Back in the day when you were building a home you had very little options available to you when it came to kitchen sinks. Perhaps one or two types of materials, one or two shape designs, and that was about it. But, in 2017 things have changed significantly. Nowadays you can find about 15 different materials, 20 different coatings, 50 different colors, 10 different shapes, 5 different sizes, etc. The amount of options and features is almost mind numbing. If you sat down and did your own research it could take you weeks upon weeks to find all of the options available. But, you don’t have to do that. I did all the hard work for you! When it came time to choosing my kitchen sinks for both homes, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted.
I hated stainless steel – it scratches too easily, I hate double sinks, they are a pain in the butt and useless. But, the more I looked, the more I realized, I actually had no idea the whirlwind of options available. Below, we will be doing a crash course on kitchen sinks – everything is going to be included so that you can make a sound (and pretty quick) decision on what it is you want for your kitchen sink(s). First we will start with materials. Then, move on to the configurations (one sink, double sink, three sink, etc). Next, we will delve into shapes. Lastly, specialized kitchen sinks.
Funny enough, this is my least favorite material for sinks and yet so common in homes and apartments these days. One of the reasons behind this is the cost. Stainless steel sinks will cost significantly less than something like stone or porcelain. They are also pretty durable in terms of dents. But, they do scratch a little too easily. Supposedly the scratches can be buffed out using a stainless steel brush – but I don’t care. I don’t want to. You can’t make me! Spots can also be a problem, especially if you have hard water.
Porcelain tends to have a very traditional look to it. Its perfect for people with traditional kitchens or cottage country, french country – anything vintage. These also come in almost every color under the sun. Seriously. Black, white, gray, red, blue, green, even purple for god’s sake! However, these can also chip. You know you have a porcelain sink in your home when they chip because it has a sort of blackness underneath. We used to have these in our apartment a few years back in the bathroom. One day it chipped out of the blue and left a black-like pock on the surface. There is no fixing this either. I mean you can paint over it, sure. You can add some caulk. But, these are obviously not permanent fixes.
I am a granite lover. Sinks, counters, backsplash tiles. You name it. This type of a material, granite composite is made from granite particles and polymers. Its incredibly scratch resistant, its dent resistant and its strong as heck. But, it does need some extra special care. Unlike with a stainless steel sink that barely needs anything, but to be cleaned every few days, a granite composite sink needs special maintenance because the lightened color can stain. But, hey if you love the material you’ll want to take care of it!
Stone, like wood, tends to have this appeal about it. Its beautiful, its super sexy and sleek, it just does something special for your space. One of the most commonly used natural materials is a soapstone. These can be customized in color and texture to match up with your counters – which can create a really seamless design. Special cleaning products will be needed for natural stone and it varies from stone to stone. For example, marble and granite; while they are both natural stone, they both need different things. Natural stone is also quite costly, especially when you compare it to something like stainless steel. Just to give you an idea, a stainless steel single sinks cost around $150 to $300. On the other hand, soapstone will cost $600 to $1500 depending on the features and colors. So yea. It is way more expensive, but if you’re like me and you hate stainless steel sinks it might be worth it (and it was for me!). Other popular natural stone materials besides soapstone; granite, marble, onyx, limestone, travertine and even river rock.
Copper Kitchen Sinks
These aren’t used as much as they used to be, however, they are incredibly durable and they won’t rust or tarnish. A patina, however, will develop over time. But, like with other copper products, this simply adds character over time. Copper is also anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and will resist bacteria, mold, mildew and other viruses. These can get pretty expensive. On the low, you’re looking at around $150 on the high you could be looking at $1100.
Kitchen Sink Configurations
Large Single Sinks
You actually don’t see these as much as you would think. For some reason, people love the double sink. The single sink means that you can wash a lot of food at once in a prep pan. Single sinks are much deeper, wider and bigger than they used to be. A versatile single sink would be around 33 to 36 inches wide and about 10 inches deep.
