So Many Choices… So Little Time ~ Managing a Plethora of Options
There are more kitchen sink styles to choose from than you can imagine. To keep sink options manageable, here’s a list of the most popular kitchen sink styles. You can discuss the best solution for the installation of a new kitchen sink with your local kitchen contractor.
Kitchen sinks are a world unto themselves. They are available in an almost limitless array of color choices, sizes and materials. Also, there are many options available too! Yes, options like cutting boards, utensil trays, drying racks and even colanders. You may have heard or, or even own some these accessories, but their designs and integration into the sink component has evolved by leaps and bounds. A sink is not just a sink anymore. When planning your kitchen remodel project with your designer and contractor, give your sink choice – or choices if you’ll have more than one – a lot of thought.
8 of the Most Popular Kitchen Sink Styles
- Self-Rimming Sink
- Undermount Sink
- Integrated Quartz Sink
- Porcelain Apron Sink
- Integrated Marble Sink
- Bamboo Apron Sink
- Prep Sinks
- Iron Island Sink
Let’s cover of some details about these sink types.
Self-Rimming Sinks: These are probably what you’re the most familiar with and have been around the longest. It’s the old standby. They are basically your standard stainless steel double, or single kitchen sink with a lip that extends over the countertop. It’s a “drop” into a hole in your countertop version. They can be simple or fancy, but the basic structure is the same for all these sink types.
Undermount Sinks: These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. They’re also trending in the kitchen design world at the moment. Their limitation – if you consider it as such – is that they can only be installed in what is called a “solid surface counter”. Usually a type of stone like granite, marble or quartz countertop. Of course, some composite countertops can also be used in this installation. Based on the shape and size of the sink, an exact hole is cut, polished and finished to receive the sink opening. The sink is installed from below. This style leaves the counter area seamless around the sink, meaning that it’s very easy to clean and you don’t lose any area between the counter and the opening of the kitchen sink.
Integrated Quartz Sink: it’s becoming more common as an option to have the sink installed as part of the countertop. Quartz countertop manufacturers often offer this. The sink basin is mated to the counter, sealed and polished to match. Without any seams anywhere, cleanup and functionality become very high. The only meaningful tradeoff is in color and design. Your choice of size and shape may be limited, and since the color will match the sink, it may not result in a visual feature differentiation called for in your design.
Porcelain Apron Sink: These sinks are designed for kitchens which reflect on days gone by in traditional homes. They are based on sinks prevalent in old historic farm houses and feature a large front apron. They can be found in a wide range of materials and sizes. You may prefer porcelain, stainless steel for a more functional look, or even copper in the most traditional of working farm style sinks.
Integrated Marble Sink: These sinks are certainly on the high end scale and are a feature of quartz composite and natural stone countertops. It’s also a seamless design, where the sink is seamlessly integrated into the countertop. It certainly makes it easy to clean, but the shape possibilities are limited. If you like a square sink, then it could be a perfect solution.
Bamboo Apron Sink: If you like traditional and modern, you may be able to incorporate one of these kitchen sinks into your design. The overall style is based on the traditional apron sink, but that’s where the similarity ends. Its typically a square sink, made of glued together bamboo and sealed to be waterproof. Using non toxic materials of course. It’s probably best in a modern kitchen application, since bamboo is not commonly seen in any traditional kitchen designs.
Prep Sinks: These are specialized “mini” sinks which are becoming more and more popular. They are available in many sizes and shapes, and are usually quite a personal choice depending on the type of cooking you do. One example is a crescent shaped sink which is only about six inches wide by about four inches deep for processing vegetables. It has two drains! Why? so you can lay your vegetables in the middle and not over the drain. Your kitchen contractor will be able to provide you with not only options but suppliers for these specialized mini kitchen prep sinks.
Iron Island Sink: This sink can work well with both modern and traditional kitchens. They are cast iron and of course available in many colors. The layout is usually quite functional with a channel in the middle to allow for drainage and ample prep surface at the front. Since it’s an island dedicated to the cook’s work, it’s a great kitchen sink option to explore if you love to cook.
How to Choose the Best Kitchen Sink
Now that you’re familiar with the most popular sink types, you’re faced with the next question. Which one is right for you?
Before you take this question too lightly, consider that there are not many parts of your home which are used as often as the kitchen sink.
