A guide to the best kitchen sink materials
A kitchen sink is a fundamental element in the overall design of your kitchen. Choosing the right material for your sink is a key consideration when planning the room and shouldn’t be rushed. Getting it wrong can be expensive and time-consuming to remedy. How do you know which material to choose then? Here’s our guide to the best kitchen sink materials.
Stainless steel is one of the most popular choices for kitchen sinks. Aside from being cost-effective, it’s valued for offering a broad range of design possibilities. They can have either a single or double basin, allowing for greater functionality – the extra bowl could be used as a vegetable rinser, for instance.
They can also be fitted overmount or undermount. This refers to the edges of the sink – they’re either slightly raised above the surrounding worktop (overmount), or hidden beneath it (undermount). An overmount sink is a good option if you have a countertop made of soft material such as marble, as it helps to protect the edges. Undermount sinks, on the other hand, make it easier to sweep away any worktop detritus, and have a sleek look that isn’t out of place in a more modern kitchen design.
Stainless steel sinks are often found in professional kitchens, and with good reason. They’re easy to install, are relatively light, and they have a high resistance to heat and staining – a good selection for the keen chef.
The quality and durability of a stainless steel sink can be measured by its ‘gauge’. The gauge of a sink refers to its thickness, and is generally measured from 14 (restaurant quality) to 22 (cheap, home option). The lower the gauge, the thicker the sink. Thicker sinks are heavier, cause less noise, and are less liable to denting and everyday wear-and-tear.
Granite sinks are either made entirely from the stone, or mixed with an acrylic resin (granite composite). The former is the more expensive option and is made through carving a solid piece of granite to produce a bespoke kitchen feature. The latter, whilst more economical, offers more flexibility in terms of design – it can be moulded into various shapes and even coloured.
Given that granite is a heavy material, some thought needs to be given to the kitchen unit holding the sink. Depending on the style of unit and worktop you choose, it may need to be reinforced to give the sink adequate support.
Granite effectively absorbs noise, meaning that the clattering of pots and pans will rarely be heard outside of the kitchen. It’s also able to endure extreme heat – scolding-hot water certainly won’t make it buckle.
If you select a granite sink, it’ll last a lifetime. Whether natural granite or composite, its solid surface is resistant to scratches, scrapes, and bumps, and can withstand the abuse of the most enthusiastic chef.
Ceramic sinks are generally more suited to a classic kitchen design. Although ceramic sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most popular include the butler, belfast, and farmhouse styles. These designs, usually in white, add of touch of the timelessness to a kitchen’s design whilst enhancing its functionality.
Ceramic sinks are resistant to high temperatures and won’t scratch when washing heavier pots and pans. Be careful when handling glasses though – the hardness of ceramic means that they could break if dropped.
Ceramic also has a very smooth surface, making it very easy to wipe away any stains and maintain in good condition.
As long as ceramic sinks are well-maintained, they have an indefinite lifespan. Whilst they’re very hardy, damage can occur if the surface becomes chipped or cracked. The area surrounding the chip can become discoloured if not sealed within a short period of time.
Kitchen sinks are an important factor to consider when designing a new kitchen. The material of the sink has consequences not only for the style of the kitchen, but also its functionality.
Burnhill Kitchens designs and fits bespoke kitchens. Our award-winning designers consider every aspect of the design to produce a kitchen that meets your every need. Order one of our free brochures today for an insight on our custom kitchen designs.