Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to pick a kitchen sink

One of the most common questions I get when working with
a kitchen design project is:
"How do I choose a kitchen sink?"

There are so many types of sinks on the market it can be very overwhelming if you don't have a few critical pieces of information to base your decision on.

The most common types of sinks are stainless, cast iron, copper, Siligranit, fireclay and stone. Each have some plus and minus points so lets get down to the facts.

What you need to know:

Stainless Steel

  • The lower the gauge number the heavier the stainless = better quality.
  • I would recommend not going any higher than 18 guage and choose a 16 gauge if you can.
  • Make sure it has a sound proofing coat on the bottom of the sink, it helps to reduce noise while using the sink.
  • Stainless steel is probably one of the most affordable choices currently in a sink. If you are not married to a name brand you can find a good one starting around $250.00.
  • They do scratch and can become stained especially if you have water issues.
  • The bottom sink grates they offer now can be a good investment in keeping your sink looking nice.
  • It can work in a kitchen that is super contemporary to a timeless tradition design.

Cast Iron

  • This is a classic sink that has been around for years. It is a cast iron molded sink coated in a thick layer of enamel.
  • Available in a lot of colors, it comes in both a drop in and undermount style.
  • Though the manufacturers of cast iron sinks tell us the finish with proper care will stay shiny and beautiful for years, my experience is with careful use you will get about 5 years and then they start to look a little tired. Something to think about when choosing this sink, especially when it is an undermount install and not easily replaced.
  • If you accidently set a pot that is too hot in or on the sink it could melt or chip the enamel.
  • The cost of cast iron sinks has really skyrocketed in the last year. Average cost of a good quality cast iron sink is about $600.00 and up.


  • Copper also comes in guages which equals quality. Always look for a least an 18 guage and shoot for a 16 guage.
  • Copper has a nice anti bacterial feature.
  • They are easy to keep looking nice and the patina they develop only adds to their beauty.
  • The copper sink looks fantastic in a just about any style of kitchen except contemporary. That is my personal opinion of course.
  • My recommendation would be to look for a single bowl design. The double bowl tends to have a thick divider which makes the individual bowls a little small.
  • Copper sinks can get spendy, starting around $900.00 and going up, but it can also be that special focal point that makes your kitchen a real "WOW". So don't discount it based on price. You can always cut back somewhere else if it is really the sink your kitchen is asking for.


  • Siligranit is a trademark brand for Blanco sinks, but there are several manufacturers out there that make a similar sink out of similar materials.
  • They come in about 5 or so colors and if you are looking for a black sink this could be the one to consider.
  • The sinks are a through color material ( color goes all the way through) and are stain and chip resistant
  • They are virtually scratch resistant, made of about 80% granite material and resin.
  • They also have an antibacterial quality that is a plus in a kitchen.
  • Highly heat resistant you can not hurt them.
  • Style wise they could work in any kitchen. I would choose an under mount application, I think they look better in this material.
  • They are also at a great price point, just slightly above some stainless sinks. Depending on the brand they start around $300.00.


  • Fireclay sinks are made from a china quality clay, coated with thick layer of glaze and fired at extremely high temperatures.
  • They are virtually chip resistant and will stand up to acid and alkali substances.
  • The finish is designed to be beautiful for years with careful use.
  • I own a fireclay sink and personally love it!
  • They are very heavy and your cabinet and countertop installers should know ahead of time this is the sink you have chosen.
  • You will also need to have extra depth plumbing collars.
  • They typcially look best in a classic kitchen but could be used in a contemporary kitchen if you pick the right style.
  • The fireclay sink is really a cadillac and the price reflects it. Expect to spend at least $800.00 and up depending on the style.


  • For those wanting something really different and special consider a stone sink
  • A variety of colors and stones are available. From granite to limestone, farm style to undermount.
  • I would proably tend toward this if this if you wanted to match a granite or were looking for pop in a transitional to traditional style kitchen.
  • Honestly this sink would last forever. Any scratches can be buffed out.
  • It can always be resealed to give it a little face lift but the natural patina would only improve the beauty in my opinion.
  • Plan on paying a pretty penny for a stone sink. Probably $900.00 and more depending on your choice. But again it could be worth it as that special focal point.
  • Let your installers know you are going to have a VERY HEAVY sink in your kitchen so they can plan ahead!
Hopefully you now have enough information that choosing your new sink will be now be a breeze!
It's a big purchase and can make you very happy or very disappointed. I want everyone to love their kitchen sink. You use it everyday and it needs to be the right one for you. So go shopping with confidence.