How to choose a kitchen sink a Buying Guide
So you’re shopping for a kitchen sink. There’s a few things to think about before making that purchase. You need to know your mounting style, size, material preference, as well as some other factors.
Top-mount: Are the most widely used. Their popularity is derived from low expense and ease of install. Installing these is as easy as laying down a bead of sealer, dropping the sink into place and tightening the clamps underneath. Shop for top mount kitchen sinks here.
Under-mount: On average a little more expensive in material and installation. Many times these need to be attached to the mounting surface before the surface (counter) is installed. Advantages of the under-mount sink are: sweeping counter messes directly into sink without catching crumbs on the edge, like what happens with the top mount. Shop for under-mount sinks here.
Farm House Mount: These, also known as apron style sinks, are similar to the under-mount sink. The difference between the two styles is that these will slide into place, under the counter top edge, and will have the front of the sink showing. Shop for farm-house sinks here.
Once the style has been decided upon, the next step is measuring for the correct size. When measuring for a top-mount sink you have to remember to leave overlap in your measurement for the lip of the sink. Usually the overlap between the visible edge of the sink and the counter top opening for the sink is 3/16 of an inch on all sides, or 3/8 across and side-to-side. For example a 33” x 22” sink fits a 32 5/8” x 21 5/8 inch hole. And the depth of the sink is really personal preference, but it’s a good thing to think about to avoid issues with the drain plumbing later on.
- Long lasting durability - Cast iron isn't going to crack or dent like a solid surface or stainless steel sink. They're heavy and barring any problems with their finish, they should last for a long time.
- Self-rimming styles easy to install - A top-mount (drop-in) cast iron sink is easy to install and doesn't require extra devices to hold it in place. Its weight combined with a sealant that surrounds the sink's perimeter is what keeps it secure.
- Its ease of installation makes it a good choice for do-it-yourself projects.
- Surface less prone to water spots - its glossy surface combined with white and other lighter colors tends to hide water spots and streaks better than other types of sinks like stainless steel. Wiping it clean after each use will keep it clean too but that can be inconvenient and impractical. Black sinks on the other hand may show more streaking than lighter colors.
- Easy to clean - The porcelain surface is non-porous and smooth making it resistant to staining and easy to keep clean, however it's not totally immune to stains.
- Appealing finish - The porcelain enamel coating provides a glossy finish that adds a beautiful visual appeal and is available in a range of colors that varies with manufacturer. The glossy shine adds sparkle to the kitchen and enhances the surrounding counter-tops.
- Shop for cast iron sinks here.
- Most popular material in use.o
- Requires regular cleaning to eliminate water spots.
- Louder than other materials, will depend on gauge and quality of material as well as how it was made.
- Come in a variety of gauges: 24 gauge being fairly thin, loud and may warp. Whereas a 16-18 gauge are more durable and hold up better against deformation such as bending, scratches and dings.
- Shop for stainless steel sinks here.
- Durability: Quality composite granite sinks are formed under high pressure, making them non-porous, hygienic, and resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and chips. Natural granite on the other hand will need to be sealed.
- One draw back is harsh chemicals can damage a composite granite sink, so follow the manufacturer's suggestions for cleaning the surface as well as products to avoid pouring into the sink.
- Some composite granite sinks can be damaged by heat, resulting in blemishes from melting resins, and the material does scratch. Check the manufacturer warranty and select a product designed for high heat-resistance.
- There’s a great variety of styles, sizes, shapes, finishes, and color options to complement your counter-tops.
- An authentic granite stone sink features the natural variations of stone throughout the material.
- A composite granite sink, however, features uniform color throughout the material.
- A composite granite sink generally costs less than a natural granite sink.
- Composite granite is not as forgiving as other sink material, composite granite is hard enough to break glassware when dropped on the surface.
- More costly than stainless or porcelain.
- Shop for granite sinks here.
- Popular because of aesthetic beauty. After exposure to water and air, the copper will change color giving it unique character.
- Copper sinks can also be coated to keep the rich copper color.
- A bit on the pricey side in some instances as many manufactures hammer them out to order.o
- They don’t corrode or rust.
- More sanitary than other sink material, copper has an interesting antimicrobial property. Basically it kills the little critters that lurk in the sink that could potentially make people sick.
- Maintenance of copper sinks is very laborious, frequent cleaning with water and basic (non-acidic) or gentle soap is also essential to keep the finish intact. You have to periodically wax and shower the copper sink to retain its shine and appeal. After every use, you have to dry the sink with a towel to prevent water spots from developing.
- Copper sinks are more expensive than traditional sinks such as stainless steel, porcelain, or ceramic ones.
- Lower gauged (thickness) models can dent easily.
- One of the major problems with copper sinks is that their reactivity is very high which causes the metal to darken over time. Copper sinks also stain fairly easily. Furthermore, the patina of the copper sink can become damaged due to acidic liquids such as orange or lemon juice, and even toothpaste. A hot utensil or abrasive cleaners can also cause damage to the smooth or hammered finish of copper sinks.
- Shop for copper sinks here.
- Fire-clay sinks are non-porous and resistant to acid, alkali and scratches.
- They’re relatively chip resistant.
- Durable compared to other sink materials.o On the down side, sizes are limited.
- Like granite composite sinks, they’re not ‘friendly’ to dropped dishes and glasses.
- They’re very susceptible to stains without proper care.
- Expensive $300+ on average
- Can crack or chip over time.
- The weight of the sink requires added support, so professional installation is recommended.
- Most fire-clay sinks need wall- or counter-mounted faucets.
- Shop for fireclay sinks here.
Number of Faucet Holes
After the desired material has been decided the number of faucet holes needs to be taken into account. Some faucets need a mere one hole for installation, others need as many as five holes for installation. The faucet chosen may also dictate what material is used. The number of holes is a necessity to keep in mind when choosing a sink.
Number of Basins
This is also important to keep in mind. Some people are only concerned about washing dishes in their sinks, in which case a one or two basin may be just fine. Others like to soak fruits and veggies and then let them dry in the sink. Keep in mind your needs when choosing how many basins, the number of basins may also dictate the material available.