Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 1: Style

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When choosing a kitchen sink, you have several options to consider. Style, material, and size are all important. You may have your heart set on a certain sink, but will it really be the right fit for your kitchen and your lifestyle? We will give you some things to consider on the most common types so that you can make the choice that is right for you. In this part we will discuss sink styles, please continue on our next post, Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 2, to learn about different material considerations as well as maintenance tips.

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Style

When considering a style, you have the layout of the bowls to consider as well as the mounting options. The bowl layout will mostly be determined by the way you use your kitchen, while the mounting will typically be determined first by your countertop, then personal preference.

Bowl Layout

Equal Double Bowl

This style is your most common style of sink. It has two equal size bowls. It is great if you need to hand wash dishes or of you do a lot of soaking or meat thawing and would still like a usable side to wash hands, etc. while the other side is in use. It is not a great choice, however, if you often wash or rinse larger items, such as baking sheets or pizza peels.

Single Bowl

This style is a great option if you want a large open, more flexible space. It can more easily handle larger items, but can become an issue of you are needing to soak something as your whole sink will become unusable during that time. You can overcome this by using a separate vessel for soaking or thawing. This would require storage and cleanup of a separate vessel and taking up countertop space if there isn’t enough room to place it in part of the sink.

Offset Double Bowl

This style can often be a happy compromise to the pros and cons between a single bowel sink and an equal double bowl. There are different sizes of bowls available depending of how you want to use your sink. The 60/40 sink (shown above) is probably the most popular. It gives you the larger 60% side for larger pans or soaking, while you still have the smaller 40% side for hand washing and other prep. Typically the larger bowl is on the left side, but the opposite can be found. Another consideration when using this type of sink is which side to put the garbage disposal on. Most people have a tendency to place it in the smaller side, but usually the larger is the more used side and would catch the most debris.

Mounting Options

Each sink has a way that it fits in your countertop called mounting. Most sinks only have one way of mounting so you will need to pay attention to the sink you are purchasing.

Top Mount Sink

This style has a lip that sits on top of the countertop and is usually your least expensive option. You will find this mostly in kitchens with laminate countertops and stainless steel sinks.

Pros

  • The lip helps to prevent water from getting under the countertop. This is especially important for laminate countertops. In fact, it is your only choice when using laminate countertops, unless using specifically designed undermount sinks installed by the laminate manufacturer.
  • Inexpensive
  • Easiest to install

Cons

  • Difficult to wipe countertops into sink if lip is raised
  • Cleaning around lip can sometimes be difficult
  • Does not have the clean, hidden look of the undermount option

Undermount Sink

This mounting type has the sink mounted to the underside of the countertop. This is the most common type of sink in mid to upper priced new homes and remodels. Because it requires a polished and waterproof edge to the cutout, you will find this option primarily in stone and solid surface countertops.

Pros

  • Clean, hidden look
  • Easy to wipe countertop into sink
  • Usually easier to clean around edge of sink, but this can vary depending on the way it is installed and the amount of reveal (overhang of countertop around sink opening).

Cons

  • Only available in stone or solid surface countertops unless specifically offered by laminate manufacturer
  • More expensive
  • Harder to install. The sink is usually mounted as part of the countertop install.
  • Usually requires 24 hours for the glues to set before the faucet, garbage disposal, and drains can be connected.

Flush Mount Sink

This mounting option is not very popular, but deserves a mention. This is where the sink is supported from underneath and is set even or a little up from the countertop. Typically the countertop stops on either side of the sink where, with other mounting options, a whole is cut out of the countertop for the sink. You will find this style most often with farm or industrial style sinks.

Pros

  • Saves money on countertops as there is usually no countertop under the sink
  • Allows for very large sinks

Cons

  • Seams need to be particularly well sealed as there is no lip to help prevent leaking between the countertop and the sink
  • Will require a special setup. This will not be an option with your typical off-the-shelf sink cabinet

Farmhouse / Apron Front Sinks

We are specifically mentioning this style of sink on its own as it can often be found in both a double or single bowl option as well as all three mounting options. You must pay attention to the sink you are ordering as they are usually flexible in the mounting options, but not all are.

This style will require special cabinetry and countertop considerations. The cabinet underneath needs to be specifically made for this style of sink as well as the countertop specifically cut for it. Because of this it will need to be done as part of a new build or complete kitchen remodel.

There is one exception to this that we have found, and that is the Whitehaven Short Apron Farm Sink by Kohler. This sink allows you to retrofit a farm sink into most existing or off-the-shelf sink base cabinets. The countertop will still need to be cut specifically for this sink, but you might not have to replace your cabinets. You will just need to remove the false drawer panel on the front and cut the face frame accordingly. A great option for a kitchen facelift.

Please continue reading Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 2: Materials and Maintenance.

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