Studies indicate that homeowners spend up to 50% of their time in the kitchen in front of the sink. Today’s kitchen sink has become a multitask center. The kitchen sink is used for washing and rinsing dishes, cleaning vegetables, soaking pots and pans, bathing the baby, dying hair, getting hot water from the instant hot and just plain hand washing. The list goes on and on.
Most customers at Howard’s Kitchen Studio come to one of our two showrooms thinking they know exactly what they want in their kitchen sink. Generally it’s whatever they’ve had in the past because it’s the sink they are comfortable with. Once our customers see the options available they can become overwhelmed. It’s our job to educate our customers so they can make an informed decision and select a sink that addresses form, function, needs, preferences and budgets.
Until recently, the three most common types of sinks have been cast iron, enameled steel and stainless steel. However, as the size and importance of the kitchen has grown, sink options have expanded to enable homeowners to customize their kitchens. Today, the kitchen sink can be a statement piece because they now come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials and mounting options.
As kitchens continue to grow in size, efficiency is more difficult to achieve. Yes, there’s more room, but it the space needs to be organized and workable. That’s why in larger kitchens we often recommend installing two sinks: a prep sink, generally facing a social area so you can face your guests and family members during meal preparation and a main sink used mostly for clean up.
Today’s Kitchen Sink Trends
A number of our customers are attracted to farmhouse or apron front sinks. Farmhouse sinks typically are deeper than stainless steel under mount or top mounted sinks and they area generally easier to clean. This is because farmhouse sinks are installed under the countertop, making it easier to wipe excess water or food scraps into the sink. Farmhouse sinks also are easier on the back because they bring the sink closer to the user.
Fireclay is the most common material used to make farmhouse sinks. Fireclay sinks are capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures while maintaining their original shape and size. This high firing temperature fuses the clay base with glazes to provide an extremely strong finish that is scratch, chip and stain-resistant. Other popular materials used to make farmhouse sinks are stainless steel, natural stone, copper, cast iron, concrete, porcelain and composite materials.
Many of our clients who do not choose a farmhouse sink, opt for an under mount instead. Under mount sinks are fastened to the underside of the countertop. This method is used for solid surface countertops such as granite, quartz and engineered stone. The lip where the sink meets counter must be a finished edge. The faucet in this application typically is mounted to the countertop. We advise our customers to decide if the countertop should overhang the sink, if it should be set back from the lip letting the sink show or if the countertop should be flush with the side of the sink. Based on the customer’s preference, we provide direction to the countertop fabricator.
Other mounting options are drop-in, flush mount or surface mounted. The choice of countertop material affects the mounting system used. Drop-in sinks have a lip that rests on the countertop surface with an integral rim. In the past, this was the traditional method of mounting sinks, especially on tile. This sink is literally dropped into a cutout in the countertop. Drop-in sinks are often cast iron and ringed by a large, raised lip that rests on the countertop surface. Stainless steel drop-in sinks have much flatter lips. Typically, the faucet is mounted to the sink.
Flush mounted sinks are set into the counter and align evenly with the countertop material (generally tile). These are referred to as a tile-in-flange. Only a few of our customers opt for a flush mounted sink.
Surface mount or hudee rim sinks are installed onto laminate countertops. A hudee rim is a metal frame that provides for a flush installation. It fits around the sink and is held in place by clips. These clips hold both the bowl to the rim and the rim to the counter. Although it’s nearly flush with the countertop, a common complaint is that grime and moisture get trapped on both sides of the metal rim. That’s why we don’t specify a lot of surface mounted sinks.
If you want to know how to select the perfect sink or sinks for your kitchen remodel, just contact Howard’s Kitchen Studio. We’d love to speak with you about to make sure your kitchen is perfect, and that means everything AND the kitchen sink!