“How do I pick out a kitchen sink?!”
Most homeowners are surprised by the variety and variations of kitchen sinks that are available. We are going to start with an overview of styles, and then we’ll get into the list of sink sizes, materials and features.
Below, from the left, we have an integrated sink, that is actually molded into your solid surface countertop (a brand name of a solid surface countertop would be Corian). Next, we have a typical drop-in sink, commonly used for laminate countertops. Then we have an undermount sink, which is currently the most widely used type of sink (shown here in a composite material). And far right is your farm sink, also referred to as an apron sink (this style is available undermount or drop-in, or even in-set, and raised above the level of the countertop).
SIZE- When shopping, the sink cabinet size is what will guide you. A common range for a sink cabinet is 30-36″ wide. If you are looking into a farm sink or apron-front sink, the details matter, and a completely different approach is taken. The sink size must be determined, prior to finalizing the cabinet package. There’s a little more flexibility if you will be exploring undermount or drop-in sinks, but due to the variance in design of apron sinks, specifications of this style are needed for ordering the appropriate cabinetry.
DEPTH & DIVISION- In this particular case, the depth is how deep each “bowl” is. If you want two bowls, you can have two different depths. The “divide” splitting the two bowls can be low or high. Sinks are also available with two different widths, so one side is wider than the other..these are sometimes referred to as a “bowl-and-a-half” or a “bowl-and-three-quarters”. A common depth is 8″. 9″ and 10″ depths are great for washing pots, pans, trays, bowls… but, the extra depth means you’ll be reaching, and this can be a little hard on the back for daily use.
The other “depth” is the length from front to back. Some sinks, whether single bowl or double, vary in size in this aspect too. Typically the faucet location is a factor (you can check out my article on faucets). We can even use this asymmetry to, ironically, help balance a spacial challenge (above, far left).
Consider Your Household Lifestyle
To help determine the best kitchen sink for your lifestyle, consider who will use the sink most.. The side the dishwasher will be on can affect the division, depending on how dishes are done and how food will be disposed of. If your sink will have a garburator, this will definitely be a factor. Are the users left or right-handed..? You may want a built-in soap dispenser. As excessive as some of the details may seem, some sinks are towards $2000, so considering as many scenarios as possible will help prevent remorse. This is a fixture that is used every single day, and can support how your household functions.
MATERIAL- There are so many sink materials available, I am going to list several below, along with some information on each…
- Stainless Steel- The most common steel gauge for sinks is either 16 or 18. 16 is thicker, and usually costs a little more. Sometimes if you tap on the walls of the bowls, you can hear the difference. In my experience, if you are comparing 16 to 18, homeowners seem to consider the style of the sink and features of its design the priority over the gauge of the steel.
- Composite- Silgranit or Neroc, there are many colours available, and the technology of this material is advancing..now stain, heat and scratch resistant.
- Solid Surface- Corian is a common brand, made of acrylic resin and minerals. These sinks are integrated with your countertop, and can either match or contrast your countertop colour. This material does scratch, but repairs are possible.
- Enameled Cast Iron- Some brands use at least 80% recycled iron to produce their cast sinks. There are many colours available on the market now, and their depth is spectacular.
Above is a selection of Blanco Silgranit colours
Below is a selection of Kohler Enameled Cast Iron colours
Other materials include stone, glass and copper… but these are more common in powder rooms, so please see my article on bathroom sinks for more info!
SHAPE- The style and division of a sink is closely related to the shape, and application. Lately, an issue that has been rectified, is the radius of the more square-shaped sinks. They were not easy to clean so the inside corners are becoming softer. 15mm radius seems to be what homeowners are gravitating towards. A shape that hasn’t been addressed yet is the corner sink (see below). Depending on the floorplan and cabinet layout, a corner sink can either be set on a 45 degree angle, or take the shape of a “butterfly”.
SINK ACCESSORIES- Some sinks are sold with accessories and others give you the opportunity to mix and match the items to suit you. The cost of accessories can be surprisingly high, so be sure to compare your options.
- Grills & Mats- These are typically metal (some have little rubber feet), but there are silicone mats available. The grills or mats protect the bottom of the sink, but also to help prevent items from slipping.
- Cutting Boards- Some sinks come with a rim that accessories are to sit on. The accessory can either be a tight-fit, or designed to slide back and forth for versatility. Cutting boards are offered in a variety of materials, and are available with and without holes. The holes are for passing food waste through, and for lifting and lowering the board into place.
- Drainboards & Baskets- Although drainboards can be integrated with the sink, there are loose drainboards available, which allows more versatility. Sink accessories are available for all sizes and styles of sinks. Baskets are strainers for dishes or food. Sometimes the sink stopper is referred to as the sink drain basket, but in this case I am referring to the accessory (a variety is shown below).
Although this is a fair bit of information, especially if this is new to you, there are additional details to cover during a focused meeting, such as sink holes (which relates to faucets, sprayers and soap dispensers). Next to review will be Kitchen Faucets, so please check out that article!
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