Shopping for kitchen sinks might not be your favorite decorating task, but choosing the right sink for your new kitchen is one of the best ways to guarantee you will enjoy working in it. Kitchen sinks come in four basic mounting styles:
- Top-mount kitchen sinks sit on top of the counter. Top-mounted sinks are easy to install but cleaning the area where the rim meets the counter is an added chore.
- Under-mount sinks are easier to clean and they create a sleek, one-piece look to counter and sink. Installation is trickier, however, and more expensive.
- Flush-mount kitchen sinks sit flush with the countertop after installation but can be dropped in to the countertop like a top-mount sink.
- Farmhouse or ‘apron’ sinks were common in the 19th and early 20th century and are coming back into style in new kitchens as an antique feature. They are heavier and deeper than traditional sinks, with an exposed front that may even jut out in front of the cabinet in which they are set.
Which mount you choose will depend in large measure on which kitchen counter materials you have selected and your design sense. Most modern kitchens require a double sink at minimum, and triple sinks (two large bowls plus one smaller one for disposing of garbage) are becoming more and more popular.
Think about how you will use your sink before making a final decision. If you do a lot of cooking with fresh produce or pasta or if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, two or three bowls will come in handy over the long run, even if they cost a bit more up front.
The real decorating fun, however, can be found in the wide selection sink materials. When choosing a sink material, some of the criteria to keep in mind before purchase are beauty, style, resistance to heat, resistance to staining and scratching, resistance to germs, ease of cleaning, and durability.
The following kitchen sink materials are especially popular with modern cooks:
- Stainless Steel Sinks. Stainless steel sinks are one of the most popular choices because they are affordable and easy to clean. On the down side, stainless steel scratches easily and can be noisy when you run water, run the disposal, or drop a pan or silverware onto it. Look for stainless steel with insulation welded to the underside and a low ‘gauge’ number to muffle sound.
- Copper Sinks. Copper is beautiful and adds a custom look to any kitchen. Copper resists germs better than stainless, steel, and copper kitchen sinks come in many specialty designer shapes and styles. However, copper is also expensive, scratches and dents easily, and ages to an uneven patina.
- Porcelain and Cast Iron Sinks. Porcelain kitchen sinks give an old-fashioned look at an affordable price, but can chip when heavy items are dropped, and stain more easily than other materials. Regular buffing is vital to porcelain good looks.
- Acrylic Sinks. Acrylic sinks come in a wide range of colors and styles. Some come with special germ-fighting agents worked into the material itself. Acrylic sinks are resistant to scratches and are easy to clean, but have lower heat resistance than other materials and are prone to burn marks.
- Granite Sinks. Granite is beautiful and durable, resistant to stains and heat, comes in a wide array of colors, and can be matched or coordinated with granite countertops. Granite is very expensive though. Despite this, granite sinks are in great demand for both new construction and kitchen remodeling projects.
- Synthetic Solid Surface Sinks. Synthetic granite and stone sinks in a vast array of finishes and colors are less expensive than natural stone or custom materials, and are stain resistant and easy to clean. Most scratches can be buffed out fairly easily. A good choice for style on a budget.
- Antique Sinks. Country kitchens are all the rage, and nothing finishes off a country kitchen design like an antique kitchen sink. Many farmhouse sinks hang over the counter and may require a custom cabinet.
No matter which style and material you choose for your new kitchen sink, do keep in mind how you will be using it. If you choose your sink for functionality and beauty too, you will enjoy actually cooking in your kitchen for years to come.
About the Author:
Scott Gray is currently a home owner, handyman enthusiast who enjoys providing tips to consumers and home owners. For more information about do it yourself home improvements, kitchen and vessel sinks be sure to visit everydayhandyman.com.