Choosing the right kitchen sink can really make your kitchen pop. Far from a simple functional necessity, the kitchen sink can bring style and convenience to an area of your kitchen that gets used every day. With bowl styles, mounting choices and varying materials, it's easy to make your sink the star of the kitchen.
Think about how you'll use your kitchen sink. If you use a dishwasher, you might be happy with a single bowl sink. If you wash dishes by hand or do a lot of food prep in the sink, then a double bowl sink is more appropriate.
If you have a large kitchen or have multiple cooks, consider having more than one kitchen sink. A main sink and a smaller “prep” sink can make life easier in busy kitchens.
Most sinks come with pre-drilled holes along the back edge called tappings. Tappings allow for the installation of accessories like faucets and sprayers. Determine how many tappings you'll need before you select a sink—it's not easy to add tappings later.
There are several ways to attach your sink to the counter. Rimless sinks mount on top to the counter and are easy to install. Undermount sinks sit below the counter surface, requiring the counter material to be stone or solid surfaced.
Some kitchen sinks come with the drain offset toward the back of the sink. Offset drains create more space under the sink—an important consideration if you're short on storage space.
Beyond the classic kitchen sink, there are other models for use in and around the kitchen. Preparation or bar sinks are smaller, single bowl sinks that are useful in busy kitchens. Utility sinks are perfect for garage and laundry room use.
Counter material, style and utility will define the mounting type of your kitchen sink. Rimless sinks mount on top of the counter and are perfect for Formica or laminate tops. Undermount sinks attach below the counter and require stone or solid surface tops.
How many bowls do you need? Single bowl sinks are perfect if you use a dishwasher or large pots. Multi-bowl sinks make quick work of dishwashing and food prep.
Kitchen sinks are typically 22 by 30 inches. Size your sink to your kitchen and your needs. Larger sinks are usually multi-bowl models, while smaller sinks are perfect for secondary or prep sinks.
Stainless steel is the most common kitchen sink material, but can be noisy. Enamel over cast iron is a classic combination, but it results in a heavy sink. Solid surface sinks can scratch, but the scratches are easily buffed out.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the kitchen sink is the heart of the kitchen. No other feature of your home gets the most use—and abuse. If you're building or remodeling a kitchen, your sink should be one of your early decisions, not an after thought. Your kitchen sink choice can influence the style of the kitchen and even the materials and construction methods of your cabinets and countertops.
Kitchen sinks come in a number of sizes, shapes and configurations. While the size of your sink should be proportional to the size of your kitchen, there are other considerations. Smaller sinks are perfect for auxiliary or preparation sinks, while larger sinks provide more options when it comes to the number and configuration of sink bowls.
Kitchen sinks come in one, two and even three bowl designs. If you have a smaller kitchen or do little hand washing, a single bowl sink may be appropriate. Multi-bowl sinks provide plenty of flexibility and even come with bowls of differing depths.
There are a number of ways to attach kitchen sinks, here are several:
Rimless. Mounted on top of the counter, rimless sinks are easy to install. The seam where the counter meets the sink can sometimes be difficult to clean. Rimless sinks are the mounting of choice for Formica and laminate counters.
Undermount. Attached to the underside of the counter, undermount sinks make simple work of counter cleanup. Undermount sinks combined with stone or solid surface counters create a dramatic look.
Apron. Sometimes called farmhouse sinks, apron sinks have deep bowls and an exposed front surface. Apron sinks are perfect for a rustic or traditional look. Having your apron sink on hand during cabinet installation will make both installations easier.
Integral. Built in to a solid surface countertop, an integral sink has no rim seams. The seamless nature of an integral sink makes for a modern look and effortless cleaning.
Kitchen sinks are built from a number of materials, including:
Stainless steel. By far the most common kitchen sink material, stainless steel is durable and easy to clean. Heavier gauge steel resists dents and can deaden sound—look for 18 or 19-gauge steel.
Enamel over cast iron. Enamel coated cast iron sinks are heavy, which can call for special mounting hardware. The mass of enamel sinks, however, makes them among the quietest on the market.
Solid surface. Solid surface sinks are popular and come in a wide range of colors. Although not completely scratch resistant, solid surface sinks can easily have scratches buffed out.
Copper. Made from heavy-gauge material, hand-hammered copper sinks are truly works of art. Copper gains a patina over time, but is naturally bacteria resistant.