Which Kitchen Sink?
No kitchen is without a kitchen sink, it is an absolute necessity. It’s where you’ll spend most time in your kitchen. For this reason the kitchen sink market is highly competitive with an absolutely enormous choice for the customer.
Most of your time in the kitchen is spent at the sink. You will prepare your food, dispose of scraps, wash your pots and platters – and curse if it is not big enough for the wok! Choose your kitchen sink with the greatest of care. Many of the complaints and regrets of customers after the installation of their new kitchen concern the size of the sink. The sink never looks as big when installed in the benchtop as it did in the brochure.
Find the biggest pot, kitchen tray, tin, platter, wok or whatever, that you will want to wash in your sink and make sure it fits the sink bowl by physically trying it. Don’t just rely on a pretty picture. Once installed in the benchtop it will be very expensive to change, possibly even requiring a new benchtop.
As well as different sizes of sink you have a choice of materials as well.
Stainless Steel Sinks
This is the most popular kitchen sink choice. Stainless steel is durable, hard wearing and familiar to all of us. The inevitable scratches eventually merge into the familiar patina we are all used to. Stainless steel is easy to clean and reasonably kind to crockery and glassware.
Composite Stone Sinks
Stone sinks, sometimes referred to as granite sinks, have become something of a trend in the last few years. Originally developed and manufactured in Europe, they were expensive to start with. Now that production has been started in India and China, prices have come down greatly and their popularity has gone up accordingly.
Composite stone sinks are made from quartz dust mixed with resin and colour. Composite stone sinks are formed under extremely high pressure, which makes them non-porous, hygienic and resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and chips. Whereas natural stone is porous and needs sealing (and re-sealing). composite stone does not.
Like stone benchtops, composite stone sinks are hard and unforgiving. Crockery and glassware will tend to break if dropped. However, this quality is what makes them so durable and resistant to damage such as dents, scratches and chips. There are now a wide variety of sizes, styles and colours making them easy to match with benchtop and cabinet colours.
Butlers, Belfast and London sinks are large, squared, deep sinks, traditionally white in colour with an exposed front. They fit below benchtop level and particularly suit timber and stone benchtops. Porcelain sinks are hand finished so have an artisan look that is particularly suited to the traditional kitchens of older or period homes. Porcelain sinks are very deep and heavy so require special cabinetry to support them. Their position below benchtop and their irregular lines mean that they have to be properly sealed to ensure that water does not leak onto the cabinet below.
Solid Surface Integrated Sinks
Some solid surface benchtops, such as Corian can have an integrated moulded sink of the same material. This gives a very smooth transition between the benchtop and the sink with no cracks or crevices to trap dirt or grime. The sink can be quite unobtrusive when made the same colour as the bench. Corian is very easy to clean and hygienic in nature.
One sink or two?
The most common kitchen sink arrangement is to have one large sink and one smaller one side-by-side. The smaller sink often house the waste disposer. A useful feature in larger kitchens is to have sinks in two separate locations. On the other hand, if you have limited bench space and big pans to wash, a larger single bowl sink might be better.
Top Mount or Under Mount Sink?
With the growth in the market for solid surface benchtops such as granite and engineered stone, under-mounted sinks are more and more popular.
It is always more expensive to under mount a kitchen sink. With stone you have a choice of full under mount or rebate under mount:
With full under-mounting, the sink is glued to the underside of the solid surface benchtop.
With rebate under-mounting the underneath of the benchtop is rebated to take the sink into the stone and thus reducing the depth of the benchtop edge around the sink.
Laminate under-mounting involves affixing the sink, which is designed for the purpose, to the benchtop substrate (the material under the laminate – usually MDF). The laminate is then glued over the lip of the sink allowing a clear surface, with no lip, into the sink. This does have a clean and neat look and avoids the crevice under the lip of a top-mounted sink. However, the tendency to wipe the surface into the sink tends eventually to cause the laminate surface to wear around the sink.
Consider the availability of desirable accessories when choosing your kitchen sink. Chopping boards, draining racks, colanders and even inner sinks are all available depending on the maker. Many up-market sinks have accessories designed for specific sinks. These do tend to look very smart when paired up.