It may not seem like a difficult or complicated process, but there is a surprising amount of complexity involved in buying the right kitchen sink. You have to consider style, functionality, looks, etc. Given how expensive it is to buy a brand new sink, and then pay to have it installed, you want to get it right the first time. You do not want to spend money on a sink and on installation, only to find out that you hate the way the sink looks or that it does not do everything you need it to. Something to note before continuing, DIY (do-it-yourself) work is almost always illegal in Australia when it involves electrical work or plumbing. The laws around DIY work are very strict, so double check your local state’s laws before thinking about doing this job yourself. If in doubt, call a professional plumber. So, what are some factors and things to keep in mind when buying a sink?
What sort of material do you want your kitchen sink to be made out of? By far the most popular material is stainless steel. Stainless steel is easy to clean, it is resistant to heat and stains, and it is by far the most cost effective material. A basic stainless steel sink can be bought for as low as $100, making stainless steel the best option for those on a strict budget.
But, while I would recommend going with stainless steel, there are a bunch of other materials out there. You can get granite, which is very similar to stainless steel in terms of how easy it is to clean, as well as being resistant against stains and heat. But, if you do go for granite, be careful, granite can crack easily.
Then there are cast iron sinks. These sinks are more expensive and heavier than stainless steel or granite (so make sure your countertop can actually support the weight of the sink before buying). But they are also very durable and very tough.
Finally, there are more “exotic” sink types that you do not see very often. Stone sinks, fireclay sinks, and copper sinks are just three examples. It is not recommended that you get these types of sinks, as they are expensive and really not better than stainless steel or granite sinks. But, depending on the look of your house, they can complement the look of certain houses quite nicely.
This is probably one of the more important questions you need to ask yourself when buying a kitchen sink. It may be tempting to go with the cheapest option, which is usually a single basin sink, but for kitchen sinks, it is generally a good idea to have as many basins as possible. Think of all the situations that can arise in a kitchen, where more than one basin will be helpful. For example, you may need to wash your hands, but if you are soaking some vegetables in the sink, then you need to go and find a different sink to use. If you do not have a dishwasher and wash all your dishes by hand, then having multiple basins becomes even more important; otherwise you will not be able to use your sink while soaking and cleaning dishes. Two is the best number of basins, there are some sinks that offer three, but that is only worth it if you plan on installing a garbage disposal.
If you are pondering how wide and how big the basins on your kitchen sink need to be, there is an easy solution to find out. Take the largest dish or pot you have, now try and submerge it completely in the basin. If it does not fit, then the basin is probably too small. At least one of your sink basins should be big enough to accommodate your largest cookware. So, do not bother with the measuring tape, simply grab your largest pot or dish and see if it can be submerged.
Due to the complexity involved in installing an entire sink, chances are good that you are not doing this on your own. Chances are you are either calling a licensed plumber (which you should always do when dealing with such a complex job), or working with someone who has a lot of plumbing experience. So, ask them their opinion on what would work best for you given your situation. See if the plumber is willing to select a sink for you, based off what they feel would work best for you. If you are hesitant about buying sinks or fixtures directly from a plumber (because you do not trust them or think you can get a better price elsewhere), at least run the sink you want to buy past your plumber to get their professional opinion. Some sinks are not compatible with certain countertops, and some sinks just are not as good as advertised, this is information that your plumber should be able to tell you.
If you wash dishes by hand, or do a lot of prep work involving water near your kitchen sink, then you need to consider ways of draining the water around the sink back into the basin. This helps keep messes to a minimum and makes your life easier. Now, the primary way to get water to drain back into the basin is to get drain boards. You can buy cheap ones online or in a store, but they do not work as well as built in drain boards. Built in drain boards make washing dishes and cookware easy and simple; and when you are done, you do not have to worry about mopping up all the spilt water. If for some reason you are not able to get a sink with attached drain boards, consider getting a sink that allows you to put a dishrack somewhere above the sink, so that the water can still drain back into the basin.
Give us a call if you need any assistance choosing or installing your next kitchen sink.