The kitchen sink will always remain a necessity item in the kitchen yet with the ever increasing style options and colour choices now available the practicality and aesthetics are, to many, of equal importance.
With the choice of stainless steel, ceramic, granite composite and synthetic materials plus an array of fitting options including inset, flush and undermount you may find it difficult to choose between all the variations. You’ll then you have the challenge of selecting a tap and accessories to compliment your sink. Do not let all the design options stifle you, all this choice enables you to create a stunning and unique sink and tap duo that will become a feature in your kitchen.
Before you start the selection process, you’ll need to do some measuring and think carefully about how you use your sink for every day kitchen tasks. Once you have created a check list you’ll find it easier to find a model that suits your lifestyle and interior.
- Measure the width of your kitchen cupboard (The cupboard that will be below kitchen sink) as the sink bowl has to fit within this cupboard.
- If replacing an existing sink you must measure the cut out beneath the sink and ensure the replacement inset sink will fit, it must have a minimum 1cm overhang too. It is also worthwhile taking note of the depth of the sink bowl.
- Be mindful of the worktop substrate as this will determine if you can opt for an under-mount, flush or an inset sink.
- Choose a sink bowl configuration that best suits your needs; Do you own a dishwasher? If so, perhaps the sink will only be used occasionally so a single bowl will suffice. Do you have any concerns with your present sink configuration? Maybe you’re tired of not being able to fit pans in your sink to soak, if so look for a wider bowl.
Material Choices For Your Sink;
They are a great sink choice for a busy kitchen as ceramic sinks are hard wearing and extremely easy to clean thanks to their non porous, smooth surface which means they continue to look great for many years to come.
- Extremely hard wearing and will not dent.
- Easy to clean due to the glazed, smooth, non porous surface.
- Resistant to high temperatures.
- Available in a number of colours, most commonly white or ivory but black is also available.
- Rather unforgiving! If you drop a glass or piece of crockery in the sink it is highly likely to break. To solve this issue a removable sink mat or wire rack can be used.
- Although extremely hard wearing, ceramic sinks can chip. It’s rare and thankfully you can buy touch up sticks to treat minor damage.
Butler or Belfast? What’s the difference?
In all honesty, not a lot! The main difference between the two is the inclusion of an overflow wier on the Belfast sinks. As the name suggests, Belfast sinks were designed in Belfast and their design was adapted from the Butler sink.
The Butler sink, often referred to as a London sink, was most commonly used in the scullery to wash dishes, they were originally manufactured with a shallower basin and without an overflow as in days gone by there was very limited access to fresh water in London which meant water conservation was incredibly important.
A stainless steel sink is a great all rounder. Hard wearing, reliable and excellent value for money; stainless steel is the most popular material choice for kitchen sinks. There are an abundance of styles to choose from too meaning it is easier than ever to find a sink to compliment your kitchen décor.Most household sinks are manufactured in a high quality 18/10 chrome nickel steel. Stainless steel is ranked based on its contents; 18/10 means 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel is present which is optimal for corrosion and stain resistance. It is worth remembering that the lower the steel gauge the thicker the steel, avoid steel with a high gauge as the sink will be prone to denting.
- Affordable; Whatever your budget you’ll find a model to suit.
- Durable; High quality 18/10 stainless steel will not rust, resists cracking or chipping.
- Easy to clean.
- Available in many configuration and finish options; mirrored, glossy, sheen, brushed steel.
- Brushed and satin finishes are easy to maintain and will develop a lovely patina over time. A brushed or satin finish also naturally helps to hide water marks and scratches.
- Blends well with many types of work top.
- Most are insulated or offer a coating on the underside of the sink which reduces the noise level.
- To keep the sink looking its best it will require a wash and buff every few weeks.
- Lack of colour choice.
Other things to consider before choosing a stainless steel sink;
Can a stainless steel sink rust?
High quality 18/10 chrome nickel steel is metallurgical incapable of rusting or corroding in normal household conditions. If you find rust marks appearing in your sink these are likely to be the result of small particles of a ferrous material which have become attached to the surface. The most common source of such particles is from wire wool used during the manufacturing process. Contamination may also occur if other wet objects such as cast iron pans, utensils or flatware are left in the sink for long periods of time.
These brown marks are normally superficial stains, which will not harm the sink, they can be removed using a soft damp cloth and a multi-purpose cream cleanser such as Bar Keepers Friend stainless steel cleaner.
Our tips on how to clean stainless steel appliances without the need to splurge on fancy cleaning products is worth a read if you plan to install a stainless steel sink.
Straight or Rounded Profile?
Choosing a design and profile for your stainless steel sink is really down to personal preference. Straight sided basins with 90 degree corners are often deeper and provide more volume. In order to create the angled profile the sink is welded together which means the stainless steel retains its ‘thickness’. Sinks formed this way are often more expensive and look fabulous in a modern kitchen scheme.Rounded basins are most commonly created using a single press technique. The stainless steel is pressed and stretched around a mould in order to form the desired basin shape which will, in places, impact the thickness of the stainless steel a little. Rounded profiles are easier to clean and drain and are generally the cheaper option.
