An Overview of Solid Surface Sinks
Courtesy of Swanstone
Solid surface sinks can provide a seamless look if you have a solid surface countertop.
Solid surface sinks are made from solid synthetic sheets formed by mixing a mineral compound with polyester and/or acrylic resins.
- Can be molded from the same piece of solid surface that's used for the countertop, which will provide a seamless look.
- Lots of colors and designs to choose from.
- You can sand out scratches.
- You don't want to set hot pots and pans in it.
About $300 to $700.
An Overview of Integral Sinks
An integral sink blends seamlessly with the countertop, allowing the faucet to steal the show.
An integral sink is made out of the same material as the countertop and is fused to it, creating a seamless transition that makes the sink and counter look like one unit. This option only exists with materials flexible enough to be fabricated into the shape of a sink basin, limiting you to quartz, stainless steel, glass, solid surfacing and other composite materials. (Glass, however, costs $200-$300 per square foot, so it is typically used for smaller surfaces such as vanity tops or dining bars, not the main kitchen counter.)
The seamless design makes cleaning a snap and, from a design perspective, makes the sink complete unobtrusive and allows the focus to remain on an elegant faucet or artistic backsplash. However, if the sink or countertop is damaged, you'll probably have to replace both items rather than simply swap out one or the other.
Introduction to Stylish Sinks
The variety of sinks today is greater than ever before, from size and shape to style and material, your options are only limited by your creativity.
In the mid-1900s, there was a movement in the arts called "Kitchen Sink Realism," and this movement revolved around artists, poets, playwrights, and others focusing on the ordinary aspects of life. And perhaps during that era, a kitchen sink could represent all things ordinary. Luckily, in the current era, kitchen sinks do not have to be the pinnacle of plain in your home. There are enough sink options that you can create a variety of looks, from eye-catching and colorful to modern and sleek.
But to create the look you desire, you have to consider all your sink and faucet options: Stainless steel or cast iron? Undermount or self-rimming? Single bowl, double bowl or triple bowl?
And your options don't end there. This section will show you and explain to you all the choices you need to consider when looking into the very non-ordinary world of sinks.
Introduction to Faucet Options
A kitchen faucet's function is simple: dispense hot and cold water. But a kitchen faucet's form can be rather complex: When it comes to finish and to shape, it should match your kitchen's style. Do you want a brushed nickel, an oil-rubbed bronze, or something else? Maybe you want a short and stout faucet, or perhaps you prefer something tall and thin with an arch. One handle or two?
Then there's the matter of deciding how it should dispense water. Do you like side sprays, pullout faucets, filters or none of the above?
Clearly you have plenty of options when it comes to dispensing water into your kitchen sink. This section will help you figure out what is right for you.
An Overview of Cast Iron Sinks
Cast iron sinks provide a sturdy foundation for prepping food.
Cast iron sinks are formed by pouring molten iron into a cast (hence the name "cast iron") that forms the sink's shape. They are then coated with an enamel finish. This enamel finish can come in a variety of colors and it can also be fire polished to give the sink a glossy look.
- Comes in many colors.
- Remains quiet when water hits the sink's surface.
- More likely to chip and stain than other options.
- Because the material is heavy, the surrounding counter must be able to support a large amount of weight.
An Overview of Undermount Sinks
Undermount sinks, also called undercounter sinks, are gaining in popularity.
Undermount sinks have a low profile and are attached underneath the countertop, hence their name. With no visible edges, undermount sinks offer the advantages of a streamlined look. The lack of a sink rim or lip over the countertop also makes cleaning easy, as food and dirt can't get trapped under the edges.
A wide range of sinks come in undermount styles: single-, double- and triple-bowl; stainless steel, composite, fireclay, cast iron, solid surface, stone and copper; and bar or prep sinks as well as primary kitchen sinks.
Undermount sinks expose the edge of the countertop to the bowl and the water within it, so make sure the countertop material you choose is waterproof throughout, not just on the top layer. That typically means using solid surfacing, concrete, quartz, granite, or other engineered or natural stones.
In addition to being more difficult to install than drop-in sinks, undermount sinks also are more expensive.