Cooking, cleaning, food preparation, washing hands, it is one of the most used components in your home, the kitchen sink. The history of the kitchen sink begins ages ago; rain would erode a stone and create a concave area that water could be collected in, a very useful tool for early humans. Over the years plumbing was brought into the home and the kitchen sink developed into a water pump and a bowl. The 1900-1920’s produced a more rudimentary version of what we call the kitchen and manufactured kitchen sinks were self-standing or mounted to the wall. As cabinetry became available, the need for a self rimming sink installed on a Formica counter-top became the beginning of the modern kitchen. Now, with all the available counter-top options, most kitchen sinks are under-mounted to a solid surface counter whether manufactured or real stone.
First, let’s talk about the materials that our kitchen sinks are made of today. Stainless steel, cast iron, and composite are the main manufactured resources used for today’s sinks. There are other products such as copper that are used to produce a more customized look, but often the maintenance needed for those materials doesn’t work well functionally for a kitchen sink.
Kohler cast iron sinks are made to survive the toughest work your family can dole out. Manufactured over the last 140 years, these sinks resist chipping and cracking and have a limited lifetime warranty. Their glossy finish is able to hide water spots and streaks much better than other sinks and are overall, incredibly low maintenance. They come in a vast assortment of colors and configurations to customize your kitchens appearance.
Stainless steel sinks always work well in a home that is appointed with stainless appliances. The repeating material is a pleasing look and the added benefits of being durable, low maintenance, heat and stain resistant make it an incredibly good choice for your home. Downsides to stainless steel is that small scratches can appear in these sinks when placing knives or other sharp objects in the bowls, and water spots may show if your water is particularly hard, avoidable problems with the proper care. Something to keep in mind when selecting a sink: the “lesser gauge” stainless steel sinks are superior to the “higher gauges.” Gauges refers to the thickness of the stainless steel used to make the sink, and thicker sinks resist denting and vibrating. Look for a 16 or 18 gauge for a stainless sink. Also consider a sound absorption for your sink, such as Kohler’s Silent Shield that reduces dish and water noise.
Kohler has a proprietary brand of composite sinks called Neoroc, a quartz, epoxy resin with hardeners that is manufactured under extreme pressure. The complex formula created by Kohler to make this sink was inspired by increasing durability. This material won’t chip or scratch and is able to withstand heat of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit! The process produces a matt finish with resistance to scratches, stains, heat, and fading. Kohler’s creation is available in several neutral colors.
Once you have decided on a sink material, you need to decide on the installation method you prefer. Self rimming is when the sink sits over the top of the counter-top, and under-mounted the sink sits below the counter. This is defiantly a stylistic choice but you may be limited by what you choose as your counter top. Under-mounted sinks need to be installed on a solid surface counter. Laminate counter-tops can not use the under-mount application because it is not strong enough to hold up the sink and you risk major damage. Make sure your choice of sink is available in the installation method you prefer.
Now lets look inside the sink. There are numerous configurations of sinks, one bowl, double equal, offset and smart divide. This is a very personal decision and you need to examine the way you organize your space when doing dishes.
Single bowl sinks are great for doing large casserole and cookies sheets, but there isn’t an open bowl for rinsing dishes or produce. If you choose this style, you might want to consider a secondary bowl in another area of the kitchen that can be used as a prep sink.
Double equal bowls are exactly what their name says, two(2) bowls, equal size. This is probably the most traditional in that it has been around for many years. Though incredibly helpful to be able to pile dishes in one side of the sink and still be able to use the other half to wash produce, drain pasta, or just wash your hands. Yet many of us have experienced the dread of trying to wash that giant casserole dish half in and half out of the sink, getting everything, including you, soaking wet. This is why the following two options were created.
Offset sinks have one larger bowl and one smaller bowl. This allows you to fit that giant casserole dish entirely in the sink, keeping the water where it belongs. Yet, you still have the benefit of an open space for you to prep food while the other side of the sink is slowly filling with dishes. When selecting this style sink, pay attention to which side you want the smaller bowl to be on, based on your personal dish washing method.
Newest on the market is the smart divide. For those who’s kitchens fill up with larger than average dishes, this may be your saving grace, because no matter how large the sink, there is always that one dish that doesn’t fit. This sink has a divider that sits lower than the top of your sink. This allows you to have two separate bowls, but when needed larger items can be easily washed. This is especially helpful for pots and pans that have protruding handles that make fitting in the sink difficult.
Drain placement is another detail to consider when you are selecting a sink. If you like a lot of storage, look at having a drain located to the rear of the sink, it can allow you to have more uninterrupted cabinet space below. You will also want to think about which side you want to disposal to be on, in one bowl sinks, the selection is made for you, but in double bowl sinks, it helps to have this in mind, especially when selecting an offset divided sink. Most commonly, the smaller bowl is the one with the disposal but this can be switched if you so choose.
Finally, you will want to decide on the traditional sink or a farmhouse sink/apron sink. This is mostly a visual choice, does it fit with the design aesthetic you are trying to achieve. However, there is a functional reason for choosing a sink with an apron. The apron replaces the cabinetry at the front of the sink, and takes on all the water and wear and tear instead of your cabinets. This is helpful for those who lean on their cabinets when doing the dishes and can start to see the wear in the paint or stain in front of the sink.
Even though the dishwasher does take on some of the tedium of washing dishes, the kitchen sink still remains the work horse of the home. My final advice for you today is; go out for dinner tonight and give your sink a rest!
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