Granite composite sinks are wonderfully versatile. With a choice of neutral colour options you can combine with an array of work surfaces to create a real statement in your kitchen. Granite sinks are hard wearing, stylish and will retain their quality appearance for a lifetime.
Engineered using a mix of granite particles and acrylic resin granite sinks are available in many styles, colours and forms so you’ll have no problem finding a composite granite sink to suits your needs perfectly.The Pros;
- Easy to clean.
- Virtually scratch resistant.
- Highly resistant to staining, marking and fading.
- Resistant to high temperatures.
- Hygienic, antibacterial finish.
- More costly than other sink options.
- Rather unforgiving! If you accidentally drop a glass or piece of crockery into the sink it is highly likely to break. To solve this issue a removable sink mat can be used.
- Clean with care. Always refer to the manufacturers handbook, avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals to prevent damage.
Should you wish to know the composition of the sink we recommend checking with the sink manufacturer.
Sink Configuration Options;
As we mentioned at the beginning, before choosing a configuration option you need to think about how you plan to use your kitchen sink and choose a combination that suits your needs.
If you own a dishwasher and only plan to use your sink to wash the odd item maybe a single bowl will suffice. For greater functionality opt for a one and a half bowl or double bowl so you have extra space for food preparation and cleaning as you go. A deeper bowl is a great option too, ideal if you’ll be washing large pots and pans on a regular basis.
- Single Bowl
- Single Bowl & Integral Drainer (Inset Only)
- Double Bowl
- Double Bowl & Integral Drainer(Inset Only)
- One & Half Bowl
- Drainer Grooves – Minimalist and ideal for granite and composite worktops with under-mounted sinks.
Inset Sink – Also known as a drop in or sit in sink; An inset sink has a built in ledge that sits on top of your work top.
- Easy and cheaper to install.
- Suitable for all types of work surface.
- Suitable for all budgets – inexpensive models are available, perfect for rental renovations.
- Great for a sink upgrade/replacement for an existing kitchen when a sink hole cut out has been previously cut.
Undermount Sink; The edge of the sink is mounted below the work surface for a seamless finish.
Flush Mounted Sink; The lip of the sink sits flush with the worktop. To install a flush mounted sink you must router a recess in the work-surface for the sink ‘lip’ to sit into creating a streamline counter top.
Flush mounted & Undermounted sinks;
- Compatible with any solid surface worktop such as granite, quartz, corian, concrete and solid wood. NOT suitable for laminate work surfaces.
- Minimalist in appearance.
- Easier to clean than inset sinks as there is no ledge overlapping the work surface meaning crumbs can be swept straight into the sink from the work surface.
- Installation is trickier and should be performed by a professional plumber.
- If you opt for an under-mount or flush mounted sink your kitchen tap is installed on the worktop surface or wall.
Drainer And Plug Location;
For many kitchen sinks with an integral drainer you will need to select a handing for the drainer so be mindful of whether you require the drainer to be situated to the left of right before ordering. A number of sinks are reversible meaning the drainer can be positioned on either side.
It is also worthwhile to think about the plug hole location. A plug located at the rear of the sink or an offset rear plug hole to the left or right is ideal but not essential. A rear plug location ensures pipework remains at the back of the cupboard so you’ll have more space in the base unit below for storing cleaning essentials.
Replacing an existing sink.
Before removing an existing sink, measure the cut out opening from underneath. Finally, take note of the width of your kitchen cupboard below as you must ensure the new sink bowl fits within this area.
Replacing An Inset Sink;
An inset sink is much easier to replace than an undermounted sink as it simply sits on the counter top. You must ensure a replacement inset sink is bigger than the cut out so that the lip/edge of the sink has a minimum 1cm overhang. Increasing the cut out on a laminate surface to fit your chosen inset sink can be done easily, solid surfaces can pose more problems so it would be wise to seek advice from an expert if you need to increase the aperture on such surfaces.
Always ensure your replacement inset sink has the appropriate number of sink holes to house your tap and any related accessories such as sprayers or integrated soap dispensers. You do not need to consider this on an undermounted or flush mounted sink as the tap and accessories will be installed on the work-top or wall.
Replacing An Under-Mount Sink;
It is trickier to replace an existing undermount sink as the replacement sink must be the same size as the cut out. This means you will be restricted to models dependant on your existing cut out opening.
Remember, you can always increase the cut out opening to accommodate a larger sink should you need to but this decision is not to be taken lightly when replacing an undermount sink as this type of sink MUST be installed into a solid work surface. To increase the opening on any solid work-surface would be costly and in some instances, not possible as it will be prone to damage. If in doubt, seek advice from an expert before purchasing your desired sink and always ensure any work is carried out by an expert fabricator.
Finding a kitchen sink that compliments your kitchen decor whilst also covering all the necessary practical requirements can be quite a challenge, however, with our knowledge and experience in the industry we will be happy to provide advice to help you find a sink and tap duo that fits your needs perfectly.
We offer multi buy discounts when you purchase 3 or more items on orders over £250. If you need a tap or any other accessories or appliances to compliment your new sink then please send us your shopping list and we’ll work on an exclusive discount just for you.