By Camilla McLaughlin
In today’s well edited spaces, every feature counts — even the kitchen sink.
It’s no surprise that in recent years the lowly sink has been elevated to a status equal to a stove or an oven. Increasingly, it’s being called a “water appliance.” From a place to scrub pots and pans to babies and small dogs, sinks are one of the most versatile (and hardworking) elements in the kitchen.
“You may be surprised to learn that the most used appliance in the kitchen is actually the sink/faucet center,” says California sink manufacturer, Rohl, citing research that shows that, on average, the sink, faucet and complementary accessory are used 10 to 30 times a day. “More often than most other kitchen appliances experience in a week.”
Bigger is Better
“Bigger sinks are here to stay just because of the style and the way they look,” said Jake Smith, Rohl’s technical director, who along with Rohl colleague Skip Johnson led a seminar for design professionals at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas.
Smith is also quick to point out that selecting a sink depends very much on lifestyle and owners’ preferences. “There is no one perfect kitchen sink,” he explained, noting that each style and materials have different attributes and appeal. But, he cautioned, choose the wrong sink and it might not fit with the kitchen.
Choices, Choices, Choices
From standbys such as stainless steel and porcelain to composites, stone and copper, the materials that kitchen sinks are made from are just the beginning of choices consumers have to make today. Configurations range from double or single bowls to long, linear shapes in traditional, modern or transitional styles. Installation options range from an apron front or farmhouse style, drop in or self-riming.
“Undermount is king today, whether it’s an apron front or a complete undermount. This is where everyone is going. It allows for the best customization,” explained Johnson.
Still, materials are most important factor in choosing a sink because they determine the amount of maintenance required and durability, in addition to aesthetics. Cast iron, a favorite that has been around since the 19th century, is durable, stable and nonporous. Its enameled surface allows for a huge range of colors. However, the enamel can scratch, chip and even rust especially if abrasives are used to clean it.
Composite sinks are made from granite, quartz and acrylic polyester. Lightweight, nonporous and easy to install, they can be coordinated with countertops. While they are prone to chipping, the color runs throughout the material.
The most durable sinks are fireclay sinks, made of a glaze and unique clay that fuse together when fired at extremely high temperatures. They can last for generations and require no special maintenance.
Stainless steel comes in a variety of shapes with multiple mounting options. The quality of the material can differ. Prices reflect the mount of stainless steel in the product — quality makes a difference with this material. Other options for materials include copper, which has natural antibacterial attributes. A low melting point might make it sensitive to hot pans, though.
The best way to preserve your sink — regardless of the material — is to try to avoid using abrasives on it. Instead, mild dish detergent and white vinegar are preferred.
Camilla McLaughlin is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate, house and home and luxury homes. She is a regular contributor to NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities.