​Kitchen Sinks: Which materials to choose?

Sucheta Mehra Sucheta Mehra
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Every kitchen has a kitchen sink. Some large kitchens may have two: one for general washing and another located by the side of the cooking range for convenience. If you are building a new house, you should devote thought to kitchen aesthetics. The kitchen sink and the kitchen sink materials deserve a lot of thought in order to avoid disappointment or frequent changes that could prove expensive. What is most confusing is the number of choices that can make it difficult to take a correct decision. The choice of kitchen sinks, their shape and size and the kitchen sink materials could all be dictated purely by aesthetic considerations, by cost considerations, by functionality or by suitability to align with the other materials used in the kitchen, or a combination of all. It is good to know the pros and cons and be better informed in order to take the right decision.

Ceramic

The beauty of ceramics in the kitchen, especially as kitchen sink materials, is unmatched. Ceramics can be moulded to any shape and size and can be glazed to a mirror finish in a variety of colors. Ceramic or porcelain sinks are hard, do not scratch easily, are immune to most chemicals, will not stain and will last a long time. The only drawback is that the enamel can chip or the sink can break if a heavy object is dropped on to it. It must also be kept in mind that ceramic kitchen sinks are more expensive but have a timeless elegance and style you will love. Like glass, ceramic sinks can have a plain surface or a patterned design to enhance the look. Designed surfaces will also help hide dust and scratch marks. Ceramics are chic, cool and never go out of style.

Stainless steel

Over 70% of kitchen sinks sold and used are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is strong, lightweight, does not rust, is not easily damaged by most chemicals and imparts a gleaming, smart look to kitchens. A steel kitchen sink may be noisy but that is taken care of by underside insulation or use of pads underneath to absorb sound. You can get stainless steel kitchen sinks in the undermount and top mount styles, dictated by the design of your kitchen counter top. What matters the most is the finishing and the thickness. Some might prefer a gleaming chrome finish but this finish can be marred by scratches that show up quite easily. A brushed satin finish is much better in that it is able to hide scratches. To its advantage, stainless steel is easy to clean and can be kept hygienic, retaining its looks for decades. Stainless steel kitchen sinks are available in thicknesses ranging from 24 gauge to 18 gauge. Both are strong, with the thicker 18 gauge able to withstand dents better.

Steel mixed with other materials

You can buy plain stainless steel with their typical metallic look. However, if your countertop is in glass or stone then you might want to harmonize the look instead of presenting a contrast. In this case you can go for coated stainless steel sinks. The coating can range from a heat cured colourful layer of polymer to heat fired vitreous coating with a gleaming look. Ceramic can also be coated on the steel and then glazed to complement marble or granite countertops. Such coated surfaces will usually not scratch or dent but if a heavy object is dropped, it could result in chipping and cracks.

Synthetics with natural stone

modern Kitchen by Kitchencraft
Kitchencraft

Silestone Chrome worktop and a Ceramic sink

Kitchencraft

Also known as composites, kitchen sinks made of a resin that incorporate granite or quartz as fillers are quite popular. These sinks have a mosaic pattern and can mimic the look of quartz or granite depending on the filler and the amount used. The choice of resin such as epoxy or polyester also dictates how tough and durable the sink is. Regardless, both resins are non-toxic, tough and durable. However, composite sinks made of synthetics with natural stone are tough, durable, stain and scratch resistant as well as easy to clean. Between quarts and granite, it is better to go for composites with granite stones as the filler materials because such sinks will last longer and are tougher. If you have a granite countertop then a composite sink of granite-resin will create a uniform visual flow. However, be careful with the use of solvents or highly corrosive acids since this could leave a mark on the composite surface.

Single or double sink

classic Garden by wood-fired oven
wood-fired oven

view of sink, BBQ and fridge

wood-fired oven

It all depends on your personal preferences and cooking habits as well as the space available in your kitchen. If it is large enough a double sink, either side by side or at two ends of the counter top, is the way to go. One kitchen sink next to the cooking area and another at a distance for washing purposes comes in useful when two people are working or for isolation purposes. You can also pick twin sinks sold as one unit, comprising of a larger unit and a smaller unit. You can also fit two sinks individually in different locations. When you opt for a double sink make sure the small and the large one or equally sized ones are large enough to take the largest dishes you will be using. A small kitchen with a single counter top will force you to use only a single sink. In this case, a large sink helps. If you have only one sink, there is that much less to clean and maintain.

Colorful glass

classic Bathroom by Keir Townsend Ltd.
Keir Townsend Ltd.

Recycle Glass Sink

Keir Townsend Ltd.

Colorful glass sinks look amazingly impressive in kitchens with colors ranging from bright hues of orange, pink, blue and white to dark shades of brown and black with everything in between. The advantage of glass is its smooth, contoured look, a nice and a shiny glossy surface that will resist scratches. Colorful glass kitchen sinks are available in a variety of sizes and shapes that will surely enhance the decor. As one of the finest kitchen sink materials, it is heat and chemical resistant but the downside is that it can break if hammered or if a heavy object falls on it. Still, the beauty of opaque or translucent glass is unmatched. It does not always have to be in one solid shade. You can have rippled designs running across the surface, adding a touch of interest to the sink and the look of your countertop.

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