The kitchen-perfect sink

The kitchen-perfect sink

The kitchen-perfect sink

Planning a piecemeal makeover for your kitchen? While doing so, don’t forget the kitchen sink.  This is one of the important elements of a kitchen that somehow always gets overlooked. The kind of kitchen sink you choose determines not merely ease or difficulty of usage and maintenance, but also the kitchen’s overall appearance. While the final decision depends on your budget and your tastes or preferences, take into account your kitchen’s structural design, decor theme and colours as well.

Myriad options

Also known as drop-in, surface-mount or top-mount sinks, self-rimmed sinks are one of the popular options as they are easy to install and compatible with various countertop materials. A hole is carved into the countertop and the sink dropped in it such that its rim rests on the countertop. But, dirt and grime tend to creep into the crevice where the rim and the countertop overlap. So, regular cleaning is a must.

A variant of this sink is the under-mount sinks, which are mounted from underneath the counter and the counter’s edge drops into the sink imparting a seamless finish. Or if you want a rustic or country look to your kitchen, a farmhouse sink may the perfect bet for you. Made of either enamelled cast iron, fireclay, white porcelain, stainless steel or copper, its depth facilitates cleaning of huge utensils.

Another option is an integral sink, which flows seamlessly with the countertop. As it is an extention of the countertop, it is usually made of the same material such as granite or stainless steel. One of the major drawbacks of this sink is that if you want to change it, you would have to change the whole countertop!

In terms of sink styles, one can choose from single bowl, double bowl and three bowl ones. The style would largely depend on what your requirements are and of course, the kitchen size. If your pots and pans are huge, a single, large bowl is more suitable than two small basins or one small plus one large basin. The single-basin sink offers maintenance-ease, for there are fewer corners to clean.

For a small kitchen, go for a compact, single-bowl basin. Double-bowl sinks can have two basins of the same or different size and of the same or different depths or some combination of these two elements. Oversized and deep-bowl sinks are convenient for cleaning large utensils.

For a L or U-shaped countertop, corner sinks are available in various shapes — square, rectangular, oval or circular and in various materials like granite, copper, stainless steel and porcelain are ideal.

Material matters

Now that you are aware of the variety of sinks available in the market today and know what sort of sink will suit your kitchen, the next important thing is to pick the optimum material to build your sink. The commonly used materials for sinks are stone and cast iron. The only drawback with these materials is that the installation is expensive. If inbuilt slots for the faucet or other attachments aren’t crafted, you’ll have to carve them out of the sink.

Cast iron with a heavy porcelain enamel appears regal and elegant, besides being durable, easy-to-maintain and scratch/fade-resistant. Keep in mind that heavy materials like cast-iron demand a robust support system, making installation expensive. If the appropriate support materials are used, one need not worry about problems like leakages. With modern enamelling being quite robust, chipping isn’t an issue.

Concrete sinks provide customisation possibilities to gel with any type of countertop and decor theme. Elements like drain boards, inlays and unique shapes and sizes can be included. With these sinks, periodical cleaning at the joint between the countertop and sink edge is necessary. But to keep moisture and stains at bay, cleaning and sealing the sinks regularly is important.

Composite sinks made by blending different elements, like crushed rock or granite and resin filler, banish the disadvantages of sinks made solely of either element. They are scratch, heat and chip-resistant. The sinks are available in a variety of hues. Granite sinks also don’t buckle under heat, besides being easy to clean and durable, too.

Sinks made of ceramic and porcelain — these can be found in traditional decor — if used carelessly, can stain and chip easily. A gel cleanser can help in removing the stains for ceramic sinks, while chlorine bleach works for porcelain sinks.

Incidentally, fire-clay sinks that have a porcelain enamel fused onto them have a higher price tag.

Another extremely popular kitchen choice among homeowners is stainless steel. It is relatively inexpensive and reconciles itself to different styles and sizes. The disadvantage of noisiness is diluted by using a heavier gauge, spray coating or padding. Though they resist heat and stains, keep them clean by using a bit of vinegar. If you are looking for something unique, why don’t you try some unconventional materials like marble and glass? But do consider the durability and maintenance factors before you take the plunge.

With a variety of styles and designs available today, picking the right one for your kitchen may seem daunting. But once you decide on the budget and your style requirement, picking the perfect sink may actually be an exciting experience.

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