Read these 9 Kitchen Sink Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Fixtures tips and hundreds of other topics.
When it comes to kitchen sinks, you'll be bowled over by the number of choices you have. Double-bowl sinks have been around for a while, but many folks are throwing in three-bowl-ers when they renovate. They generally have two large ones for everyday use and a smaller one just for the garbage disposal. The third bowl (however you figure it) isn't necessarily in the middle. Some models have it in the corner or on the side so you have easier access to the main bowls.
Not to get too technical on you, but top-mounted sinks (also known as over-mounted, self-rimming or drop-in) are mounted on top of a counter-top. (Makes you think, doesn't it?) Top-mounted sinks have a lip that sits on the surface of the counter-top. In most cases, they are held in place by clips and screws. Although top-mounted sinks are easier and faster to install than under-mounted sinks, the raised lip that rests on the counter surface can make clean-up a little more difficult. Top-mounted sinks are commonly installed in laminate counter-tops. Know why? Because the lip covers up the seam where two parts of the laminate come together. Here's another piece of kitchen sink trivia: Most stainless-steel sinks are top-mounted.
When it comes to selecting a new kitchen sink, you can't be too careful. After all, you will most likely have to live with your choice for quite a long time. You'll need to consider the material the sink is made from, its shape and color, and mounting type. Do you want self-rimming, under-mount, or flush mount? When choosing the material and color of the sink you need to think how it will coordinate with your kitchen's decor, particularly your counter-top. The shape of the sink you choose will depend on what you will be using it for. Do you want one bowl, two bowls or three bowls? How deep should the bowls be? Finally, how your sink will be mounted is dependent on what kind of counter-top you have.
Unlike porcelain, acrylic does not come out of the ground. It came out of a laboratory in about 1930. Its real name isn't acrylic either. Acrylic is the nom de guerre of polymethylmetacrylate, or PMMA, for short. Acrylic also goes by the name Plexiglas or Lucite. Whatever name it goes by, acrylic has quite a few advantages as sink material. It's stain-resistant (meaning your sink will look newer longer), and some acrylic sinks actually come with built-in germ-fighting properties. Acrylic sinks, however, aren't as resistant to heat as other materials, and are prone to scratching and marring, which can dull the look of your sink over time.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but an under-mounted sink goes on the underside of the counter-top. While they take a little more time and effort to install, under-mounted sinks (also called sub-mounted) offer a more cohesive look when the sink and counter-top are made of the same material. You should know that if you have a laminate counter-top, under-mount is not for you. Why? The edge of the counter-top will show. Very tacky, that. So if you want to under-mount, you’ll need to have a stone or solid-surface counter-top. As for clean-up with an under-mount, it’s less of a challenge. Unlike the top-mounted, it has no lip that can get in the way of wiping away spills and crumbs. Finally, here’s one more bit of under-mount sink trivia: You can create a nifty drain board by using a router to make grooves in the counter-top near the sink.
If you are into rustic decor (and who isn't?), you just might want to look at a farmhouse, or apron sink. This stylish beauty will look great next to the butter churn and faux pitchfork. With its front jutting out from its cabinetry, the apron sink can look a little bit pregnant. Decor-minded homeowners frequently customize their kitchens by integrating their farmhouse sink into a piece of furniture, like a dresser, instead of traditional cabinet sink base. Since these sinks usually have no deck, the faucet and other accessories are mounted directly into the counter-top behind the bowl.
The modern day kitchen sinks have a ton of options and advantages. A deep sink with a high-arc faucet makes cleaning over-size items, like roasters, tureens and giant utensils a lot easier. A deep sink will also make an excellent utility sink for your kitchen. An extra-deep bowl is great for washing large pots or small children. A small sink on a wet bar will save you trekking back and forth to the kitchen. You can get specially shaped sinks for corner placement. The smaller models are ideal for use with wet bars or on side kitchen counters. Many homeowners install a small sink with a built-in filter for drinking and cooking water, and use a separate, larger sink for everyday use.
Porcelain sinks have been around for a long time and have been a popular choice throughout the world as sink material. Porcelain is a type of hard ceramic material fired at a temperature higher than that used to fire stoneware pottery and glazed earthenware. It is white or off-white in color, translucent but is often decorated for additional coloring. Most porcelain kitchen sinks are not made of porcelain, though you may find some that are. The porcelain is used as a coating on cast iron or other metal base. Porcelain's strength as a sink material is its glassy hardness and durability which make it easy to keep clean, bright, and shiny. On the other hand, porcelain is rather brittle, and can chip easily. Since porcelain is porous, it can become stained over time. Other than that, porcelain is great choice for a kitchen sink.
Kitchen sinks come in a wide variety of materials these days. The most popular are the stainless steel sink, porcelain sink, acrylic sink and other solid-surface materials (also called composites). Which one is right for your kitchen? That depends on what is important to you. Each material has its own particular benefit, look, feel and function.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|