Buying A Kitchen Sink Reference Guide
Sometimes in the fun of designing a new kitchen, we get caught up shopping for the fun stuff like the dishwasher, refrigerator, ranges, and other appliances, but forget one of the most important things: the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is one of the most valuable parts of your Kitchen – don't underestimate its value. Try to go a day without using it and you'll see why selecting the right Sink for your Kitchen will improve food prep and make it easier for you to keep your workspace clean.
Whether you're a gourmet cook or more of the sort to reheat takeout, the kitchen sink plays an important role in function as well as adding to the look and feel of your kitchen, so choosing the right one for your needs requires considering several important features.
It's important to make sure the sink you are looking for will fit the surroundings. You want it to be big enough to handle the tasks you plan on giving your sink, however, counter space is always at a premium, so measure twice before placing your order. Fortunately, if you do find yourself short on counter space, many manufacturers make accessory cutting boards and inserts for kitchen sinks which effectively allow you to convert part of your sink to more workspace.
Depth is another important considerations make sure the sink you choose is deep enough to handle your tasks, but also keep in mind if you'll be installing a garbage disposal or if you'll want to have a specific amount of storage space underneath. One way to give yourself more storage is to pick a sink with a basket strainer drain positioned toward the rear, keeping the faucet plumbing out of the way of the center area.
As Easy As One, Two, Three
Most people prefer a sink with two main compartments, or double basins, because they make washing dishes by hand easier, and they are useful when you have more than one person preparing food at the same time. Double basin kitchen sinks also provide insurance against overfilling, as the divider is lower than the outer rim, allowing for a full basin to overflow to the other.
As well, some triple basin kitchen sinks, are great at keeping space open for smaller tasks when the rest of the sink is being used washing dishes or for food prep.
However, if you have a dishwasher and tend to cook using large pans or simply prefer more open sink, a single basin kitchen sink may be a better option. Single basin sinks are also useful in smaller kitchens as they are more multi-functional than divided sinks.
Regardless of number of basins, most Kitchen Sinks are designed to have a garbage disposal installed. Some Sinks have a smaller, shallower basin set up for the garbage disposal, on others either side is just as suited and it depends on the configuration of your plumbing in your kitchen, or the location of your dishwasher. Hint – you'll want to install the garbage disposal on the side closer to the dishwasher, as the waste water from the Dishwasher runs to the garbage disposal, and putting them closer together makes installation easier.
One, Two, Three, Part Two
Most Sinks come pre-drilled with holes for faucets, so it's a good idea to shop for your faucet the same time you are picking out a sink. Most two handled kitchen faucets require three holes for the water lines and the spout, and often have an accessory external side spray or soap dispenser, requiring four holes. Also, check your local codes to find out if you need to install an air gap on your sink for the dishwasher – it's a good idea anyway, however it requires its own hole as well.
You can also find faucets controlled by a single handle kitchen faucet with a pull out kitchen faucet sprayer that require only one hole for all that functionality, so if you pick one of those you'll want to make sure your sink doesn't come with a bunch of extra holes. And if it does, you can also order hole covers to fill them in.
The hole issue is most important when you are ordering a cast iron kitchen sink or one made from heavy duty material such as granite kitchen sink or quartz kitchen sink, because adding holes to these takes more work. Many sinks made of lighter materials, such as composites like Swanstone or Corian, come with holes on the underside which can be popped out for faucet installation.
Beauty Isn't Only Skin Deep
What your sink is made of is about more than good looks. cast iron sinks will last forever and retain the heat of the water longer than other materials, however they are heavy and costly. Stainless steel sinks are resilient, stain-resistant, affordable, and dropped plates and glasses are less likely to break as they have "give", but they tend to be noisier unless you are willing to spend more.
It's What You Do With It
Installation style also can help you decide what sink to purchase. The most common is the Drop In which is also the easiest to replace: they are usually Self Rimming, meaning they have a bit of edge to keep water from overflowing, and drop into a pre-cut hole in the counter, fastened underneath with clips. Undermount is another common style where the sink is installed under the counter, and is common in tile installations or custom composite counters. Tile in is less common and has squared off corners intended to fit in with a tile counter for a smooth transition between the counter and the basin. Unconventional sinks include Apron Fronted which have an exposed front exterior wall, and vessel sinks which are mounted on top of the counter, rather than set so their edges are flush with it. A kitchen sink review of pros and cons of different materials:
|Material ||Benefits ||Drawbacks |
|Americast||Look of cast iron without the weight, and more moderately priced. This is a porcelain enameled composite material. ||Proprietary material so finish and models are limited to what the manufacturer offers. Not as durable as cast iron. |
|Cast Iron||Last a lifetime, retain heat longer than most materials, come in many colors, resists almost any structural damage ||Heavy, costs more than enameled or stainless steel, can chip, more difficult to install than others |
|Composites (Corian, Swanstone) ||Natural minerals and acrylic, looks somewhat like granite but is cheaper and easier to fix when it breaks, durable, easy to clean, lighter. ||Susceptible to scratches by metal and corrosive products, like fuels. |
|Enameled Steel||Lighter than cast iron, smooth and attractive surface ||Easily damaged by impacts, noisier than more solid sinks |
|Granite||The most resilient to scratches, made of compact rock particles which makes it very durable ||Very expensive, not a shiny surface |
|Quartz||Rich look, color won't chip off or fade as colors run through, one of the hardest materials a sink is made of, smooth surface, can take the heat of hot pans, great for keeping hot dish water warm and insulated ||Heavy so requires more work to mount, more expensive, cracks are difficult to repair, not a shiny surface |
|Stainless Steel||Inexpensive, stain-resistant, versatile style ||Sinks made of thinner stainless steel can be loud, surface scratches more easily or shows water spots, not as insulating of water temperature |
|Vitreous China||Smooth and glossy looking, durable, available in a wide range of colors including hand painted and sculptured designs ||Surface can be easily damaged by boiling water or heavy objects |
Triple Basin Sinks
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