Yes, I am the typical woman who chooses home appliances, vehicles and clothes pretty much in the same manner – – by how they look. I do not read labels, check consumer reports or price tags because that is what my husband does for me. When we decided to replace our kitchen sink, I was given a lesson in how to choose a kitchen sink. I will admit there is more to choosing a kitchen sink than picking one that is “pretty” or shiny. When choosing a new kitchen sink, you must consider size, installation, type and features.
The first consideration is the size of kitchen sink you will need. Most kitchen sinks are between 22 and 30 inches in width per bowl and 8 inches deep. However, ten inch bowls are available for those who use large pots and pans for cooking and need the depth for washing them. The traditional kitchen sink consists of two bowls; however, today’s kitchens are far from traditional. Single bowls or triple bowls are just as common in today’s kitchen as a spoon.
The second most important decision when choosing a kitchen sink is the type and installation. Because different types of sinks require special installation or do not work with certain types of countertop, you must consider everything before making a final decision. Types of sinks include:
*Top-mount kitchen sinks (also referred to as self-rimming or drop-in sinks) are easy to install and fairly inexpensive. These sinks are “dropped-in” on top of the countertop so they are very simple to install, requiring very little expertise or equipment. However, because the sink rests on top of the counter, dirt can get under the rim and bacteria can grow.
*Under-mount sinks are more difficult to install and more expensive but provide a more seamless appearance because they are installed from under the countertop. They are easier to clean because there is no lip as with top-mount sinks; however, they are not recommended for laminate or other non-waterproof countertops because they can cause damage to the countertop.
**Apron front or farmhouse sinks usually consist of one large bowl with a front panel. These sinks look terrific in a cabin or country-style kitchen.
**Trough sinks are narrow long sinks that are anywhere from 10 to 14 inches wide and up to four feet long. They are not very functional but they are great for entertaining and for kitchens that have multiple cooks wanting access to the sink.
The final consideration for choosing a kitchen sink would be the material. Stainless steel is the most popular because it is easy to clean and affordable. However, mirror finishes are not advised because they fog, show water spots and show scratches. Enameled cast iron sinks are available in a variety of colors and they are very durable with hard finishes that rarely chip. Enameled cast iron sinks are easy to clean; however, because of the weight you need to have heavier countertops to support these sinks. Composite acrylic and fiberglass are not good materials for kitchen sinks because they are not as durable, absorb stains and lose their finish faster than metal sinks.