In the Market for a New Kitchen Sink? Here’s What You Need to Know
The kitchen sink is one of the most important fixtures in your home. Whether you are washing hands, vegetables, or dishes, you will need to depend on a reliable sink to get the job done. In this article, we will provide an overview of the most common types of kitchen sinks, and provide the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is most appropriate for your household’s needs. Read on to find the perfect-fitting sink for your next kitchen remodel!
Part 1: Materials
One of the most common (and affordable) kitchen sink materials is stainless steel. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 70% of all sinks in the U.S. are made of stainless steel. It’s a highly versatile material, making it appropriate for just about every style of sink on the market.
Stainless steel sinks are measured in gauges, with most residential sinks falling somewhere between 18 and 22 gauge steel. A heavier gauge (lower number) means a heavier sink, but it also means it will be more resistant to denting. Heavier gauge sinks are also known for being less noisy (when water sprays against the steel).
As one would imagine, stainless steel sinks are extremely durable and are essentially impervious to cracking and chipping. They also offer high resistance to heat and stains.
It is, however, somewhat difficult to keep stainless steel looking perfectly clean. It’s known for showing water spots and scratching more easily than other materials.
Copper sinks are a bold and stylish choice for a kitchen remodel. They are similar to stainless steel sinks in most regards. They are both measured in terms of gauge, and heavier gauge copper tends to be less noisy and more resistant to dents.
However, copper is unique in that it is typically handmade by specialty craftsmen. Homeowners looking to include a copper sink in their kitchen remodel may need to thoroughly inspect these fixtures before committing to a purchase, as their specialty and small-batch production creates a wide variety of quality in the market.
Copper sinks are also unique in the way that they develop a patina over time. This is essentially a worn, faded appearance. Homeowners are encouraged to expect and embrace this process, as copper is bound to lose it’s bright and shiny qualities over time.
Granite or Quartz Composite
Composite sinks feature a smooth, stone-like surface that fits nicely in high-end kitchen remodels. They are made with granite or quartz that is mixed with resin, creating a texture that’s similar to natural stone. The advantage of using composite over natural stone is that you won’t face the maintenance and durability issues that can come up with natural stone sinks.
Both granite and quartz composite sinks are extremely durable and highly resistant to stains and scratching. However, granite composite lasts a bit longer than quartz composite.
One of the oldest materials that have been used to produce kitchen sinks, cast-iron is still a great option today. The glossy enamel finish gives these sinks a timeless and luxurious appearance that fits beautifully in kitchen remodels of just about any style. As the name suggests, these sinks are made by casting iron. Beneath the smooth enamel coating, you would find a surface similar to a cast-iron skillet.
Thanks to that smooth enamel surface, cast-iron sinks are very easy to clean. The enamel is much more than simple paint, it’s actually a glass powder that has been fused to the iron. This creates an extremely hard surface that is highly resistant to fading.
There are a couple of drawbacks that come with cast iron sinks, however. For one thing, they are very heavy. This can sometimes mean providing additional supports beneath the sink, especially in the case of undermount installations. Another drawback is the price point for these sinks. They are often on the higher end of the price spectrum when it comes to kitchen sinks, and you can expect to pay even more for enamel finishes other than the standard white.
Using a similar process as the cast iron sinks covered above, fireclay sinks are made with ceramic clay in place of cast iron. The ceramic clay is then coated with a similar ceramic enamel coating.
Often selected for their high-end appearance, fireclay sinks are more expensive than most other materials. They are also prone to cracking, although proper care and installation can minimize this risk.
Fireclay sinks are most commonly selected for farmhouse style basins, which are a perfect fit for the soft, glossy surface associated with fireclay.
Part 2: Styles
As the name suggests, single basin sinks have just one compartment. While some may assume that more bowls are better when it comes to kitchen sinks, this is not always the case. For example, if counter space is sparse during your kitchen remodel, a single basin will allow for more space to work with. Plus, a single basin sink is much easier to clean than a double basin sink.
A double basin sink (a sink with two bowls) is a popular choice for kitchens with modern designs. This type of sink gives homeowners a great deal of flexibility for usage. These sinks are especially useful for those that choose to forego a dishwasher in favor of washing dishes by hand. This is because the two compartments allow for an ideal dishwashing workflow – one compartment for washing and one for rinsing.
An undermount sink installs directly under an opening in the countertop, exposing the edge of the countertop. There is no rim around the edges of the sink. This makes cleaning the countertops a breeze, as you can simply wipe debris directly into the sink without worrying about anything catching in grooves around the sides of the sink.
The most significant drawback that comes with undermount sinks are the additional installation costs. Stainless steel sinks are typically light enough to mount with glue alone, but heavier materials will require additional support below them. Additionally, you will need to create at least one extra hole in your countertop for the faucet.
Top Mount/Drop In
Top mount sinks are designed to drop into the opening in your countertop. Top mount sinks almost always feature a rim or lip that sits above the edge of the countertop. This makes for a clean, finished look.
However, the space between the sink rim and the countertop is liable to trap dirt and other debris. This can be difficult and time-consuming to clean properly.
A farmhouse sink has a large forward-facing ledge that replaces a section of the countertop. This style of sink is especially popular with homeowners seeking a traditional or country-style design for their kitchen remodel. However, they can also be found in stainless steel varieties that look equally appropriate in modern kitchen design. They are available in both single and double basin styles, although the single basin style is the more traditional choice.
Farmhouse sinks are typically selected for their aesthetic qualities, as they are functionally identical to standard top and undermount sinks. Homeowners can expect to pay higher prices for a farmhouse sink installation, as you will typically need to customize your countertop to accommodate the sink.
Ready to Start Designing the Kitchen of Your Dreams?
At Straight Line Design & Remodeling, we have been designing and building kitchens to meet the needs of families in the Portland metro area for over a decade. That means that we have the experience and know-how to bring your project to life while staying on schedule and on budget.