kitchen sink that is right for you. There are literally thousands of kitchen sink choices available, but here are the three main areas you need to consider when making a kitchen sink purchase: the installation type, the configuration and size, and the material.
There are four ways to install a kitchen sink.
With the drop-in method, the sink is dropped in and lays on top of the countertop. Historically, the majority of sinks were done this way because it is the easiest option and works with any material. It does have the disadvantage, however, of leaving a rim around the sink that can trap food and grime. You cannot wipe food or liquids right into the sink because they will get caught on the lip.
With the undermount method, an opening the exact size of the sink is cut out of countertop and the sink is mounted underneath. This method usually costs a bit more, but leaves a smooth edge to allow you to sweep food and liquids right into the sink, without a lip or edge to trap any debris.
Sinks made for tile countertops are similar to drop-ins but are made so that the edge will be flush against the tile countertop. There is usually a line of grout between the edge of the sink and the surrounding row of tile.
While most farmhouse sinks are undermounted, the technique is different enough to warrant their own category. The front of a farmhouse sink is exposed and finished, so it requires a special cabinet to be mounted properly and provide some additional support for the extra weight.
Configuration and Size
There are so many choices and styles for the number of bowls and their arrangement, but luckily size is an easier topic. Most cooks and homeowners prefer a deep sink, which today means 8-10” deep and almost all kitchen sinks are made to fit in the 24” depth of a standard base sink cabinet. As for the width, you may want to select as big a sink as will fit into your sink cabinet but you will need to allow a few inches for the mounting brackets. Generally, it’s best to select a sink that is 2-3” narrower than your base cabinet to insure a good fit. So for example, a 33” sink would make a perfect choice for a 36” wide cabinet. Once you select a size, you’ll need to select the bowl configuration that works best based on your cooking and cleaning habits.
A single bowl sink is exactly what the name implies: one bowl. Single bowl sinks have become extremely popular in the last 20 years because many cooks enjoy that they can place large pots and pans, cooking sheets, or even a lot of dirty dishes completely inside the sink. It’s important to keep in mind though that you won’t be able to fill the sink with dishes and still have the ability to rinse vegetables or soak a dish with tough residue.
Having a sink with two bowls makes it easy and convenient to perform multiple tasks at once – you can wash dishes or soak a pan while also rinsing vegetables. You can choose from sinks with bowls of the same size or with one large bowl and one small. Keep in mind that the main disadvantage of the double bowl is that you may sometimes miss having a large sink space.
The least popular kitchen sink option is a three bowl sink which typically consists of two same-sized bowls and a third, smaller bowl in the center. The center bowl usually houses the garbage disposal. The advantage of this option is that you can keep the garbage disposal separate from where you’ll be rinsing food or cleaning dishes, however, it does take up quite a bit more countertop real estate than a one or two bowl sink.
When it comes to selecting a material for your kitchen sink, there are many options with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to carefully consider each option before you make a selection.
Stainless steel is durable, easy to clean, and provides a consistent look if you have stainless appliances. Keep in mind that if you have hard water your sink may get spots and stainless steel tends to scratch. Stainless steel is measured by thickness, so if you decide on this option it’s best to choose a sink with 16 or 18 gauge for the best quality.
Cast Iron (Porcelain)
Cast iron or porcelain kitchen sinks are for more traditional kitchen designs and come in a wide variety of colors. However, due to its porous material, this option tends to chip, stain, and crack over time with hard use. Abrasive cleaners can dull their finish and their heavier weight may require additional bracing and work to keep them secure
There are numerous companies that offer kitchen sinks made from special polymers, granite mixes, and other materials. Composite sinks are usually made to provide the look of stone without the weight and expense. While they do have a price and weight advantage and require less maintenance than natural granites and stones, this option can still scratch and stain.
There is much to keep in mind when choosing the right kitchen sink for you. With careful consideration and by analyzing how you use your current sink, you will be sure to make the perfect selection for you kitchen design.
If you have any questions about the different sink options available to you or are interested in scheduling a free estimate, contact us here at The Kitchen Man!