Find the perfect sink for your kitchen renovation

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Tackling a kitchen renovation can be daunting because there are so many decisions that need to be made. From cabinet design and appliance needs to flooring material and basic layout, tough design decisions can help you create a new space that you’ll love for years.

But whether you’re expanding the size of your cook space or simply updating it, your best tool for picking the most stylish and functional elements is knowledge. Among the many choices you need to make with your general contractor during a kitchen renovation is what type of sink you’ll install.

Sinks are one of the central elements of a kitchen for both use and design. So, it’s important to make a choice that’ll match your vision for the space as well as your daily kitchen habits. Here’s some important information to consider when choosing a sink for your new kitchen design.

It’s all about the countertops
If you’re having a difficult time deciding what kind of sink to have in your home, keep in mind that it’s connected to the countertops.

“With all renovations, one thing leads to another. So, your kitchen sink really depends on the countertop you choose,” custom kitchen and bath designer Christina Piekut explained in an interview.

With laminate countertops, drop-in sinks work best. The sink’s lip goes above the counter to create a seal that prevents water from damaging the new cabinets below.

Two of the most popular drop-in sink materials are stainless steel and cast iron. Stainless steel isn’t just easy to clean – it helps create a cohesive design in kitchens with nickel-finish drawer pulls or stainless-steel appliances. Cast iron is a tough material that’s resistant to wear and tear, but it might be most attractive to some because of its versatile palette. Popular in white, bisque and chocolate brown, cast-iron drop-in sinks can fit an array of decors. Brown is popular in homes with oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

With countertops made of quartz or granite, undermounted sinks are the best fit. One of the defining characteristics of an undermounted sink is one of its best qualities. Its lipless design gives homeowners flowing countertops and added sink depth, because the sink’s basin sits under the stone counter rather than on top of it. The lack of a lip also makes cleaning around the sink easier.

With an undermounted sink, there are many options such as stainless steel, cast iron, solid surfaces, Corian, Swan Granite and, even gaining in popularity, copper sinks. However, you should consider the pros and cons of each.

Stainless steel, as stated above, is easy to maintain, scratching is possible so be sure to get a bottom grid.  Cast Iron with porcelain is very durable and easy to clean, however can chip if heavy items are dropped into it.  Corian has a renewable surface that won’t wear away. It has high resistance to heavy objects but a sudden change in temperature – like when draining spaghetti – may cause it to break. Swan granite is made with 80% quartz natural stone, only a diamond is harder so it’s extremely durable and will look like new for years to come. The downfall may be cost for some or appearance for others. Copper sinks are beautiful, but are not practical, as they’re affected by environment as they’ll patina to green over time, and many household cleaners are not recommended for use with these delicate beauties.

Try one out
Although undermounted and drop-in designs are important factors, there are style subsets within these larger categories. Some designs feature two equal basins or two unequal basins with one for dishes, while others sport D-shaped designs that give homeowners added width. There are also more decorative styles like farmhouse sinks, which feature an apron in the front and are popular in country home designs.

Regardless of design, Piekut explained that depth is overwhelmingly the most important factor for people picking out a sink. People often want a deep sink for splash protection and added space. However, she warned that anything deeper than 9 inches may end up hurting your back, especially for taller people.

“I had a client who was a chef and he was 6-feet-4-inches tall,” Piekut explained. “For choosing his sink, he wanted to do a farmhouse sink. Because farmhouse sinks sit underneath your countertop, they don’t sit deeper but you’ll subconsciously lean farther in because it’s sitting an inch lower than a normal sink does. So I made him do dishes because I wanted him to really be OK with how deep it is. And, in the end, he was like, ‘My back is a little sore.’ And I told him, ‘Maybe this isn’t the choice for you.'”

The best way to figure out if you like a design is to try things out and see what you’re unhappy with, Piekut advised. Maybe by using the sink you’ll realize that sink depth isn’t actually as important as other popular features, such as how easily it can be cleaned or its width.

Piekut likes to have her clients actually try out the sinks with pots and pans that are kept in the showroom – like a sink test drive. They can play house like actors and actresses, getting a real feel for what it’ll be like to live with the sink.

In addition to trying out different sinks, Piekut said the most helpful information for homeowners to tell their designer is what they really don’t like about other sinks.

“I tell clients, when I’m selecting materials with them, that their no’s are giving me a ton of information,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to tell us what you hate about your existing sinks, because that helps us find the features you’re looking for.”

If you’re on the fence, talk to your designer and contractor about your needs and they’ll be able to get you a sink that fits with you and your kitchen.

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