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Kitchen Sink 101: An Easy Buying Guide

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Kitchen Sink 101: An Easy Buying Guide

Shopping for a kitchen sink may seem like an easy task, but there are actually lot of options, details and considerations that you may not have thought would come into play. Whether you're looking online or heading to a local home improvement store, here is a simple and easy guide to shopping for a kitchen sink that will fit perfectly into your home.

What Types Of Sinks Are There?

Your kitchen sink is used multiple times per day, so it’s important to carefully consider what type of sink you want. The first thing to decide is the basic style of sink that you think will be the most useful for you. Here are the main sink style features and why they are beneficial:

  • Single/Double/Triple Bowl: You’ll need to decide first and foremost whether you want one, two or three bowls for your sink. Single and double are the most popular options. If you happen to go through a lot of dishes or want a very professional-style kitchen, then consider the triple bowl style. If you use a dishwasher, then having separate bowls for washing dishes may not be as much of as issue for you.
  • Bowl Configuration: If you do have more than one bowl in your sink, there are several ways this can be styled. The bowls can be of equal volume or unequal volume. They can be completely separate or only divided by a wall that doesn’t come up to the very top of the sink.
  • Top/Under-Mount: Make sure you figure out whether you need a top- or under-mount sink before you start shopping for a kitchen sink. Top-mount sinks are generally easier to install and work well with laminate counters. Meanwhile, under-mount sinks make counter clean-up slightly easier and work best with solid-surface countertops.
  • Farmhouse Sink: Also known as an apron-front sink, a farmhouse style sink has a stylish panel at the front. This is a great option for homes with traditional or retro style. These sinks are often quite large, so they work well for people who often work with large pots or pans.
  • Bar Sink: A bar sink is a smaller sink that is installed in addition to a larger sink in the kitchen. It works well in a bar area or on a kitchen island.
  • Utility Sink: This is another additional sink type that homeowners may want to install in addition to a regular kitchen sink. A utility sink is large and heavy-duty and is often placed near a garage or laundry room.

In addition to these basic styles, you’ll also want to consider the accessories for your sink. Where would you like the faucet to be placed? Do you need a hot water dispenser or a faucet sprayer? Make sure you contemplate these aspects when searching for the style that works for you.

What Sink Materials Are Available?

Once you’ve decided on a basic sink style, you’ll need to consider which sink material will work best in your kitchen. The material you choose needs to be both attractive and functional in your kitchen. The following is a guide to the common sink materials and what you can expect from them:

  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel sinks are the most popular option for kitchen sinks today. One of the reasons many homeowners choose stainless steel is that it matches their stainless steel appliances, such as a refrigerator or dishwasher. Stainless steel is resistant to cracking, chipping and peeling. However, it does show water spots and can get scratched. Look for sinks with a lower gauge number – this means that the steel is thicker and of higher quality. You also want to see if the sink has any sound-deadening ability (some stainless sinks can be quite loud when items are dropped into them).
  • Granite: Granite sinks are the most durable type of sink available. These sinks are made of extremely dense rock particles that are resistant to scratches, chips and high heat. Some are also resistant to staining. If you have granite countertops, a matching under-mount granite sink can create a nice, seamless look.
  • Quartz: Quartz sinks are usually really made of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin, also known as quartz composite. These are tough sinks that resist dents and scuffs, and they can be purchased in many different colors. They can also handle very harsh cleaning liquids and solutions. While durable, they don’t hold up to wear and tear quite as well as granite sinks.
  • Cast Iron: Cast iron sinks have a traditional, vintage look that many homeowners love. They have an enamel finish, but this doesn’t prevent cast iron sinks from being vulnerable to chips, scratches and even rusting. It’s also harder to keep hot water warm for long periods of time in this type of sink. Cast iron sinks are also quite heavy so they are usually not under-mounted. Like quartz sinks, cast iron sinks come in a wide array of colors.

How Much Should I Expect To Pay?

Expect to pay at least $75 to $100 for a kitchen sink as a minimum cost. If you want any upgrades in materials, custom sizing or extra features on your sink, that cost will go up. Most homeowners won’t pay more than $500 to $600 for a sink. In general, you’ll pay more for a granite, quartz or cast iron sink than a stainless steel sink. However, the size, the brand and the style of the sink will all factor into the final price.

Installation is another cost. You can install a sink yourself on-the-cheap with the help of a handy installation kit (usually costs only about $20 to $50). Professional installation costs will generally be at least $100 to $200 and will vary based on who you hire and how difficult your sink is to install.

Where Can I Shop For Sinks?

Choosing a sink may be tricking, but finding one actually isn’t too hard. You can find a wide array of options at your local home improvement store. Better yet, look online and you’ll have access to just about every size and style of sink imaginable, including custom sinks. Just remember that you’ll have to pay extra for shipping with an online purchase.

How Do I Install My Sink?

As mentioned above, a sink can be installed on your own or with the help of professionals. Those who are not familiar with doing home improvement projects on their own should definitely look for professional assistance. Make sure the pros you hire have experience and good references for their work.

A kitchen sink is an integral part of your home, one that you’ll use each and every day. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to find the sink that really suits your home and will enhance your kitchen for years to come.

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