Sounds simple: Choosing a kitchen sink. And for the most part it really is, especially when you narrow it down to figure out exactly what you need in your new kitchen.
Our handy guide outlines the key things to look for in different sink models, materials and features to make your decision simple!
Types of Sinks
Single Bowl Sink
With a range of shapes and sizes to choose from, single bowl sinks are an ideal solution for smaller, more compact kitchens and are available with or without a drainer board.
Double Bowl Sink
Perhaps the most ideal solution in terms of functionality, the double bowl sink gives you a bit of wiggle room, making it easier to wash larger pots and pans while also having the added functionality of allowing you to do two things at once – soak in the one bowl, wash up or rinse in the other.
There are a few combinations to choose from in double bowl sinks: you can choose from two large bowls, one large and one quarter bowl or a large and a half size bowl.
The basic sink shapes are circular, square and rectangular:
A circlular sink is most commonly used in a laundry, in a compact (think: apartment style) kitchen, as part of an outdoor kitchen or as a second sink in a larger kitchen. Circular sinks are usually smaller than other available options so they are not always the best option to use as your main kitchen sink.
Rectangular & Square sinks are the most common and the most practical for general use. Most of these models have slightly curved sides to allow for easy cleaning. If you prefer a more sleek and modern look, you can also find several sink models with super sharp edges – great for a contemporary style kitchen!
Sink Mounting Types
As the name suggests, an undermount sink is mounted beneath your benchtop with the exposed polished edges of your benchtop surrounding it. This type of sink installation is best suited using a stone or Corian benchtop finish; Laminate or tiled benchtops will simply have too many exposed weak points.
Undermount sinks are not commonly available with a built in drainer board but you do have options! You are able to have grooves or a sloped square etched onto the surface of your stone benchtop to form a drainer. If you are using an engineered stone (such as Caesarstone for example) as your benchtop, you may want to check with the manufacturer that the surface colour and pattern runs right through the slab otherwise, these grooves will shop up as the stone’s internal colour.
Add on accessories are also available: Loose drainers that will fit into your sink or roller mat drainers are a great, low cost option.
Probably the most popular option, an inset sink’s rim sits slightly above the benchtop. You have the option of selecting a model with a built in drainer board, with or without a ready tap hole.
Flush mounted sinks sit in a recessed cut in your benchtop, bonded together with silicone to give a near seamless impression. This type of sink installation is not suitable for laminate or timber benchtops; a natural or engineered stone top is the best solution here.
An integrated sink is made of the same material as your benchtop. This option completely eliminates joins between the worktop and sink making it highly hygienic, and is usually made of either stainless steel or products that can be easily molded into shape such as Corian.
Butler’s sinks are most commonly made of porcelain and look right at home in country or period style kitchens thanks to their unique style and method of installation. A butler’s sink is usually rectangular in shape and is installed just below the benchtop, with the front of the sink being exposed.
The most common kitchen sink material is stainless steel. Tough and durable, a quality stainless steel sink is simple to maintain. A traditional stainless steel sink can vary greatly in cost depending on the overall quality, brand and style.
Porcelain sinks are most commonly used for butler’s sinks however, other options are available to suit a more modern kitchen, such as the double bowled sink with a drainer as pictured below.
The English Tapware Company has some great options to choose from – Click here to view their range.
Stone sinks are not quite as popular as the above options, although they do offer a strong and durable alternative to traditional stainless steel. Stone sinks are most commonly made of either granite or engineered stone (a combination of about 80% quartz and 20% resin) to achieve a virtually non-porous surface. It should be noted that a granite sink may require sealing (seek your sink manufacturer’s advice on whether or not your selected sink requires sealing) whereas a sink made of engineered stone will not.
To find out more about stone sinks, click here to read HGTV’s article ‘Is a Stone Sink Right for your Kitchen’.
Corian is a solid surface material made of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate. It can be shaped and molded into virtually any shape imaginable and in certain available colours, the seams or joins are virtually invisible. Since the materials creation by Dupont in the late 1960s, Corian has been renowned for being one of the most hygienic surfaces available and as such, makes for a great benchtop finish where a completely integrated sink can be achieved.
It should be noted that Corian products can be extremely costly; the material itself can be easily scratched and the services of a professional fabricator will need to be employed to custom create your integrated Corian sink as well as to buff out any scratches in the material later on down the track. That being said, it is a very strong, durable and hygienic product that has an incredible amount of uses – Find out more about Corian products here.
Now that we’ve covered the different shapes, installation methods and materials of kitchen sinks, there are a few extra points to consider such as:
Sound Deadening Pads: Many sinks come equipped with sound deadening pads, a form of insulation that reduces the noise and echo made by plates hitting the base and sides of your sink – a great solution for those of us with sensitive ears!
Drainer Boards: When selecting a new sink, you have the option of selecting a model with or without a built in drainer board.
If you don’t like the look of a drainer, there are other options: You could opt for grooves to be created on the surface of your stone benchtop to form a drainer. You also have the option of creating a sloping surface to be cut into the stone, draining water into your sink. It should be noted that both of these options are only achievable with a stone or Corian benchtop. This solution can also potentially cause weakness in the benchtop as the surface is considerably thinned out and manipulated to achieve the necessary slope. Grooves made in the surface of the stone will also show up the inernal colour of your stone benchtop – if you do select this option, ensure your stone benchtop’s colour runs right through the slab (not an issue with natural stone however, it would be wise to check with the manufacturer for engineered stone products).
A better solution would be to see if your selected sink has a matching drainer board accessory available: A loose drainer board, usually made of stainless steel to match your sink that can be placed over the sink itself.
Accessories: Many sinks have matching accessories that can be purchased separately. These include: Chopping boards, colanders, drainer boards that sit over your sink (a great solution for a sink with no built in drainer board), wire baskets for drying, roller mats (again for use in place of a traditional drainer board), dish racks and waste bins.
Who knew there was so much to think about when shopping for a sink?!
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