How to buy a kitchen sink

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  • We've got everything you need to know to help you pick the perfect kitchen sink

    The kitchen sink is a hardworking appliance that doubles as the kitchen’s visual focus, so it’s worth considering your options carefully. Here’s some useful tips on how to buy a kitchen to help you choose the perfect design.

    Before you buy a kitchen sink

    • With such a variety of modern materials, dramatic designs, and
      space-saving options to choose from, it’s important to pick a sink that
      suits your needs.
    • If space allows, you can opt for anything from a single-bowl sink to a bigger, more industrial size, which can accommodate extra-wide trays from range cookers.
    • A two-bowl sink is the best choice, but if you have enough space, think
      like a professional and get completely separate sinks for dishwashing
      and food preparation.

    Types of sinks

    Inset

    Probably the most common type of sink,
    inset designs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and are fixed
    in place with the rim of the sink and drainer overlapping the worktop.
    They can be fitted into a surface made from any material and are,
    therefore, an extremely flexible option. Effectively sealing the space
    between sink and counter top, they work particularly well with Formica
    or wood finishes, which can be vulnerable to moisture.

    Undermounted

    Undermounted sinks are ideal for use with all types of solid
    surfaces including wood, stone, Corian and glass. The bowl is fixed in
    place underneath the kitchen counter, giving a really smart, modern
    look. ‘Fitting an inset sink into a beautiful granite worksurface would
    be a wasted opportunity when you could have a sleek, undermounted sink,’
    says Lawrence Pigeon. ‘They are also cleaner, as any spills or crumbs
    can be wiped straight into the bowl without getting stuck at the rim.
    Bear in mind, though, that they can’t be used with laminate worktops.’

    Flush Mounted

    Similar to stainless-steel undermounted sinks,
    flush-mounted models sit level with the work surface. The main
    difference between the two designs is the narrow perimeter that is left
    around the edge of flush-mounted bowls, where taps or soap dispensers
    can be installed. This area can also be extended to make sure the
    drainer is completely level with the worktop. For a coherent kitchen
    look, these designs look particularly good teamed with flush-mounted
    hobs, and also work well with wooden worktops.

    Integral

    As both the sink and counter top are manufactured from the same
    material, for example stainless steel or a synthetic solid surface,
    there are no visible seams between the separate components. The result
    is a sleek, contemporary and low-maintenance design.

    Belfast or Butler

    Known for their robust, hardwearing features, these sinks can look
    as good in a modern kitchen as they do in more traditional schemes.
    There is not much difference between the two classic designs, other than
    the fact that butler sinks are a simple rectangle, whereas Belfast
    models have a weir-type overflow to one side. Be aware that, instead of
    fitting directly into your kitchen units, as most other sinks would,
    both of these need to be bracketed onto the wall behind the worktop.

    What materials are kitchen sinks made of?

    Granite

    Made from 80-85 per cent natural granite, which is ground up and
    mixed with resin to form an extremely tough material, ‘granite can be
    moulded into any shape or size, creating designs that wouldn’t be
    feasible with stainless steel,’ says Neil Clark of sink specialist
    Carron Phoenix. Available in a host of shades, there’s a hue for every
    kitchen.

    Copper

    Copper sinks
    have a warm, individual look, but do require some maintenance as they
    scratch easily and can get dark spots. Depending on your taste, they can
    be left to develop a rich, aged patina or can be repolished with
    abrasive cleaners. To avoid discolouration, they should be wiped dry
    after use.

    Stone

    Marble and other natural stone sinks can look amazing, but are best kept as prep sinks rather than for dishwashing, as they damage easily. Take care with cleaning products, and avoid bleach at all costs.

    Wood

    Quiet, resilient and softer than ceramics, wood warms up cool
    modern kitchens. Usually laminated teak composite, the wood is sealed
    using epoxy resin, which renders it tough and easy to clean.

    Useful contacts

    Alpes Inox

    Astracast

    Blanco

    Boffi

    Caple

    Carron Phoenix

    Holloways of Ludlow

    Homebase

    Ikea

    John Lewis

    Kohler

    Hi-Macs
    Schiffini at Design Space London

    Shaws of Darwen

    Stone Age

    William Garvey

    Use our product guide to locate your ideal kitchen sink.

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