How To Shop for Your Kitchen Sink

When looking for a new kitchen sink, the process can be very confusing with the vast amount of options that are out there today. Making it through the buying process and coming to a final choice can be quite overwhelming, especially if you do not know what key questions to ask when shopping for a kitchen sink.  So here are a quick set of questions to ask yourself when shopping.

Top 5 Questions: 
 
1. How am I going to install this sink? Drop-in or undermount
Good: SELF-RIMMING (drop-in)
Self-rimming sinks drop into a hole cut in the countertop. A metal flange, or rim, around the top of the sink  provides support. Stainless-steel sinks typically are held in place with metal clips tightened from below (cast-iron sinks don’t need them). Self-rimming sinks are relatively easy to install. However, the lip around the edge of a selfrimming sink is a great collector of kitchen debris, so these sinks are harder to keep clean than flushmounts or undermounts. All self-rimming sinks should be sealed with a bead of silicone caulk toprevent leaks.
 
Better: FLUSH MOUNT (drop-in)
Flush-mount sinks often are called tile-edge sinks because the top edge of the sink is designed to be flush with a tile countertop. Flush-mounts are installed in much the same way as self-rimming sinks. Depending on the thickness of the tile and tile adhesive, though, the installer may have to shim or rout the edge of the counter substrate so that the sink and counter are flush. Caulk should be used to seal the sink in place as well as to fill the gap between the edge of the sink and the tile.
Best: UNDERMOUNT
Undermount sinks are tucked completely beneaththe counter, so crumbs, food, and other kitchen debris can be swept easily into the sink. Installation, however, is much more exacting. The clearance hole must be cut perfectly because the surrounding edge of the countertop is completely visible once the sink is installed. Heavy undermounts, like those made from stone or cast iron, should be supported from below. Solid-surface  undermount sinks are unique because they are glued to the countertop; seams are virtually invisible. There is no chance of a leak and no place for kitchen debris to collect. A really skilled installer can make custom undermount sinks. The downside is higher cost and greater installation difficulty. This job is for a pro.
2. How many basins(or bowls) do I want?
Although sinks come in as many sizes as they do colors and materials, the de facto American benchmark is a 33-in. by 22-in. two-bowl design. It fits right into a standard 36-in. sink cabinet.  Some sinks  come with equally sized bowls, but most will suggest two different sizes: one 10-in.-deep bowl big enough to handle a broiler pan or cookie sheet, and one smaller, shallower bowl used for washing vegetables and  equipped with a waste disposer. Manufacturers will make some three bowl designs but most people will not need to have that third bowl. It tends to be more sink than you will ever need. The key is getting a big pan all the way into the bottom of the larger bowl to avoid washing one end of it and turning it around to wash the other. Measure the largest pan you’re likely to wash in the sink, then choose a bowl that will handle it. Remember that thick outside walls afford less interior room than thinner ones.
3. Is there a certain shape that I want my sink to be?
There are lots of fun shapes that your kitchen sink can come in and you will need to determine which one is right for you! The most common is going to be a square, rectangle, or arched square. If you are looking for something more unique there are also oval or round sinks, but those are more commonly used for prep sinks rather than your main kitchen sink.
Kohler Round Single Bowl Undermount Sink
Houzer Basic Double Bowl Rectangular Sink
 
 
4. How Many Holes Does My Faucet Need? 
If it is not already overwhelming enough thinking about all your sink options, you need to also consider the faucet that you are going to be using with the sink of your choice.  If you are going to use a drop-in style of sink you’ll need to determine the number of faucet holes needed for your faucet. The number will depend on the style of faucet you prefer and whether or not you’d like to include a hole for a sidespray, filtered water or soap dispenser, or any additional features.
 
5. What type of material or texture do I like?
Stainless steel is still the choice of as many as 75% of all buyers. However there are an increasing number of other options that are both inspiring in design as well as efficient for your every day home use. Choices may  include: enamel, solid surface, fire clay, soapstone, copper, bronze, stone composites, and concrete. Here are some of the pros and cons of each when trying to decide which material fits your needs the best!
Kohler’s Swerve Sink
Stainless Steel: Myriad fo Shapes, Sizes and Cost
(pros) Durable, nonstaining, and heat-resistant surface; wide variety of shapes and sizes; compatible with a wide rangeof countertop materials.
(cons) Economy sinks have shallowbowls with thin walls, which are noisy and flexible. Mirror-polished finishes may be troublesome to maintain. Commercial-grade sinks are relatively expensive.
Copper and Hammered Copper
Copper and Bronze: Exotic Choices That Draw the Eye 
(pros) Highly durable nonferrous metals are aesthetically pleasing with great tactile appeal; surface won’t chip or rust.
(cons)Limited styles and bowl designs; very high cost; copper will need occasional polishing.
Solid Surface: High Performance and Flexible Design 
(pros) Durable, nonporous, and repairable, with colors or patterns that go all the way through; good sound-deadening qualities; sinks can be glued into solid-surface counters for seamless connection.
(cons) Can be relatively expensive and may not be aesthetically suitable with all countertop materials.
Concrete Material Sink

 

Concrete: Tough, with plenty of design possibilities
(pros) Durable; easily customized; good sound-deadening properties; can be cast as part of finished countertop.
(cons) Expensive and heavy; may stain; must be resealed periodically.
Acrylic: Nonstaining and Economical, But Can Be Soft
(pros) Low cost; nonporous surface with good sound-dampening and thermal properties; dingy surfaces can be renewed.
(cons)Acrylic is relatively soft and can be damaged by high heat, abrasive cleaners, and petroleumbased products.
 

 

Natural Stone Material Sink

 

Natural Stone: Handsome, Indestructible, and Expensive
(pros) High durability; aesthetics; good sound-deadening properties.
(cons) High cost; not the right look for all kitchen designs; weight may complicate installation.
Enamels Surfaces: Keep the Look But Lose the Weight
(pros) Very hard finish with high durability; good sound-deadening qualities; can be painted before firing.
(cons) Can chip; high cost.
If you are able to have a good solid answer to these five questions you will be well on your way to finding that perfect kitchen sink for your home. You can now shop eFaucets.com by many of the categories above such as: Installation Type, Number of Basins(or bowls), Material, Shape, and Texture; making your shopping experience that much quicker and easier!
Sources: Fine Home Building author Scott Gibson, KohlerUSA, and eFaucets.com.

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