Choosing the right kitchen sink is an important step in ensuring that your kitchen layout and design is enhanced to its full potential.
This article is going to discuss various aspects that you should consider before buying your kitchen sink. We are going to cover:
- Which kitchen sinks are the best?
- What kitchen sinks are trending?
- Sinks Features
- Food disposal units
- Mixers, taps or spouts for your sink
- Hygiene, Quality and Maintenance
- Prep Bowls
Which Kitchen Sinks are the best?
The kitchen sink serves only on purpose. But, with modern materials and designs your sink can also serve as an attractive kitchen fixture.
The two most crucial factors you should consider are:
- Does the sink cater to all my kitchen needs and habits?
- Does the sink match compliment my style? Is this something that I am aesthetically attracted to?
Understanding Kitchen Sink Mounting Types
There are different ways that sinks mount to your countertop. The types are: Undermount, Overmount, Inset or Butler.
The mounting methods are not universally interchangeable, so be careful when you choose your sink because a overmount sink cannot serve as an inset sink.
Granite, Marble and Engineered Stone counter tops can accommodate undermount, butler or inset sinks, which are by far the most popular in modern kitchen designs.
Overmount sinks are strictly designed for use with a free-standing kitchen cupboard that has no countertop of its own, the sink serves as both the sink and countertop all-in-one.
The undermount sink as well as the overmount sink is often confused with the inset sink so here is a guide to illustrate the difference:
Ensure your that your countertop service provider allows for a decent lip in front of the sink, especially for Inset sinks. We recommend 80mm. Consider that a lot of weight is often placed in this area, and it is quite common that stone counter tops often crack in this area as it is a weak spot when left too narrow. The same applies when fitting a hob type stove top. Discuss this upfront with your installer.
What kitchen sinks are trending?
When choosing your sink design keep the aesthetic in mind, you don’t want to build your kitchen around your sink design. It works the other way around. The sink must compliment your countertop design. Additionally, it should be positioned to simplify your countertop workflow. You will be moving between your stove, fridge, prep station and sink most of the time. Engineered stone or composites are introducing square lines and pleasing colours. For many decades stainless steel sinks have been the consumers only option. Now, the consumer is treated to a variety of materials and colours thanks to the advent of composite sinks.
Lately at Livecopper we’ve noticed that lots of our customers have been loving Black Composite sinks like the Fragranite or Silgranit sinks.
Undermount sinks by design rely on your countertop to act as the draining board. There is a downside to this that is often overlooked. You are going to have to consider a draining rack with its accompanying drip tray. Most inset or overmount sink choices give you the option of the draining board situated on the left-hand side, right hand side, or both left-and-right with the bowls positioned in the center. This is a very important factor when considering your ideal sink. Picture the sink with the draining rack stacked full of dishes, does it not potentially get in the way of something else that you would rather prefer in that space? Should you not consider having the draining board on the opposite side? Also consider that a single sided drain board might not be ideal for a larger family, can your surface area accommodate a larger sink with a double-sided draining board.
If you have a dishwasher your need for a draining board is significantly diminished.
Food waste and Drainage
Economy class sinks still come fitted with the good old-fashioned plug, but in your kitchen you want the best. The best doesn’t mean expensive as in the case of modern kitchen sink designs by Franke or Blanco. All sinks come fitted with a food waste strainer built into the plug. With a gentle pull the plug will plop open to allow the water to glide through, but not the food waste. From there the straining basket can easily be emptied into the bin and washed ready for the next round. The Franke Spazi kit is compatible with any sink brand and makes the installation and connecting to your plumbing so much easier. The kit comes in a single or double bowl option and even makes allowance for connecting a washing machine or dishwasher outlet out of sight underneath the counter.
Inset and Overmount sink designs generally all cater for one or two washing up bowls. The idea is that the second bowl is for the rinsing process. Some designs have a smaller rinse bowl incorporated which allows for the rinsing of vegetables and fruit or cutlery. Another nifty feature often overlooked is the wall between multiple bowls is designed to be slightly lower than the rest of the sink. This allows for water to overflow into the adjacent bowl rather than onto your floor.
Franke sinks have a lovely selection of practical accessories that include cutting boards and draining racks that are specifically designed to fit into the shape of your sink making for a confident workstation. These accessories are readily available and can be ordered separately or easily replaced if so needed.
Food Waste Disposers
Modern sink designs all cater for after-market food waste disposal units. This means that their waste outlets are compatible with any leading disposer manufacturer. The Insinkerator and Franke Food Waste disposers are two examples of quality units that can be fitted at any time within the lifecycle of the sink. Things have come a long way from only seeing this technology in American TV programs. Many South African homeowners are adopting this practice for hygienic and ease of cleaning up purposes. Waste food is processed into tiny particles that are easily washed away and then transported via your wastewater system. Your sink will be compatible with any leading brand waste disposer should you wish to consider adding one at a later stage, if you have an electricity point in the immediate vicinity.
Mixers, Taps or Spouts for your Sink
Considering that you are likely going to choose your kitchen taps or mixer based on your personal taste, the only thing left to consider is compatibility to your sink.
Undermount and Butler sinks rely on the mixer to be fitted directly on top of the countertop. Your countertop installer will be responsible for cutting the tap mounting hole. Discuss the position of this with your sink or counter installer in advance. Inset and Overmount sinks require a mounting hole to be punched through a demarcated area on the sink. Your Plumber has a special cutting tool called a Chassis Punch and he will take care of this for you. Tip: don’t allow your Plumber to cut the hole before you have purchased the tap as the hole size can vary between designs.
Butler sinks often compliment an old-world charm design and in that case wall spouts are a great alternative to a mixer.
Hygiene, Quality and Maintenance
Stainless Steel is corrosion proof, extremely hard and remains a favourite from a durability and hygienic point of view. When it comes to the man-made composites they can be just as effectively cleaned with regular soap and warm water and because the colours are integrated with the composite material. And there for the colour will last as long as the sink. Although scratches can’t necessarily be avoided, Franke Inox cream can be used to buff out surface scratches on Stainless Steel. Sinks are generally very robust, but dents or cracks on the other hand are not unheard of and can render the sink useless. Avoid dropping something heavy into your sink and be mindful when handling especially heavy pots and pans. Stainless Steel sinks carry a corrosion proof Warranty of 25 years and Fragranite a 5-year Warranty.
Should I install a prep bowl?
Prep bowls paired with an Inset Waste Bin is really such a brilliant accompaniment to a kitchen island or food prep area. Think about a strategic area in advance, every kitchen has one and remember to discuss it with your countertop installer as cutting the holes require some specialist equipment. Whether you are rinsing food or your hands, it is going to make a world of difference as it saves you many trips to the sink and back. It is a small expense that returns on investment immeasurably.