Everything And The Kitchen Sink – Your Guide To Choosing The Right Sink
Where would we be without our kitchen sink? It is undeniably one of the most important household fixtures, yet, when it comes to designing a kitchen, it is often overlooked. From creating a stylish focal point to neatly blending into the background, your choice of sink can transform the look of your interior, not to mention the practicality of your space. However, with a range of styles, materials, and configurations available, each with its own set of considerations, selecting a sink isn’t necessarily as straightforward as you might think. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of kitchen sinks, helping you navigate your choices with confidence. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have all the information you need to select a beautiful design that enhances your kitchen both practically and aesthetically. However, if you do have any questions or would like to discuss your upcoming project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team always love hearing your plans and ideas!
Types of Kitchen Sinks
Below is an outline of the four main kitchen sink types, their benefits and things to consider.
Undermount sinks, as the name suggests, are installed beneath your countertop, creating a sleek, seamless finish. The lack of rim makes them easy to clean around, as crumbs and spills can be swept directly into the sink. We only recommend fitting an under-mount sink if you are going for a solid surface worktop like granite or quartz, as water ingress can damage laminates. They can be paired with treated wood, provided you always dry the area after use. Thanks to their sleek and minimal design, under-mount sinks are perfect if you’re looking for a clean contemporary solution that shows off your beautiful, streamlined work surfaces.
Inset sinks, also known as drop-in or overmount sinks, sit on top of your work surface. They are dropped into a hole in the countertop and held in place by a narrow rim that runs around the bowl. They are easy to install and can fit a wide range of countertop materials, including laminate. The main drawback to inset sinks is their appearance. The visible lip can detract from the seamless look of the countertop. It can also make cleaning a bit more challenging as debris and water can accumulate around the rim. Inset sinks are versatile, practical, and ideal for any project where cost-effectiveness is key.
Synonymous with luxurious traditional kitchens, Belfast, farmhouse, or butler sinks, have their own iconic style. They comprise a rectangular ceramic basin and are fitted in such a way that the side of the bowl is completely visible. Belfast sinks (so-called because they originate from Belfast) were adapted from eighteenth-century butler sinks. The manufacturers made them deeper and added an overflow to improve their performance. Both make a stunning focal point in any classic kitchen and offer ample space for washing large pans and dishes. They are easy to clean and maintain. However, they can chip if knocked with something heavy. Like under-mount sinks, they should also only be paired with solid surface worktops.
Another slightly less common type of sink is the moulded or integral sink. These sinks are seamlessly moulded into your counter from the same material as your worktops. This is only possible if you opt for an acrylic or solid surface worktop. The smooth transition from countertop to sink not only looks very impressive but also simplifies cleaning. However, as acrylic has limited heat resistance, you may want to consider opting for a design with a metal base to prevent warping, especially if you’re planning to install a boiling water tap.
Should you go for one bowl or two? Discover which configuration is right for you and your space below.
Consisting of a single basin, one-bowl sinks are perfect if you’re looking to keep things simple. They are ideal if you have limited worktop space or prefer a more pared-back finish.The downside to single bowl sinks is that you can only use your sink for one thing at a time, which can be inconvenient if someone wants an ice-cold glass of water while you’re washing up!
1.5 Bowl Sinks
1.5 bowl sinks feature a full-sized basin and a smaller secondary basin. They offer more flexibility than single-bowl sinks, allowing you to perform different tasks simultaneously. For example, you could use the smaller basin for rinsing veg while using the larger bowl for washing up. They are great for families where there’s often more than one person in the kitchen. However, with some designs, the main bowl is slightly smaller than a normal single-bowl sink, which could make washing larger items a bit more challenging. This sink configuration is well-suited for medium to large kitchens where versatility is a priority.
Double sinks consist of two basins of the same size. This configuration provides excellent flexibility and can speed up washing up, allowing you to wash in one and rinse in the other. However, double sinks do require a lot of space, especially when paired with a draining area. Some of our clients prefer to use one basin for draining and the other for washing up, eliminating the need for a separate draining board without sacrificing versatility or style.
