Kitchen Sinks

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of Kitchen Sinks

The Kitchen Sink can be a design focal point or blend seamlessly into your overall design. It is also the workhorse of the kitchen and the center of food prep and clean-up. With an abundance of styles to match every décor and budget, it’s best to look for a balance between beauty and practicality.

Think of how your household uses the kitchen. If you cook every meal for a large family you will want to choose something large that can handle a lot of wear and tear and still look good in a few years time. If you rarely use your kitchen, durability is less of an issue and you can choose a sink that is more decorative, such as a contoured sink or one made of more delicate materials.

Choose a single bowl for tight spaces, small households or rarely used kitchens. A double bowl has more versatility. You can use one side for cleaning dishes and the other for food prep. If space and budget allow, a three bowl sink can make all the difference for someone who cooks frequently. The smaller, usually shallower center bowl is often used with a garbage disposal unit. Though more expensive, double or triple bowl sinks can really make a busy kitchen run more smoothly.

You'll also need to choose between a shallow or a deep sink. A standard one bowl, 7” deep sink is considered shallow. It's fine for someone who rarely cooks. It might also be worth considering if you have small children or if you’re tall and have back problems – the last thing you want to do is to have to stoop down to reach the bottom of your sink. But for large families, find a sink big enough and deep enough (10” or more) to handle your largest pots and pans.

When measuring for your sink keep in mind that as a rule it is best to have about 36” of counter space on one side and 18” on the other side of your sink.

If space and budget allow, you may want to consider adding a second sink. You can put dirty dishes in one and wash and prep food in another. Islands, pantries or bar areas (great for ice!) are ideal places for additional sinks. You may want to choose a durable workhorse for your primary sink and something more delicate or decorative as your second sink.

Also keep in mind the growing number of sink accessories. You can buy a cutting board (plastic or wood) that fits exactly onto your sink – especially useful for those with garbage disposals. A sink-specific colander is great for washing and draining fruits and vegetables, or straining pasta. A dish rack fitted for the sink can free up counter space and put an end to waterlogged countertops.

Materials will often determine your sink choice. If time is an issue, choose a sink that is easy to maintain. Stainless steel, enameled steel and enameled cast iron are the most popular and affordable sinks.

Thicker gauge Stainless Steel (i.e., 18) is more expensive than thinner gauge (i.e. 22), but is stronger and resists dents, water spots and scratches. The higher the nickel content the smoother and shinier the sink will look, but it will also be more expensive. Stainless steel is easy to clean, and comes in a wide array of gauges and shapes. Thinner gauges are more affordable, but better suited to kitchens that will be used less.

Enameled Cast Iron has a substantial, traditional look, and comes in many colors and styles to match your décor. It retains heat well, which is great if you hand-wash your dishes. It's durable, although it can be chipped by a heavy pot hitting against it. Once it chips the black cast iron underneath will show through. If you expect a lot of wear and tear, you may want to put something protective, such as a drain board, at the bottom of your cast iron sink, which is where most chipping occurs. Standard white sinks are very affordable. Special ordered colors and shapes will be more expensive.

Enameled Steel resembles cast iron, but is thinner and more flexible. It comes in many colors, is much lighter than cast iron (easier for do-it-yourselfers to install), is low maintenance and affordable. On the down side, it is thin, can be prone to flexing and chipping and is generally not recommended for use with a garbage disposal, as it vibrates too easily.

Solid Surface Materials, such as Corian®, can be integrated with a countertop or drain board (of the same or a complimenting color) for a smooth, seamless look. Made to replicate marble or granite, they are durable, stain resistant, and available in many colors. They are also generally low-maintenance and very sanitary. Because the color runs all the way through the material, minor scratches and burns can be sanded out – although you have to be careful with hot pots as the material can burn. They are not a good choice for do-it-yourselfers, however, since any warrantee would be voided unless installed by a licensed professional. These can also be pricey, especially if you decide to integrate your countertop or drain board.

There are also many higher-end sinks that, while expensive, will lend themselves to giving your kitchen a customized look.

Fire Clay, which is imported from Europe, is becoming increasingly available. It is a high-fired, glazed ceramic, with the look of cast iron, but is harder and more durable. It has a nice glossy finish and is low maintenance, but you will find limited sizes and colors. It is also hard on dishes and can chip or crack. Always keep in mind that special order items from overseas can slow down your project while you're waiting for them to arrive.

Soapstone is a light grey stone which darkens with age. It's wonderful for a timeless country kitchen, as well as for very modern applications. Its smooth, fine texture is easy to maintain, retains heat well and is good for hot pots. However, it can be scratched.

Slate and Granite Sinks can also create beautiful custom looks in both traditional and contemporary settings. Slate is somewhat harder to maintain than granite or soapstone. If you decide on Granite buy the hardest granite you can find, since softer granite can stain or etch.

In addition to stainless steel many other beautiful metals are also becoming increasingly available. Brass, Copper and German Silver (which is a fine white silver) make beautiful additions to kitchens and can be excellent choices for second sinks as well. The thicker gauges are very durable and can work with traditional or modern décor. Keep in mind though, that these metals can be very high-maintenance if you want to keep them shiny and new-looking.

Take the time to choose a sink that is durable and versatile enough for your needs, but also suits your taste and design.


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