Double Sinks – In 2 Different Sizes
I don’t personally see the allure about something like this. Its a double sink, but each side is a different size. One is usually 18 inches wide, while the other is 14 inches wide. People say they like these though because it gives you the ability to clean veggies, meat and fruits on one side, and prep in the other. Eh. To each his own! One thing to remember about double sinks, where one side is bigger than the other, is that these are going to be really hard to wash pots, pans and casserole dishes in. This is one reason I don’t like double sinks. I cook.. a lot. So I use pots and pans and saute pans and casserole dishes and pie plates and everything else quite a lot. Therefore, the double sinks just, well, they are more of a pain than a gift for me.
A 50/50 Sink
This is also a double kitchen sink. But, instead of one size being bigger than the other, they are both the same size. This might be a good option for people that like clean lines and symmetry, and also like having the ability to use 2 different sink basins for 2 different things. You might be wondering what I do with a single? Well, I have 2 different sinks haha. One sink is mainly for washing dishes – closest to the dishwasher, while the other sink, which is installed into my island, is the kitchen sink I use for prepping food. Its just easier, for me. But, you should choose the option you love!
Wow. This is nuts. I remember seeing these when we were shopping for sinks or doing initial research, and there really is such a thing as 3 basins. For those of you that love 2 – this just might blow your mind. The first kitchen sink can be for washing pots and pans, washing your hands, etc. The third sink can be for washing foods, veggies, fruits, etc. The middle basin, which is actually more of a pain than anything else, is significantly smaller and its only used for one thing; the disposal. Its actually kind of smart if you think about it. Who wants to rinse their veggies and fruits in a basin where the garbage disposal is? The biggest pain to these 3 basin kitchen sinks is that you need a ton of counter space. And that space that you place your 3 basins is essentially sucking up space you could be using for surface prep.
Shapes, Styles, and Types
If all that wasn’t enough, you also have a lot of different shapes, styles, and types.
Self Rimming Kitchen Sinks
These kitchen sinks do not have the lip you are used to. Instead of an angle or a slant, these have an almost flush design against the counters. There is still a small lip, but its minute compared to the older styles. I don’t really like any lip on mine simply because when you get crumbs or food on the counters and you try wiping it into the basin, it almost always gets stuck between the lip of the basin and the counter! These are pretty easy to clean, though, and they tend to be affordable. These are used, more often than not, with a stainless steel sink.
Under mount Kitchen Sinks
These kitchen sinks have a gap between the counter and the actual top of the basin. There’s about a 1-3 inch gap. This is perfect for people, such as myself that want to wipe the surface of the counter and wipe their food into the sink. It also has a pretty stylish look to it. These can only be used with solid counters though like granite, marble or composite.
Integrated kitchen Sinks
I really love these. There are no lips or angles or grooves. Its simply one seamless design from your counters to the sink. This offers a really unique look and its really good for modern kitchens that want to incorporate design and functionality into their space. These come in all sorts of materials such a marble, granite, quartz, soapstone, composite and more.
Apron Kitchen Sinks
These are sort of a hybrid. You have 3 of the sides that are under mounted aka mounted under the counter top, then instead of the front of it being mounted under the counter space, the front of this – the side you see, is actually facing outwards. You will see what I mean in the image below. These tend to only be a single kitchen sink, not two or three basins. You can use a wide range of materials for apron sinks, though porcelain tends to be used the most, you can also use copper and stainless steel. These are ideal for kitchens with a historic or farmhouse feel to them.
Specialized Sink Systems
These are being used in commercial kitchens, however, if you have the space, you might consider it for your own kitchen. More and more people with larger kitchens are starting to include these specialized kitchen sink configurations because ultimately they are about comfort, design or function. These kitchen sink systems take a lot of counter space up. But, if you do a myriad of cooking and baking, you run a catering, Chef or other food business from your home, or you sell food items online like jams or cakes – this could be the dream sink you always wanted. The kitchen sink system has anywhere from 3-6 “basins” or sections. One section could be for cutting and peeling, one section could be for cleaning and washing, one section could be for serving, etc.