Which Sink? Don’t Get Left Dry

Choosing the right sink from among the myriad of sinks that are available requires that you know just a little bit about the “technical details”. Once you have that down, you can pair that knowledge with whatever aesthetic and style choices you want to make.

There are three important details to keep in mind so that you’ll choose the right sink for your lifestyle.

  • Installation - how the sink is installed in your countertop or vanity (sometimes described as the “type” of sink)
  • Configuration - its design relative to faucet compatibility, etc.
  • Material - what material it’s made from

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Types of Installation

Undercounter

These sinks offer a clean, modern look.  They free up usable counter space, and since there is no rim to catch debris, they’re also the easiest type of sink to keep clean.

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Above Counter/Vessel
Above-counter sinks rise above the countertop, or sit directly on the countertop. This means that they stand taller than other types of sinks, which can make washing ones hands and face in them more difficult.  Another thing to consider when selecting them is what type of faucet to use.  The faucet will need to be a wall mounted or a taller deck-mounted faucet.

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Countertop
These sinks, also known as drop-ins and self-rimming, fit into a variety of countertops. Their self-rimming nature makes them the simplest type of sink to install. Countertop sinks are the style most commonly found in high-traffic family bathrooms.

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Integral Countertop
These sinks combine a countertop and sink together. Their one piece, seamless design allows for a clean, sleek look. Since there are no crevices they are also one of the easiest styles to keep clean.

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Pedistal

A good choice for powder rooms and guest baths where storage is less important and space is limited. Their sleek, sophisticated lines can visually enlarge a room, while also enhancing its appearance. Pedestal sinks come in a variety of styles and shapes.

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Wall-Mount

These sinks are attached directly to the wall and can be a good solution in small bathrooms, allowing for usable space below the sink. Even if there’s only room for a wastebasket, the space that it offers will make the room appear larger and more open.   Some wall mounted bath sinks offer an apron or decorative cover to disguise some of the plumbing and drain pipe.

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Configuration

When selecting a sink it is important to take into account the type of faucet you want and it’s compatibility with your sink.  There are single hole mount electronic faucets, single lever, 2-hole and center set, 3-hole faucets and wall mount faucets.  It is also important to consider the height of the lip of the faucet in relation to your sink.   You want to make sure the two are compatible.  Consider washing your face and hair…washing a large bowl or filling a vase.

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MATERIALS

Glass

Glass is one of the primary materials used for vessel sinks. There are endless ways in which glass vessel sinks can be colored and decorated, for an endless number of

style possibilities.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s
Unique                                                                       Shows water spots
Many color,style & design options                           Prone to cracking, scratches

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Concrete
Concrete sinks can be custom-fabricated or bought pre-made. Concrete is porous and should be sealed to protect it from staining. Concrete sinks can be made in virtually any color.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Modern look                                                              Heavy

Sustainable, green material                                     Require sealing

Customizable

Stain resistant

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Wood / Bamboo
One of the more exotic types of bathroom sink materials includes wood and bamboo.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Expensive                                                                  Require oil treatment or sealer

Unique                                                                       Soft and subject to denting/nicking

Sustainable, green material                                     Darken with age

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Stainless Steel

Things to consider when selecting stainless steel are the guage of the material for dent resistance and durability and the sound deadening capabilities

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Most popular, claims 57% market                          Prone to scratching

Economical                                                                Can look dirty

Resistance to peeling, chipping & cracking

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Enamel

These sinks are available in either cast iron or enamel over stainless steel and have been around for decades.  If you have an older kitchen that has not been through a remodel, chances are you have a cast iron sink.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Array of available colors                                           Chip easily

Stain resistant                                                           Subject to rusting

Resistant to heat damage                                         Heavy and difficult to install

Limited under-mount options

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Solid Surface

These sinks have been growing in popularity over the past several years due to seamless look.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Integrated appearance                                            Not heat resistant

Unlimited shape options                                         Subject to scratching

Easy to maintain

Resistant to mold & bacteria

Easily repairable

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Fireclay

Fireclay has been around for quite some time but has become one of the newest trends in kitchen fixtures.  Made by pouring liquid clay into a mold, then removed form the mold and sponged to a slick finish, fireclay sinks are then allowed to air dry. Later they’re sprayed with a ceramic finish and fired in a kiln.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Durable                                                                      Limited sizes and colors

Glossy finish                                                              Can chip easily

Low maintenance                                                     Hard on dishes

Expensive

Environmentally friendly

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Soapstone

Is a soft, light grey rock consisting primarily of talc, a type of metamorphic rock.  The light grey rock darkens with age.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Smooth texture                                                         Expensive

Custom look                                                               Can scratch

Retains heat well

Good for hot pots

Fairly easy to maintain

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Quartz / Granite

These sinks can be made in one of two different ways:  they can be carved from a single block of granite or can be constructed out of multiple granite pieces or slabs that are bonded together and later sealed to ensure that the sink doesn’t leak.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Natural look                                                               Heavy and require reinforcement

Unique and different                                               Can stain

Can be cut to any size                                               Food can get caught in corners

Work with any sized faucet

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Copper

Copper is a unique and glamorous sink finish option.  These can be shaped into a variety of sizes and can be made smooth or finished in a variety of textures and designs.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Distinctive                                                                 Expensive

Antimicrobial properties                                         High maintenance to keep shiny

Variety of copper tones                                            Stain easily

Anti-rusting properties                                            Darken over time

Can be damaged by acidic foods

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The bottom line?  Consider cleaning, use, beauty and budget when making your choices.  Now, if only picking countertops were as easy…

 

Make it fabulous,

 

Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas

 

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