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What are the different types of kitchen sinks?

There are many different materials used to make kitchen sinks these days. Here were are going to give you the more commonly used materials so you have an idea of what is out there and have an idea of what is most commonly used and tried and true. The materials discussed below are among the most commonly used in modern kitchen sinks, but there are many more. Glass, granite, marble, and copper are just a few of the more exotic materials being used to make kitchen sinks. If you’re considering one of these less conventional materials, it’s a good idea to do your homework to avoid buying a sink that has durability issues or maintenance issues you didn’t anticipate.

Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks

Cast iron is one of the oldest materials used for kitchen sinks and is still very popular today. The cast iron sink has a bright, glossy enamel finish that definitely appeals to many homeowners and lasts for decades.

So these sinks are made by casting iron. Since bare iron is extremely prone to rusting, cast iron sinks have a heavy porcelain enamel finish to keep the iron from rusting. If you were to strip the enamel off of a cast iron sink, it would have the same rough texture as a cast iron skillet.

A good thing to know is that the enamel finish used on cast iron sinks is extremely tough and does not stain or scratch easily. Porcelain enamel finish used on cast iron sinks is not merely paint; it’s actually melted glass that has been fused to the bare iron and although technically glass, modern enamels are incredibly hard and are well suited to the daily wear and tear seen by the average kitchen sink. Cast iron sinks are very easy to keep clean and is not as likely to show spotting from dried water. Porcelain enamels also have good resistance to light and fading.

There are a few drawbacks though. For one, it’s heavy. An average-sized iron sink can easily weigh 100 lbs or more, which is 2-3 times more than most stainless steel sinks. This can make installation more difficult, especially in the case of an under mount sink that requires additional supports to hold the sink in place under the counter.

Another drawback is that the enameling of a cast iron sink can chip, and if the bare iron base is exposed it will quickly begin to rust. But, as mentioned above, modern porcelain enamel is strong ,in many cases more so than metal, so this shouldn’t be a large factor in your decision making process.

Modern cast iron sinks are available in a wide range of styles and colors, although you can expect to pay extra if you opt for a sink that doesn’t have standard white enamel. For example, this Kohler cast iron sink is just over $600 in white, but nearly $850 for black and over $900 for “cashmere”.

Concrete Kitchen Sinks

Concrete sinks are stylish, often custom made and heavy. Not everyone has a concrete sink so they offer a distinctive style choice.

Their custom nature allows them to incorporate any design features you’d like such as, drain boards, inlays or a unique bowl shape or size. Pre-cast concrete sinks are also available.

Because it is concrete the good thing is it has unlimited customization and unique style options which allows for a seamless design.

The down side is it does require periodic sealing to avoid stains and to repel moisture. It is heavy and does require sufficient base cabinet support. It can definitely get costly when custom made.

Composite Kitchen Sinks

What does composite mean?

Here is the definition:

Made up of essentially different parts, separate parts or elements.

Composite sinks are made by combining crushed granite or quartz with a resin filler. The mixture varies depending on the product and manufacturer, but it’s usually around 70%-80% rock and 20%-30% resin.

This combination produces a material that has a lot of the same aesthetic qualities of real granite or quartz without the maintenance and durability issues associated with those types of sinks. Composite sinks are tough and highly resistant to stains and scratching.

Granite composite is the most durable sink on the market today. Thanks to an extremely high density of rock particles at the sink’s surface, this sink style offers superior scratch, chip and heat resistance. These sinks will weather hot pans, dropped utensils and other harsh conditions and they offer heat resistance up to 535 degrees, which means a hot pot or pan can go from stove to sink without burning or leaving marks on the surface of the sink which is an important thing to take a look at when choosing the right sink for you.

Quartz composite has a typical combination of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler. Quartz composite sinks can resist everyday cuts, scuffs and dents and can easily stand up to kitchen cleaning materials and liquids. However, that being said, these sinks are a step below granite based sinks in terms of wear and durability.

Fire Clay Kitchen Sinks

Fireclay sinks are made by molding ceramic clay into the shape of the sink and allowing it to dry at a high temperature for a period of up to 40 hours.

Once the clay has dried, the porcelain enamel is applied and the sink is placed in a tunnel kiln at an extremely high temperature for a period of around 20 hours.