One of the first decision points is whether to install a single or a single basin sink or two basins. It my be important to note that most experienced cooks opt for a large single basin. It facilitates the washing of large pots, prepping large quantities of food and soaking large pans. With the large number of basin accessories available from sink manufacturers, the functionality of a large single basin kitchen sink is almost endless.
A sink with basins lets you perform two distinct tasks at the same time. But at the expense of size in either basin. So it’s a real tradeoff. It’s also a matter of habit and preference. If you’re used to a two basin sink of either an equal basin size split or a typical 60/40 split, it will be hard to convince you that a large single basin sink will be better. There is of course the three basin option, which is not very common but nevertheless available.
If you’re thinking of a farmhouse sink, then you can think of that as basically a large single basin sink with flare! They do generally sit a little lower making access to the sink a bit easier, which is a plus if you have kids, elders or generally prefer a lower sink. It is a large and integral piece of the countertop area and the kitchen in general, so if you ever change your mind, then replacing the kitchen sink will be a bigger job than if you had to replace a basic sink. Just have to think ahead a bit.
Some people prefer a more rounded sink because it’s easier to clean. Others focus on the size and shape to facilitate specific food prep and cleanup activities which take place in the sink. You’ll need to think of what your most frequent usage activity is when choosing your next sink. A rounded bottom is something to think about before you opt for something like an integrated quartz sink which has a square bottom.
Choice of Sink Materials
If you have the counter space, then a built in drainboard beside the sink to drain dishes, pots or vegetables is a nice feature. But unless you do have the counter space available, it can rob you of prescious counter square footage for food prep.
You should also consider the material from which the sink is made. Stainless steel is the perennial favorite and standby choice of kitchen sink material. It’s available in virtually any style, shape and quality grade, it’s quite indestructible, and there’s an option for just about any style of kitchen. The only drawback is that it can scratch – which can be buffed out – an it can stain if the water is hard in your area.
Materials like porcelain are great kitchen sink options – if you know what you’re getting. They are a great choice for traditional style kitchens, and are available in just about any color. There are two basic drawbacks to porcelain kitchen sinks. One, they scratch and chip if accidentally banged too hard. Not a big risk, since they’re durable, but still, something to think about. The second, and more common issue is that they tend to scratch easily from pots and pans, leaving black stains that look like scratches on the bottom – and they’re not easy to remove. That said, some folks love their porcelain kitchen sinks and will not have any other. As you know, there’s always a compromise, and no one option will be perfect in every way.
Granite composite sinks are made of particles and polymers which resist scratches and chips and they don’t show water spots, which is an important consideration if you’re in an area with hard water. A great choice if it’s in your kitchen remodel budget.
One other consideration is the availability of kitchen sink accessories. Depending on your style of sink, the accessories may be limited, so always think about how you use the sink. Explore the available sink accessories for each sink style, which may impact your choice of sink. It’s always best to buy the accessories directly from the manufacturer, since generic and aftermarket accessories may not work as well as you expect.
If you do a lot of cooking, and involve family and friends in the process, you can even think of installing a complete sink system. This is basically a galley sink lineup of sinks and prep areas to facilitate the workflow for several people working in a lineup. It’s somewhat of a restaurant type setup, though it can be designed to look very good in a residential type setting as well.
So the bottom line with respect to kitchen sink selection is to take into account the amount and type of cooking you do. That’s the most important criteria. Then, select the sink options based on those parameters. Inevitably, you’ll have to live with some sort of compromise, but at least you’re getting a sink or a sink system that serves all the functions you need it to do.
Think Sink: High Quality Quartz Modern or Economy Basic?
The important thing is to try to anticipate as many of the potential issues while designing your kitchen. This is where an experienced kitchen contractor comes in, as well as a designer. But the contractor will play a critical role because they have direct experience and feedback through their kitchen remodelling customer base. Since they’re local, they can also tell you what is typical in your neighborhood in terms of style and quality level. So you don’t over or under-improve.
Your choice of sink, or sinks, if you’re planning on installing more than one kitchen sink is a personal one. Not all sink styles work with all counter and cabinet styles so to avoid complete confusion, there’s an order of operations in the kitchen design and remodel process.
First, you’ll probably need to understand the general style of the type, vintage and look of your next kitchen. Then, you’ll probably determine the style, quality and look of the cabinets. This is followed by selecting the appliances and allocating storage and counter space to meet your needs. It is after that, that you’ll be thinking of your kitchen sink. Your choice of cabinets and countertop material will impact the sink styles possible for your kitchen.
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