Kitchen Sinks

June 19, 2013

Modern Kitchen Sink

Some sinks are termed universal, which means that they have a tap hole drilled front and back making it possible to have the drainer either side. Others however have their handing determined at time of manufacture and are either left or right-handed. It is often the handing of the user and the location of the dishwasher, fridge and crockery cupboard that dictates which handing is best for a user and space.

Tip: When buying a sink you will need to specify how many holes you require so buy your tap at the same time that you buy your sink. Some sinks will have a number of pre-drilled tap holes and specially designed grommets to fit un-used holes.

Tip: A sink with a drain offset to the rear or side (as opposed to the centre) provides more flat space for stacking dishes etc, creates more usable space under the sink and allows water to drain even if a large pan or tray is soaking in the sink.

Most sinks today have two bowls (double-bowl) but they can also have a one (single-bowl), one and half, one and three quarter or three bowls (triple-bowl). The number and size of bowl you opt for will depend on the size of your kitchen and largest pot!

Tip: Remember the more bowls you have the more waste pipes you will have under the sink and so the less cupboard space you will have.

The typically depth of a bowl is 8-10” but a popular option nowadays is to have an extra-deep bowl which is perfect for washing pots or babies!! Bear in mind though that deeper bowls result in more bending for normal usage, which may be problematic particularly if you are not that tall.

Tip: If you are installing a garbage disposal unit locate it in the smaller bowl and on the side closest to the dishwasher as this makes the cleaning of plates easier.

Single-bowl sinks include what we would call Belfast (farmhouse or apron) sinks. Traditionally these are fitted with the front edge projecting slightly beyond line of the cabinets around it. They rarely come with a deck (the flat part behind the bowls) and so taps and other accessories tend to be either wall or counter-mounted. These types of sinks are normally made of ceramic and are mounted on brackets attached to the wall behind the sink and do not fit into kitchen units.

Tip: It is important to leave a 5mm gap for expansion between the edges of a belfast sink and counter edges and walls.

Kitchen sinks can be under-mounted (sub-mounted), over-mounted (self-rimming, top-mounted or drop-in) or flush-mounted.  Over-mounted sinks are quicker and easier to install but the raised lip that sits between the counter surface and the sinks makes cleaning the counter a bit more difficult.  Laminated counters are typically fitted with this type of sink as it protects the raw chipboard edge that is exposed when the hole is cut for the sink.

Tip: When a drop-in or self-rimming sink is being fitted the installer should use a line of clear silicone or putty under the ceramic sink’s lip to create a watertight seal between the sink and the work surface.

Under-mounted sinks are more time consuming to install but they offer a more integrated look particularly when the countertop and sink material are the same. Often these sinks don’t have an integrated draining board and so the countertop may be grooved to serve this purpose. Under-mounted sinks can be mounted in one of three ways; with a positive, zero or negative reveal. With the first arrangement the sides of the sink bowl sit further in than the cut edges of the countertop, leaving the edge of the sink visible. With the second arrangement the sides of the bowl are completely flush with the cut edges of the countertop and with the third the sides of the bowl are recessed back beyond the cut edges of the countertop.

Tip: When an under-mounted sink is being fitted the installer should use a bead of caulk between the top of the sink and countertop to achieve a watertight seal.

The finished level of flush-mounted sinks sits in line with the counter it sits into. This type of sink is often used on tiled countertops.

Tip: When replacing a sink it is best to choose one the same size and shape as the original but you may be able to modify the inside of the cabinet under the sink to accommodate a larger, deeper sink.

Tip: Most good quality sinks come with a warranty. Ask about it when choosing a model.

Material Options
Kitchen sinks typically come in one of five materials; stainless steel, porcelain coated cast iron, ceramic, acrylic and solid-surface materials such as Corian.

Stainless steel is probably the most popular due to its affordability and serviceability. The downside of stainless steel is its tendency to scratch, its noisiness – although sinks can be undercoated to muffle noise – and its potential to dent if not of sufficient thickness. Stainless steel can receive a variety of finishes including polished, silk, brushed and linen. In addition to different ratios stainless steel sinks can also be made from different thicknesses or gauges, with the thickest being the quietest and most durable,  sounds. 18 gauge stainless steel is said to be optimal for residential kitchen sinks.

Recent developments in manufacturing processes have seen stainless steel sinks with tighter corners coming onto the market. These sinks have a more contemporary aesthetic than the traditionally formed rounded-corner stainless steel sinks.

Tip: Stainless steel is a blend of chrome and nickel, with chrome giving the material its luster and durability and nickel adding hardness and strength. The ideal ratio of chrome to nickel in kitchen sinks is said to be 18/10, also referred to as type 304.

Porcelain coated cast iron sinks provide a traditional aesthetic and are common in older houses. Although these sinks can be buffed to a shine they are susceptible to chipping and staining and are unforgiving if you drop your best china in them.

Although less durable than other materials acrylic sinks will resist stains and can come with an anti-bacterial coating.

Solid-surfacing (composite) materials are available in a variety of colours and finishes, some of which mimic granite and other high-end stones. The material is heat and stain resistant and although it will scratch most of these can be buffed out.

Sink accessories include colanders, cutting boards, sink grids, crockery baskets, draining boards, soap / lotion dispensers and strainer baskets.

Also ….. Technical Information on Taps


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