Every Kitchen Needs a Sink
Choose a Material that Looks Good and Works Hard
There’s no denying it – every kitchen needs a sink. But unlike all the other things you must choose for your kitchen remodel project, style should probably not be your #1 consideration when selecting this necessity. Decide on functionality first – how you will use your new sink — then move on to style. Don’t worry – getting both is not impossible.
Think about a sink that will work well for the way you will use it. Prep work, cooking, and clean up all involve the sink in one way or another.
Do you wash dishes often? Do you bake and need to clean cookie sheets? Do you entertain often? Is there more than one cook in your family? Do you want your garbage disposal separate from the sink where you wash vegetables?
These are questions you need to answer before making a final decision on a sink.
Of course, style can’t be overlooked completely. These days, a kitchen sink is more than just a kitchen sink, as people remodeling their kitchens look for the combination of both style and durability.
Having a sink that best matches your needs and lifestyle is a critical factor to having a truly functional and efficient kitchen.
Kitchen Sink Material
Kitchen sinks are typically made from the following materials:
Stainless steel. Stainless steel is the most popular material for sinks and for good reason. If you’re hard on sinks, stainless is the best choice. It’s a durable, easy-to-clean material with industrial strength.
Gauge is the thickness of a stainless sink; the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. 18-gauge, 18/10 stainless steel kitchen sinks contain 18% chromium for protection from corrosion and 10% nickel to give it its luster. It’s resistant to dents, UV rays and germs.
The metal can scratch, but the marks can be buffed out of brushed stainless steel. Most manufacturers offer bottom grids (wire trays that are placed in the bottom of the sink to prevent scratching).
Porcelain Enamel-Coated Cast Iron. This practically indestructible material – the same iron alloy that’s used in cast iron skillets — was once what every kitchen sink was made of. It won’t crack or dent; it’s extremely durable and has a smooth, glossy finish that’s nice to look at.
Solid surfaces. Corian is a popular solid surface sink. Beautiful, functional, tough and stain- and germ-resistant are some of the reasons why Corian sinks are a good choice for a new kitchen. Solid surface sinks are easy to clean; no Ajax required here.
Granite Composites. Granite composites are made of granite particles and polymers, then molded into sink form. This material resists scratches and chips and doesn’t show water spots. They are nonporous, germ resistant, and resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and chips.
Granite composite sinks are a nice alternative if you’re not a fan of stainless and are looking for something that not every other kitchen has.
Fireclay. Fireclay is created when clay and glaze are fired at very high temperatures. The result is a hard and hard-wearing ceramic that looks almost identical to porcelain enameled cast iron.
Fireclay and porcelain may look similar, but porcelain is less durable as the clay used is heated at a lower temperature during the manufacturing process, making it more prone to chips, scratches, and discoloration than fireclay.
Each fireclay sink is handmade from a special white clay found only in certain regions of the world (including Italy, Israel, and Limoges, France). Their timeless appearance can be a good choice if you’re going for a vintage look in a farm house or cottage style kitchen. They are especially popular for farm or apron front sinks, but are available in other styles.
Now it’s Up to You
Now the choice is up to you. Stainless steel? Porcelain? Fireclay? Granite? Corian? Decisions, decisions. Armed with the facts presented here, you learned enough to make an informed decision. And if you have more questions, your kitchen designer will be more than happy to answer them for you.
There are three main bowl styles.
Under Mount. Undermount sinks are defined by the way the sink is installed in relation the kitchen countertop. Rather than being dropped into a pre-cut hole, undermount sinks are installed under the counter; there is no rim between the countertop and sink. Faucets get installed in the counter behind the sink or on the wall.
The biggest advantage of an undermount sink is that there is no lip to catch dirt. You can just brush crumbs directly into the sink without anything getting trapped under the sink’s rim.
In addition to easy clean-up, these sinks create a sleek, modern look because the edge of the sink is hidden.
Self Rimming / Top Mount. Self-rimming sinks have rounded corners and are characterized by the “drop-in” rim that holds the sink in place on the countertop. The rim makes this type of sink easy to install, but also makes it easier for dirt to accumulate and thus more difficult to clean. The faucet mounts on a sink ledge along the back edge of the sink.
Farm House. Most farm house sinks are single, large basins; two bowls are available. The difference is your apron front, which has a vintage vibe many homeowners love. With a typical sink, the basin can be four inches away from the edge of the countertop, but a farm house sink sits beyond the counter line, meaning it’s easier to reach into the sink — especially handy for short people and children. You’re also great for accommodating large pots and pans and other kinds of bake ware that don’t fit in a regular sink.
Farm house sinks are heavy and require a base cabinet built specially to take the weight for installation.
Match Your Prep and Clean Up Style
Steep, Straight Side Walls. Deeper bowls can accommodate soaking and rinsing large pots and pans. A relatively flat sink bottom increases usable bowl space and allows dishes and glasses to be safely stacked.
Off-set Drains. Placing the drain to one side provides more flat space for stacking dishes and glasses. Offset drains also allow water to drain, even when a large pan or tray is soaking in the sink.
Web Divider. For double bowl sinks, the web divider between the two bowls should be lower than the outside sink walls. This will provide overflow protection by allowing water to flow from one bowl to the other.
How Many Bowls?
A Large, Single Kitchen Sink. A kitchen sink with a single, deep basin means you can easily soak or wash a big pan or prep large quantities of food.
Two Basins of Different Sizes (A 60/40 Or Offset Sink). 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 people can clean dishes in the large basin and prep veggies in the smaller one. Two basins in the kitchen sink allow your to easily perform separate tasks, such as cleaning dishes and preparing food.
Dual basins also come in handy when washing delicate glassware or other items not suitable for putting in the dishwasher. Soap can be in one basin and rinse water in the other.
Two Basins of Equal Sizes (A 50/50 Sink). This type of kitchen sink appeals to people who love symmetry in design. It also has the benefit of allowing separate tasks, such as cleaning, prepping and washing, rinsing.
Three Basins (Two Large Ones and One Small One with a Garbage Disposal). If having the garbage disposal separate from where your customers wash dishes is important to your, then this sink configuration is what you’re looking for. The garbage disposal can be separate from the sink.
While the majority of American kitchens have only one sink, the demand for two is growing in new construction and kitchen remodels. Two kitchen sinks can improve kitchen workflow.
Having two kitchen sinks allows one to be dedicated to clean up and the other can be the prep sink. When the cleanup zone is separated from the prep zone, traffic flow and organization is greatly improved.
Another benefit of having two sinks is that multiple cooks can work together without bumping into each other.
The two-sink setup also works better for a solo cook. It prevents dirty dishes from getting in the cook’s way or from forcing the chef to stop in the middle of a task to clean out the sink. Instead, dirty dishes go in the designated cleanup sink — and the cook can keep on cooking.
Now when you go shopping for a sink for your new kitchen, you’ll have the information you need to make an informed decision.
- What material will stand up to the way you use a sink?
- 2. What bowl style will meet your needs? And look good?
- 3. How many bowls should your new sink have?
- 4. Might two sinks be right for your?
The links below provide additional information about choosing a sink.
- American Standard | How to Choose a Kitchen Sink
- Houzz.com | How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink
- Martha Stewart | Things You Need to Know when Choosing a Kitchen Sink
- Kitchen and Bath Design | Durability is a Key Consideration for Kitchen Sinks
- HGTV.com | Choosing the Right Kitchen Sink and Faucet
KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.