How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink
Few features in the home are used as often as the kitchen sink. And what other home item performs as many different tasks? It could be argued that the selection of a sink is one of the most important kitchen choices you will make — and it’s a decision that will affect your daily life for many years to come. We spoke to designers who belong to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) about how to select the right sink for your kitchen.
Pros: A kitchen sink with a single, deep basin means you can easily soak or wash a big pan or prep large quantities of food.
Cons: Rinsing vegetables while soaking a large casserole dish requires a bit of juggling — as does hand washing and rinsing china or stemware.
Pros: Two basins in your kitchen sink allow you to perform separate tasks, such as cleaning dishes and preparing food, with ease. A 60/40 kitchen sink has one basin that is usually about 18 inches wide and another that is 14 inches wide. The idea is that you can clean up in the large basin and prep in the smaller one. Dual basins also come in handy when you are washing items you don’t want to put in the dishwasher (soap in one basin, rinse water in the other).
Cons: A smaller basin makes it harder to wash and soak large pans. “For clients who want flexibility, a double sink can be the way to go,” says Flatley. “There are also a number of people who are accustomed to working with two basins, and they don’t want to change.”
Tips for choosing a new kitchen sink
Here at Buster, such is our interest in the humble sink that we keep our eye on the latest trends and designs, especially those for the most used sink in the house. Here’s some important considerations when thinking about buying a new kitchen sink.
One large sink will be preferable if you are considering a farmhouse sink, as that is the style. The advantage of a large sink is that you have a lot of space to wash up and to leave that large casserole dish to soak. The downside is if you are juggling two sink-based chores at the same time – maybe washing up and preparing food – it can be quite tricky in one sink.
When it comes to choosing a double-basin sink, there are several popular styles to choose from. If you have one larger sink and one small sink – the 60:40 ratio is a common standard – you should have one sink big enough to soak most pots and pans and still space to prep food. This might not be the case with two basins of equal size side-by-side.
There are also three-sink options, typically with two basins and a smaller sink with a garbage disposal unit. A trough sink is another type of sink that has become popular in recent times, so several people can work at it at one time. Remember, these will take up more space.
Which material works best for your needs?
Sinks are made from a range of different types of materials these days. The type you go for will depend on the overall style and look you are after – while there are also practical considerations i.e. how hard wearing and easy to clean the material is.
Choosing the Right Kitchen Sink and Faucet
Every kitchen needs a sink and faucet. When it comes to selecting these staples, style is secondary, says Max Isley, owner of Hampton Kitchens in Raleigh, N.C., and a National Kitchen and Bath Association board member.
One of the most hard-working features in a kitchen, your sink should be both functional and reflective of your kitchen’s style. Learn about various materials and styles available in kitchen sinks.
Kitchen sinks are typically made from stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, solid surfaces and composites. For clients who choose solid surface counters like granite or engineered stone, Isley recommends a stainless steel sink because of its undermount capability. Also if homeowners tend to be hard on sinks (Isley asks clients if they’re prone to throwing things into their sink), stainless is often the best choice. When shopping for a sink, keep in mind that lower-gauge stainless steel makes for a better quality sink. Some people find stainless steel sinks noisy, but that’s a problem that can be addressed by choosing a design featuring sound-absorption technology.
Once the standard in kitchen sinks, enamel-coated cast iron still has a place in today’s kitchen. “They’re probably the prettiest of all the sinks on the market today,” Isley says. However, he cautions that enamel can scratch and wear over time, which may not make this sink the best choice for people who are tough on sinks.
Faucets that Function
With the great number of faucets on the market, there is a design for everyone. “Style is strictly a personal taste issue,” Isley says. He doesn’t dictate what clients choose design-wise — people like what they like, after all — but he does guide them when it comes to function and finishes. Most faucets use cartridge, ball or ceramic disc valves. A faucet with a ceramic disk valve and solid brass base materials will be the most durable. Though many attractive faucets have two handles, Isley always pushes for single-lever faucets in the kitchen. He also suggests clients include a spray arm for filling pots with water or rinsing the sink, whether it’s part of the spout or a separate piece. Consider other convenient extras, like a garbage disposal and hot water dispenser.
Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Sink
Choosing a brand-new kitchen sink is an investment that will completely change the look and functionality of your kitchen. To make sure you get the kitchen of your wildest Pinterest dreams, there are some factors you should consider before taking the plunge. From the right material, to the ideal size, to the big choice between an undermount or a drop-in sink, here’s everything you need to think about before buying a kitchen sink.
Consider the material.
When it comes to kitchen sinks, there are many materials to choose from: porcelain, stainless steel, cast iron, just to name a few. Be realistic about how much use the sink will get and how frequently (and thoroughly) you plan to clean it. Porcelain sinks are prone to stains and scuff marks, but don’t worry, they do come off! It just takes a little elbow grease and a cleaner that’s mildly abrasive, like baking soda.
Choose a drop-in or undermount.
What’s the difference? As the name suggests, a drop-in sink drops into the counter, so there is a visible lip that rests on the counter. Alternatively, an undermount sink attaches beneath the counter, creating a seamless look. An undermount sink, like the beautiful Elkay Lustertone Iconix Stainless Steel Sink, maximizes the available counter space, since the lip of the sink rests under the counter rather than on top. If you love a clean kitchen, this sink is for you: because there’s no lip, dirt and grime can’t get stuck between the sink and the edge of the countertop. Plus, because undermount sinks are considered a high-end option, this stylish kitchen sink could even boost your home’s resale value.
Select the right size.
There are a few questions you have to ask yourself when choosing a sink size. You want to keep budget in mind—generally, the larger the sink, the higher the price. You also need to be realistic about how much you use your sink. If you’re not an avid cook, you can probably get away with a standard size (about 22 to 33 inches long) but it’s always better to go bigger than smaller if you have the countertop space to accommodate it. Pay attention to the scale of the design as well. If you have a really tiny kitchen, a huge farmhouse-style sink risks overwhelming the entire room.
Determine if you’ll need to adjust your cabinets.
Think of your cabinets as the foundation for your sink. Depending on what you’re working with already, you have to choose your style carefully, unless you’re doing a complete renovation. The biggest considerations: make sure the cabinets you have can accommodate the depth of your new sink and that they can support the weight of the new sink. For example, a porcelain farmhouse sink that’s filled with water can easily weigh over 100 pounds—the cabinetry has to be able to withstand that.
How to Choose a Kitchen Sink
Your kitchen sink is probably not the place where you’d choose to spend your time, but it’s a necessity—and having the right one can make all those minutes spent scrubbing and rinsing easier and more efficient. Learn about the different materials, types of sinks, and factors to consider as you discover how to select a kitchen sink that fits your needs.
Types of Kitchen Sinks: Materials
Kitchen sinks come in many different materials, including metal and stone. The best kitchen sink material for you depends on how much money you want to spend, your cleaning routine preferences, and what material goes best with your kitchen’s style.
Stainless-steel kitchen sinks are one of the most popular options and the material continues to be improved and upgraded. The newer 16- and 18-gauge sinks are thicker and less noisy than their less-expensive predecessors. Stainless-steel sinks contain a percentage of chromium and nickel, which is indicated by numbers such as 18/10 (18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel). The metal imparts a rich glow and adds corrosion resistance. Finishes range from a mirrorlike shine to a satin luster. Stainless-steel kitchen sinks are appealing because they are affordable, durable, and easy to clean. However, they can become scratched and water spots can become an issue, and the cheaper sinks can sometimes make more noise when items are dropped in.
Cast-iron kitchen sinks are made from a sturdy material that is enamel fired on an iron form. These durable sinks lessen noise and vibration more than other materials but can be heavy for installation. An added advantage is that cast-iron sinks are available in a wide range of colors.
Composite sinks can be made of quartz, granite, or other materials mixed with an acrylic- or polyester-resin base. They usually feature speckled color, resistance to stains and scratches, and easy care. However, they can be expensive.