The style of sink that will best fit your space will depend on a number of factors in your kitchen. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before heading to the store to look for the best sink options for the kitchen.
- How much room do you have planned out for your sink?
- Are you interested in a particular material?
- What is the style and design of the space?
- Is there a certain way your sink will need to be mounted?
- What are the uses for your sink? (Can help determine how many bowls you will need.)
- How long will the sink need to last and what quality are you seeking?
- How much maintenance are you prepared to keep up the look of your sink?
- Are you interested in paying slightly more for special modern features?
Quick-Guide on Most Common Materials
Found to be among the most durable sink materials, stainless steel is ideal for heavily used kitchens with great abilities to remain clean, sterile, and keeping its shine. Rust and water stains are easier to remove and happen less frequently. Stainless steel sinks are one of the most common materials being installed in modern homes.
Colors: Typically found in various shades of steel from muted finish to high gloss and shine finish.
Styles: Available in almost all styles you can find stainless steel sinks which include under-mount, top-mount, apron front, and self rimming.
Maintenance: The only requirements to maintain a stainless steel sink is to keep the sink bowl relatively rinsed and dry (not allow standing water for an extended amount of time), and wipe weekly with a special stainless steel wipe.
Durability: Stainless Steel is a material known for getting better with age. While scratches and dings do happen, this is often thought to add character as almost a distressed look.
Natural stone sinks are usually made of granite, marble, travertine, onyx, and soapstone. All of these options are thought to be great for any high-end kitchen. The natural stone does take significant maintenance and comes with a pretty hefty price tag but is resistant to scratches, dents, and stains.
Colors: Being a natural stone, the colors available are endless. Darker toned color mixtures and lighter toned color mixtures are widely available. In some cases a special natural stone may include a many colors, while others may be primarily the same color family with varying shades. Natural stone sinks should ideally be chosen in person to ensure colors are consistent with the homeowners color choices.
Styles: Most natural stone sinks must be under-mounted due to the weight of stone. It is also very common for homeowners to pick an apron-front style so that the stone can be admired as part of the kitchens design.
Maintenance: Most sinks composed of natural stone will have to be sealed with a special sealant at least twice a year. This will keep the sink from cracking or being damaged by water. It is also recommended that the only cleaner used be a mild soap without abrasive chemicals.
Durability: The durability of natural stone is typically quite impressive. Though it is a tough and generally resistant product, it does lose points for being impossible to repair. If damaged the entire sink must be replaced as natural stone is not known for being easily restored.
Colors: Cast iron sinks are known for being among the best sink options for the kitchen when seeking a sink in certain colors other than typical; black, white, and ivory. The way the sink is made enables it to be manufactured in essentially any colors you choose.
Styles: A cast iron sink is very heavy so it can be under-mounted, self rimming, or tile-in. If seeking a custom look then styles can be changed and professional install with mounting underneath may allow more style choices.
Maintenance: An advantage to the cast iron sink is that most harsh chemical cleaners will not compromise the material. These sinks will stain easy and may need an abrasive cleaning once a week to preserve shine.
Durability: People look to cast iron sinks regularly based on their durability. Made of cast iron, the sinks are noted as lasting much longer than average
Colors: Cast acrylic can be manufactured in most colors including standard and most common; black, white, and ivory.
Styles: Being man-made an acrylic sink can be mounted and come in any style chosen. This includes all standard ways of installation; under-mount, top-mount, drop-in, self rimming, apron front, and tile-in.
Maintenance: Easy to care for simply wash with soap and water. Control staining by never leaving dirty dishes or standing water for extended periods of time.
Durability: Cast acrylic sinks are ideal for budget but when focusing on quality, are known for being among the lowest. Scratching very easily they have a higher damage rate, but can be repaired with kits.
Copper is among the least common kitchen sinks but has great appeal for those willing to pay the price. The color is fabulous, the details can be remarkable, and the care is normally easy. The price is driven up by difficulty creating a sink form from the copper and may have to be reordered several times to accomplish having it “squared” on the cabinet. Tricky installation is almost always a factor when choosing copper.
Colors: Copper is typically offered in the color of copper however the finish can be shiny to dull. It is recommended that most high trafficking kitchens pick a smoked or dark copper to hide wear and prevent dulling in common spots.
Styles: Copper sinks are generally available in two popular styles, under-mount and apron-front. A popular choice is apron-front considering the unique ability for designs to be carved into the copper face.
Maintenance: The maintenance of copper is quite simple. Keeping the sink relatively dry when not in use and wiping it down with a mild soap often is about all it will need. Be prepared for some dulling and scratches as the sink ages.
Durability: Copper sinks are semi-durable but thought to be among the least durable for the money in today’s market. Dents, scratches, and dings are typical but can take away much of the value and destroy its appearance.
Quick- Guide on Most Common Styles
Under-mount has gained popularity in homes over the last five years. The sink is mounted underneath the countertop to create a rimless look on the countertop. There are three ways that an under-mount sink may be installed including; positive reveal (approximately 1/8th of an inch of the sinks rim is visible from the top), zero reveal (flush to create a seamless look on the inside), and negative reveal (underneath the countertop with the countertop overlapping on all sides).
A top-mount kitchen sink is installed with its outer rim sitting on top of the countertop. This option is very easy to install but does come with a few disadvantages. When wiping down the countertop things can not be easily swept into the sink as with the under-mount. However, this style will help prevent water from being swooshed onto countertop surfaces with the lip providing as a shield.
Drop-In sinks are an attractive option for many people looking to install it themselves with little to no knowledge of sink installation. As the name would suggest, the sink is simply dropped into the space cut into the countertop. This is the most common style of sink being used in homes today.
Self rimming kitchen sinks have the detail of a rim which goes along the perimeter of the sink. These are installed on top of the counter. This is most ideal for those protecting their countertops from water spill as the rim along the perimeter is typically raised ¼ to ½ an inch.
Also referred to as a “farmhouse” sink, the apron front sink is the most detailed and designer look offered for the kitchen today. The name comes from the fact that the front of the sink is visible creating what looks like an apron on the front of the countertops. Most apron front sinks will require a custom sink cabinet to be installed.
Tile-In sinks are growing in reputation as more homeowners are turning to tile countertops. Granite is often too expensive, but granite tile will fit most average kitchen renovation budgets. The tile-in mounting will create a much better look with tile countertops. Simply install the sink then take advantage of the tile width rim which tiles can be installed on top of to create a flush look. This is today’s fastest growing style of all sink options for the kitchen.