Looking For A New Sink?
With so many kitchen-sinks out there to choose from, selecting the right one for your new kitchen can be a little overwhelming. Under-mount, top-mount, single or double-bowl? And once you answer those important questions, with so many more materials and colours available than good old stainless steel, where do you start when looking for the one that best suits your kitchen?
Obviously it needs to suit your house design and interior theme or style, but first of all it must be practical for your needs. It is such an important element in the kitchen and an item which gets continuous use each day, it's important you make the right choice. Let’s take a look at some common types of kitchen sinks and familiarise ourselves with all the basic jargon.
TOP-MOUNT This type of sink is installed on top of the benchtop, so the ‘lip’ or rim around the edges of the sink sits on top of the bench surface. Not only is it the cheapest and easiest sink type to install, but it also offers the great advantage of protecting your benchtop edges from possible chipping with the knocks of heavy pots and pans when washing up. On the flip side, 'gunk' (such a great word) can build-up around the outer perimeter lip, so you need to keep on top of that when cleaning. Although this is considered more traditional in style, modern drop in or over-mount sinks have super thin edges, and can look very high-end.
UNDERMOUNT This sink is mounted underneath the bench top surface. It allows for an uninterrupted benchtop look and a seamless clean finish. Also, because there is no ‘lip’ or rim around the top, but of course there is still a join and this time it's in the underside of the bench top, which still requires cleaning. This type of sink-mount is more expensive than a top mount as the stonemason needs to cut out the sink hole with exact precision and also polish the edges of that opening, which adds to labour costs. Note: undermount sinks are not possible for laminate bench tops and I wouldn't recommend them for solid timber bench tops due to possible moisture issues.
FARMHOUSE (Or butlers sink) This sink type, also called apron-front sink, not only looks beautiful from above, but also from the side, where it commonly stands out against the profile of the cabinetry. The farmhouse sink definitely suits a traditional style home, as well as a range of interior styles such as Coastal, Hamptons and the popular Farmhouse style. It's commonly made from fireclay or porcelain and adds great character to a kitchen. These sinks commonly have two different 'faces' or fronts to choose from, one being smooth and one being ribbed for a more textural effect.
SIZE Next step, it’s very important to understand what size will suit your kitchen and your family needs. A double bowl sink is always very practical, and my common 'go-too', but if your kitchen is small, you might want to consider a 1 and ½ bowl, and if the bench space is very tight, then even a single bowl, leaving this option as a very last resort. It is increasingly more popular to not include a draining board attached to the sink, this maximises the benchtop space, creates a cleaner and modern look. With the use of dishwashers there tends to be less hand washing going on anyway, thus diminishing the need for an attached drainer. Many sink ranges provide draining accessories that can sit into or on top of the bowls, and the depth of the bowl also varies and should be chosen based on the size of the pots commonly used, to suit your cooking and cleaning habits.
MATERIALS Nowadays sinks come in many different materials – stainless steel, composite stone, solid surface, ceramic, porcelain … How do you choose? Stainless steel has always been a popular choice because it is easy to clean, hygienic and durable, and suits many different styles of kitchens. Ceramic sinks offer a traditional look, but they might be easier to chip than other materials, and solid surface and composite stones provide a wider range of finishes and colours, such as charcoal, mid grey and even white, whilst being easy to clean and maintain. Each come with different price points, but being such a hardwearing element in the kitchen, this is one key-item that deserves priority in your budget considerations.
ACCESSORIES Most brands offer their own range of accessories to suit each particular sink model, like in-set chopping boards, colanders and as I mentioned above a range of draining racks options. These can be very practical to use when preparing food and washing up, whilst fitting seamlessly with your sink design and adding practicality and additional good looks to your kitchen design.
There is much more than this to consider, of course, and before selecting your sink my suggestion is to do some thorough research on the many options available. I’ve written a whole chapter about sinks in my Practical Design online course, and the character each type offers. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Remember that every type of sink brings different character to your kitchen. 2. The best way to select a kitchen sink is to visit a well-furnished store and test the many options in person. 3. Above all, choose a sink that suits your practical needs, over its good looks.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information. More of James' knowledge is now accessible via Practical Design Online Course.