Kitchen Sink Buying Guide

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mother and daughter at kitchen sink
Think about your kitchen sink for a minute. Is there ever a day you don’t use it? Kitchen sinks are exposed to a lot of grimy activities, like peeling, scraping and splashing when you’re in food-prep mode, and they serve as the parking lot for pots and dishes that await washing. They must endure the wear and tear of water, harsh chemicals and germs on a daily basis. Doesn’t sound too glamorous, does it? But there’s the rub—a sink has a role to play as the kitchen’s fashionista element. It’s got to function as a culinary pit stop and make your kitchen look good at the same time.
 
Size It Up
Before changing up your kitchen sink, consider how much use it gets and compare the proportion of the size of your sink to the size of your kitchen. If your kitchen is over 200 square feet and the sink is used for light washing and a garbage disposal, the popular double bowl will allow the sink to handle multiple jobs at once, like stacking dishes in one side and rinsing vegetables in the other. Large basins, which are on trend right now, and triple bowls can be used for those who frequently cook or wash dishes in the sink, but their size might overpower a smaller kitchen—say, one that’s less than 150 square feet. In a kitchen this size, smaller single bowls will not only function well, they also fit the room best.
 
All Washed Up
You probably won’t use anything in your kitchen more than your sink, so you will definitely develop an opinion (good or bad) about it based on its size and the tasks you tend to perform. When you’re in a showroom, stand next to the sink at a counter and picture yourself scrubbing pots or peeling carrots. Will you bang your elbows on a sink that’s too deep? Will your favorite platters chip when they hit the sides of a sink that’s too narrow? 
 
That being said, the material your kitchen sink is made of has a big impact on not only how it functions for you, but also its aesthetics and cost effectiveness. While you want to invest in a sturdy surface that will maintain its appearance over a long period of time, sinks are a notable design element in your kitchen—choose one that complements the other fixtures and decor of the space.
 
Selecting Your Sink Material
Stainless Steel: It’s no secret that stainless steel is the most popular material for kitchen sinks, offering a good balance of cost, durability and ease of cleaning as well as availability in a variety of types, styles and sizes. Stainless-steel sinks are very budget friendly, but be aware of how easily they can scratch and show water marks. Choose a brushed satin finish rather than a mirror finish so water marks and scratches will be less noticeable. Stainless-steel sinks are known to be noisy, so look for sound-absorbing pads on the bottom. $100–$800
 
Composite Granite: These are the go-to sink for interior designers because of their attractive look and reliability. Unlike stainless steel, these sinks don’t show water marks or scratches. They come in a variety of neutral colors, but the darker hues best disguise grit and grime. Although these sinks are durable, they can crack if mishandled—especially during shipping and handling. $300–$600
 
Fireclay: If you’re looking to make over your kitchen in solid whites and neutrals, think about choosing a fireclay sink. These are manufactured at extremely high temperatures and are resistant to scratches, staining and chipping. Clean up is simple, just use dish soap on a sponge; but for tougher marks, a mild abrasive cleanser and some elbow grease will get that sink back to bright white. $400–$1,000
 
Natural Stone: If you install natural-stone countertops in your kitchen remodel, think about purchasing a matching sink. This integral style makes the flow from your countertops seamless to your sink. Caveat: some stones, like marble, are susceptible to stains, so test a sample of the stone first and watch how it stands up to constant water splashes and colored liquids. Starts at $1,000 
 
 
4 MOUNTING OPTIONS FOR KITCHEN SINKS
1. Apron-front, or farmhouse, sinks | The broad, exposed front edge (and usually wide and deep bowls) is user friendly
Pros: Wider, deeper, heavier; gives a vintage kitchen look; stainless-steel material can work well with modern designs
Cons: Requires a 36-inch-wide sink cabinet; easy to break a dish or glass against apron sinks when you place the item in the sink; stainless steel can be scratched; water can drip on and damage the cabinet
 
2. Undermount sinks | Attached to the underside of the countertop for a clean look
Pros: Sits below the surface of the counter, so spills and crumbs can be wiped into the sink; sleek look
Cons: Requires a professional to install; can only be mounted under a sturdy, waterproof countertop material
 
3. Drop-in | Dropped into a cutout in the countertop material and then sealed
Pros: Easiest to install, budget friendly, vintage look
Cons: Raised lip where the sink meets your countertop makes it difficult to wipe grime directly into the sink
 
4. Integral | Made from the same material as the countertop, often fabricated as a seamless unit within the countertop
Pros: Clean and seamless; no crevices where grime or food particles can collect; popular solution when the countertop is also being renovated
Cons: Most expensive because of cost of material, fabrication; usually custom designed
 
Did You Know?
•Don’t be surprised that your new sink doesn’t include a drain strainer—
they are sold separately. A good one costs up to $15.
•Adding a colorful sink is a nice accent, but you’ll pay an extra 15 to 40 percent for anything other than basic white.
•Specify the number of holes you’ll need in the sink deck for faucets and accessories, like a built-in soap dispenser—typical sinks have one to five holes.
•Take your height into consideration. A shallow bowl depth, around eight inches, is going to be the most comfortable for those who are shorter or who are very tall. This depth allows a shorter person to work in the sink without having to lean into it and a tall person to work without having to hunch over.
•Is your kitchen sink overworked because you constantly entertain? 
New innovations include a lower divide between double bowls that allows easy 
prep and clean and the ability to wash your large kitchen items while keeping your counters clean.
 
WHERE TO BUY SINKS IN ATLANTA
CR Home/BSI | CRhomeusa.com
Elkay | Elkay.com
Noland Company | 770.458.2111
NorthPoint Kitchens | NorthPointKitchens.com
 
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