Sinks can be found in many different rooms in your home - the bathroom, the kitchen, maybe even a bar sink in your den or family room. Because bathroom and kitchen sinks are the most common, they will be our focus.
The assortment of bathroom sinks you grew up with has expanded significantly in recent years. Virtually any style and color can be found to meet the design needs of your bathroom. As you begin to look at fixtures for your bathroom, there are a couple of terms it would be helpful for you to know. In the industry, the bowl which holds the water is the actual sink; the unit that supports the sink and the sink itself are called the lavatory. Most commonly, the sinks are made from vitreous or fire clay, but that option has been expanded to include glass, metal and virtually any material that will hold water. Lavatories are categorized by how they support the sink. The sink can be on a pedestal, mounted on a wall or a counter top, or on a console.
Pedestal mounted sinks can be very stunning and dramatic. What they do not have is any room to store those things we all use in the bathroom everyday. Many families have found that the pedestal works well a powder room or low-use guest bath where the need for ongoing storage is limited.
Wall mounted sinks are either hung on a metal bracket that is attached to the wall's framing or bolted directly to the framing. Like the pedestal sink, they do not have any storage. However, these can be a great option if you have limited room or want to put the sink in a corner.
Counter top mounted sinks can either be recessed into the counter top or above the counter. The recessed sink, sometimes called an undermount sink, is the most common style as they allow for easy clean up and can be installed in almost any type of counter top. The above counter sink creates a design focal point in your bathroom with its sink bowl sitting above the counter. Because this style sink has no holes in it for faucets, they must be mount on the wall or in the area surrounding the sink. These sinks are frequently made of glass which can be made in many colors and patterns to provide a very unique element to your bath.
Console sinks are a sinks mounted in what looks like a piece of furniture. This style is a new trend in bathroom decor and can give your bathroom a very distinct look. Like the pedestal sink, there is very little if any room for storage and the console lavatory requires more space than your traditional vanity. In today's market, there are any number of styles and colors of sinks to enhance the beauty of your bath while providing you and your family with the functionality needed every day.
Your kitchen sink is one of the busiest spots in your kitchen and your home. It is used when preparing meals for your family as well as the clean up after the meal. When planning to remodel, or designing the kitchen in your new dream home, researching the right style and material is well worth your time. As with so many of the other fixtures in your home, kitchen sinks come in a wide array of colors and materials to match your taste. In addition, you will need to take into consideration the functionality your lifestyle requires and what amount of working space you have available in your kitchen. The assortment of materials sinks are manufactured from has expanded in recent years to include more than the traditional ones we grew up with.
Stainless steel sinks are the most common in kitchens in the past and today. They are easy to install and clean, while being heat resistant and durable. Because of their popularity, they are available in a wide range of prices, sizes and styles. One factor to take into consideration when looking at stainless steel is that it can scratch and dent.
Enamel/Porcelain sinks are made from cast iron and coated with enamel or porcelain. When this coating is fired, it creates a surface that is smooth, strong and non-porous. While the cast iron can make the sink heavy, it does allow for a wide range of colors and finishes. When looking at this type of sink, consider how it will be used as it will stain and can chip if heavy objects are dropped on it.
Solid Surface/Acrylic sinks are formed along with your counter top as one integrated piece, allowing for the choice from many colors and styles. They are lightweight and resistant to stain. Some manufacturers have even added a germ-fighting element into their sink materials. These sinks are easy to clean, but the surface will be damaged if cleaned with abrasive cleaners or hot pans are placed on it.
Fireclay sinks are clay based; and glazed and fired in intense heat, creating a strong and non-porous surface. These sinks can be cleaned with abrasive cleaners and are resistant to acids and heat. These fireclay sinks are very beautiful, coming in any number of colors and styles. As these sinks are quite expensive, this is a product you would want to have in place for a long time.
Concrete sinks add a very unique element to your kitchen, adding either a rustic touch or modern appearance, depending on the style you have chosen. Most concrete sinks are likely to stain. Some homeowners find this brings character to their sink. If this is not for you, you might consider another material.
Granite sinks are made of the stone which is combined with other materials and resins to create a non-porous surface which can resist scratches, dents, stains, impacts and heat. While these are the most durable sinks today, they are also very expensive.
Quartz sinks are another material that is very durable while being expensive. They are resistant to stains, scratches and impacts, and they are able to tolerate heat. This material can come in many styles and colors.
Metal sinks are made from brass and copper which is somewhat soft and can scratch, scuff and dent easily. While they will not stain, they will oxidize and change color. This material might be a consideration for a sink that is not used heavily, such as a bar sink. Another factor to take into consideration is the size of your sink as it relates to the size of your room. You will want to be careful that the sink does not overwhelm the size of your room. Your kitchen designer or UBuildIt Construction Consultant can advise you on the size appropriate for your kitchen.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association suggests a 22 x24 inch standard single bowl sink for kitchens less than 150 sq. ft.
In addition to the size of your sink, you will want to consider how many bowls you will need. Think about what you do in your kitchen every day and how the sink can complement that. Sinks can come in single bowl, double and even triple bowl styles. Do you need room to clean vegetables while you stack dishes in another bowl? If so, you will want to consider at least a double bowl sink if your space allows. Also, the typical depth of a sink is 8". Take a look at your pans and utensils to see if a model that is 9" to 10" deep would suit your needs better. Your sink can be mounted into your counter top in a number of ways.
Traditional mounting is relatively easy to install and less expensive. This method puts the sink into a hole cut into the counter top, leaving the edges over the top of the counter. These edges are sealed. Since the edges show, they can be difficult to keep clean.
Undermount sinks are attached beneath the counter creating a smooth line across the counter and allowing for easy clean up.
Farmhouse/Apron/Belfast are all terms for a sink that is built into the counter on three sides with the front of the sink showing.
Integrated mountings have the sink formed as part of the counter top. Whatever your needs may be, there is definitely a sink available that fits your lifestyle and taste.