This process has the effect of fusing the enamel to the clay while greatly increasing the strength of both. It is because of this process that fireclay sinks are generally regarded as being more durable than cast iron. However, fireclay isn’t indestructible and the enamel can chip from the impact of a dropped pot or glass so make sure you think with that.

Stainless Steel Sinks

Compared to other materials, stainless steel tends to be inexpensive.

The versatility of stainless means that stainless steel sinks are available in a variety of installation types such as under mount or top mount.

Stainless steel tends to be a louder than other materials, although many sinks feature a spray coating or padding to help reduce the noise. While overall very durable, stainless steel kitchen sinks can scratch more easily than other materials. Stainless sinks also tend to show water spots more easily and it can be difficult to keep them looking immaculately clean at all times. However, they offer excellent resistance to heat and stains.

Styles of kitchen sinks:

Single Bowl Sink

A single bowl sink has just one basin. While many homeowners assume that having more bowls is better, this isn’t always the case.

Single basin sinks are usually available in compact sizes, making them ideal for small spaces and the basin of a single bowl sink is obviously going to be bigger than a double bowl sink designed to fit into the same space. A larger basin can make cleaning large dishes such as pots and oven trays much easier.

Cleaning a single bowl kitchen sink is going a be a bit faster due to reduced amount of corners and edges, and single bowl models are typically cheaper than equivalent two or three bowl varieties.

Double Bowl Sink

The majority of modern kitchen sinks feature two bowls. This is most commonly used.

However, if you do a lot of cooking that involves larger dishes, you’ll need to make sure that the basins of your sink are big enough to comfortably wash them. There’s nothing more frustrating that struggling to clean a large pot at the end of a long day of cooking because it doesn’t fit in your double bowl sink.

Double bowl sinks come in a wide array of configurations– two equally-sized bowls of the same depth, two equal bowls of different depths, unequal size bowls, etc. The right setup for you will depend on what you do in your kitchen, so take some time to consider your options before making a purchase.

Top Mount Sink

This style of kitchen sink is designed to be dropped into a hole in your counter top.

Top mount kitchen sinks almost always have a rim or lip that holds the sink in place and creates a finished look.

Top mount sinks, also known as drop-in sinks, are relatively easy and inexpensive to install. The lip of the sink reduces the need for an internal support system under the counter, making this type of sink a good choice for do-it-yourselfers or people on a budget.

However, top mount sinks don’t have the sleek appearance of under mount sinks. It’s easy for the area between the lip of the sink and the counter to accumulate scum and dirt as well.

Under Mount Sink

An under mount sink is mounted underneath the counter. There is no lip or rim, which means that the edge of the counter drops off directly into the sink basin.

In addition to providing a clean, modern look, this feature makes for less work when cleaning because debris can be wiped straight into the sink which makes cleaning a little easier. Unlike a top mount sink, under mount models don’t have grooves and crevices where food can accumulate which is definitely a plus point.

While under mount kitchen sinks look great and are easier to keep clean, they have some distinct disadvantages over top mount sinks such as cost. Under mount models require more work to install because the sink must be glued to the underside of the counter. Stainless steel sinks are typically light enough to work with just glue, but heavier sinks like cast iron or fireclay need some sort of internal support system. So the install is more expensive on under mounted sinks.

Most under mount sinks are not designed with space for faucets and attachments, so you’ll need to have holes cut into your counter top to install these components and this is not something I would suggest for anyone who wants to do the work themselves.

Integral Sinks

An Integral sink is a sink made out of the same material as the countertop to form a continuous surface.

This has become very popular in recent years. Integral sinks are actually part of the counter and are the same material as the rest of the counter. Integral sinks can be made from lots of different materials including stainless steel, cement and composites. Integral sinks are very fashionable, and very easy to clean as well as low maintenance. However, if you ever want to replace the sink, you have to replace the counter as well which can be a pain not to mention more expensive.

Kitchen sinks and RWT Design & Construction

I hope this information was helpful. If you are interested in remodeling your kitchen or changing your sink in your kitchen, feel free to give us a call here at RWT Design & Construction. We would be more than happy to help you with your home kitchen remodeling project. We have many years of experience and are experts in the field.

Sincerely,
RWT Design & Construction

Romney Tripp of RWT Design & Construction“Romney Tripp started construction in 1977 and formed RWT Design & Construction in 1992, eventually setting up the shop in Burbank. From the mid 1980’s Romney has been working on building recording studios as well as… Read more.”

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RWT Design & Construction.

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