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Kitchen Sinks: Style, Types, and Mounting

Central to the design and utility of any kitchen is the sink: the fixture of the home that, literally, defines the nature of the kitchen as well as being the most actively used fixture in the home. Given such demands, the kitchen sink must possess the highest level of serviceability while achieving this task with style and grace. With such varying options available in kitchen sinks, from material composition, size or capacity, mounting options, unique style features–to name a few–the decision that needs to be made on a sink may not be an easy one to make for a homeowner. The good news is that, there will be a sink available that will match your needs and discriminating tastes; and this is how the quest begins!

Start with the Material Composition First…

At this stage of the process, a decision has likely been made with regards to the countertop material; and this decision may often dictate the material composition of the sink. Quite often, with concrete and solid surface countertops, the kitchen sink will be of the same material; and the sink may actually be formed within the countertop; and this tends to be a decision based on style as well as utility. The common material options for ‘off-the-shelf’ products are: stainless steel, quartz or granite composite, enameled cast iron, and solid surface. All of these materials have proven track records of performing well in the most rigorous of kitchen demands, so that variable can be taken out of the equation. Of these popular materials, only one will have a cautionary consideration: solid surface. This ‘warning’ only applies to those folks out there who may take the scalding grease from a turkey fryer (or similar decision) and pour it in the kitchen sink. Liquids (or solids) that exceed 300 degrees F. will disfigure or melt a solid surface material. Granted, this illustration is not a normal kitchen practice, nor a desired one for any kitchen sink material, but certainly a ‘no-no’ for solid surface materials.

Next, Which Mounting Option is Right for You?

While often an aesthetic choice, the type of mount of the kitchen sink will also be driven by the ease of wiping-down the countertop. The options for the mounting of kitchen sinks consist of: under-mount, flush-mount, and top-mount. With under-mount sinks, the countertop will either be: cut and finished to the edge of the basin or the countertop will extend over the edge of the basin. Either method of finish enables the homeowner to wipe the countertop clear, into the sink; and this also provides an understated visual to the kitchen sink. Flush-mount sinks, as the name implies, have their edges net-fitted to the countertop and also have the benefit of a clean wipe of the counter into the sink. Top-mount sinks are those that have a broad support rim about them that is higher in profile than the countertop as they are ‘dropped-in’ to a hole that is cut into the countertop. Although this type of sink provides an interruption in wiping-down a counter, it is the mounting of choice for those who really want to display the sink.

Style and Integrated Amenities

Style is often determined by the cooking and cleaning practices of the homeowner. While some homeowners prefer a broad, single-basin ‘farmer’s’ sink, others prefer the convenience of a double-basin sink or a ‘basin-and-a-half’ which is intended to be fitted with a garbage disposal in the smaller side. So, having a good idea of what works for you or what you’re used to using will dictate where you need to go with this variable. A newer, and trending style, is that of an ‘apron’ sink. This style is a re-do of the type of sink that your Grandmother or Great-grandmother probably had; and is visually defined by having the broad front, or face, of the sink completely exposed. This gives the sink a modular appearance: as if it was simply dropped into place. It may seem to have a casual feel to it, but it is also found to be a tasteful addition in some of the more modern and contemporary kitchens. Once you’ve decided upon a style, you may want to consider integrating some of the newer accessories available to you with your new sink. Many manufacturers are offering features such as: integrated cutting boards, seamless integrated draining boards, and even a colander-draining board, that can be added to the sink as a modular, as needed, feature. For those individuals who seek convenience and tidiness around the kitchen sink space, there are sinks that may be ordered with discreet, under-mounted canisters, which hold and dispense dishwashing liquid or hand soap.

As you come to arrive on the decision of your kitchen sink’s style, material, and mounting option, make sure to have a faucet in mind so that your new sink will accommodate the faucet of your liking and need.