Think Before You Buy - Kitchen Design and the Sink

  • Added:
    May 17, 2013
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Water in kitchen sink
Water in kitchen sink
Photo by espensorvik

Yes, the kitchen sink can be a place of washing up torture, although if you have kids it can be a good place for them to earn their allowance. Most of us have now equipped our kitchens with a dishwasher; yet we still need somewhere to prepare vegetables and salad, wash the more delicate fine china and expensive glassware and to tackle stubborn baking and roasting trays which need somewhere to relax in a nice hot bath from time to time. Before you buy a new kitchen sink it’s worth considering the options that different materials offer and their potential drawbacks.

Sizing up the Sink

Kitchen sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and in this case size does matter. A single stainless steel kitchen sink with drainer will take up a reasonable amount of space and more space will be required for a double sink. The latter is a good option as it allows you to wash up and prepare food simultaneously.

Material Choices

• Ceramic sinks were once ubiquitous and they fell out of fashion as stainless steel rose to prominence; yet they have in recent years undergone something of a comeback. They are usually large and are bold in design, making them a prominent feature of any kitchen design. Their biggest downsides are that they can chip and stain and therefore maintenance is a constant issue with a ceramic sink. Also if you’re using them to wash delicate china or glasses, the breakage risk is high.

• Stainless steel sinks with fitted kitchen mixer taps have been prevalent and fashionable from around the 1960s onwards. They were (and remain) hugely popular as they are robust, very easy to maintain and while being very stylish, are functional enough and subtle enough to fit into just about any kitchen setting.

• Stainless steel sinks don’t come in a variety of colours which is possibly their only drawback. However, stone composite sinks have arrived on the market recently and these offer a good range of colour. They’re also extremely hard wearing and as they are not porous they are very hygienic. For those with a passion for colour they offer the perfect option.

• Cost-wise the synthetic sink may be the most competitive. Like stone composite they also come in a wide range of colours and offer a durable option. These are growing in popularity and are likely to be a significant feature in the future.

Mountings and Placement

There are two main ways to mount a sink and these are inset or under-mounted. Both are popular, though the inset probably is the most preferred method. This is where the sink is sunk into the surface; this is easy to achieve if you have wooden worktops but a cut out will need to be created at the manufacturing stage if you’re using a granite, stone or composite worktop. This extra work will mean extra pounds on the bill. Under-mounted sinks are placed on the surface itself and stand out as a design feature; you will however lose the draining board. This creates more surface space but reduces the level of convenience. The placement of the sink in a kitchen often is one of the earliest parts of the design process as it will often dictate the placement of other essential appliances such as the cooker and fridge. This is certainly true if you are using the ‘work triangle’ approach to kitchen design. This design principle is tried, tested and really does work well, so although the placing of the sink is not the most important ‘feature’ in a kitchen, it can be vital to the entire kitchen layout.

Stainless steel sinks have been with us for many decades and continue to offer an excellent and practical design choice, whatever your kitchen style and layout. There are many different sink designs available so think about what you need from your appliance before you buy.

Author's Profile

Nigel Brown is a frequent contributor of content for Fit My Kitchen; he has written many articles pertaining to all things regarding commercial and domestic kitchen equipment but especially on such subjects as Stainless steel sinks, kitchen mixer taps and htm64 standards for medical and dental sinks.


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