If you have a lovely, spacious kitchen or a busy family, you might find an additional prep sink very useful. These smaller secondary sinks can be installed elsewhere in your kitchen, streamlining food prep and allowing multiple people to use the space at the same time. However, you will need to take into account the costs associated with purchasing and installing another sink and tap, as well as the amount of space required.
These days, most of us prefer to drip dry rather than whipping out the tea towel. If that includes you, you’ll need to consider your draining board options.
Integrated Draining Boards
Made from the same material as the sink, integrated draining boards are only available with inset-style basins. While they are practical, durable, and easy to clean, they can hide your beautiful worktops and detract from the streamlined look of your space.
Cut-Out Drainage Grooves
Depending on your choice of worktop and sink, you can opt to have drainage grooves carved directly into the surface. Drainage grooves are only compatible with under-mount, integral, or Belfast sinks. Cut-out drainage grooves provide a much more sleek and minimal finish, as they are almost invisible when not in use. However, you can only cut grooves into solid surface worktops such as granite, quartz, and solid wood.
Freestanding Draining Boards
If neither of the above options is for you, you could purchase a freestanding draining board. That way you can store it out of sight when not in use.
When it comes to choosing the right material for your sink, it isn’t just a question of taste. Different materials have different properties and different price points too.
Stainless Steel Sinks
Thanks to its durability, versatility, and price, stainless steel is a very popular sink material. Stainless steel sinks are resistant to heat, staining, and rusting and can be bleached, making them a highly functional and hygienic option. They are also lightweight and easy to install. On the downside, they can scratch and even be a bit noisy when water hits the surface. They also have quite a distinctive appearance which may or may not suit your scheme.
Lots of people love the classic looks and luxurious gloss finish offered by ceramic sinks. While they are highly stain and heat-resistant and easy to clean, including with bleach, they can chip and crack. Furthermore, the shrinkage resulting from the firing process means they can vary slightly in size, which can make fitting them more difficult. That being said, a ceramic Belfast sink will create a truly stunning focal point to a traditional kitchen, bringing a high-end finish to your design.
Composite sinks are made from a combination of quartz or granite and resin filler. They offer a unique blend of durability and aesthetic appeal. They are the toughest sink material available and come in a variety of colours, allowing you to personalise your design. The only downside is that they are only available in a matt finish and should be cleaned with specific products to prevent discolouration. Composite sinks are a great fit for anyone seeking a stylish yet hardwearing solution.
How to Choose the Right Sink for Your Kitchen
Selecting the right sink is an essential part of ensuring your kitchen both reflects your personal style and stands the test of time. Thus, there’s much more to it than simply selecting a design that catches your eye.
First of all, you’ll need to consider your practical requirements. Do you need a spacious sink to accommodate large pots and pans? If so, a big single-bowl or Belfast sink could be perfect. Or do you find your washing-up sessions are regularly interrupted? In which case, a double or 1.5-bowl sink could be more suitable. Durability is also important. Bear in mind that, while ceramic sinks look great, they do require slightly more careful handling.
The overall style of your kitchen should also inform your decision. Modern and minimalist interiors often pair well with sleek under-mount sinks. Alternatively, if you’re going for something more traditional, a beautiful Belfast sink could make a lovely centrepiece. Of course, you’ll also need to take your budget into consideration. While stainless steel sinks are generally the most affordable and classic ceramic sinks the most expensive, prices can vary significantly from brand to brand. The best way to make sure you get the most out of your budget is by speaking directly to your local independent kitchen specialists.
We hope that we’ve answered all your questions and provided you with the information you need to choose a sink that not only enhances the beauty of your kitchen but also meets your practical needs. If you do have any other questions or would like to discuss your design with our friendly expert team, we would love to hear from you. Simply give us a call on 01634 799 909 or drop us an email at [email protected].