Kitchen sinks come in a variety of colors, materials and shapes. Choose a style that suits your kitchen. Photo Credit: Stone Forest
Kitchen sinks are not only functional, but they can be beautiful, too. If you are simply replacing a sink, the sink opening, number of holes and bowl configuration will remain the same unless you are willing to change the counter, plumbing or supports underneath. If you are selecting a sink as part of an overall kitchen remodel, you should look at the style that meets your needs, whether it be multiple bowls for preparation and cleanup, a stylized look, an under-mount or molded sink for a sleeker, more modern look, a contrasting material for visual or functional interest or a sink complete with cutting boards, strainers or built-in drainers.
Shape, Size and Bowl Sinks come in many size and shape configurations. When shopping for a sink, there are critical measurements to be considered: the depth (front to back), the width (left-to-right) and the bowl depth, which is commonly 6, 8 or 12 inches. Bowl shapes include oval, square and circular. Sink style can also be an option. A classic farm sink is typically a deeper sink and features an exposed front apron. Deciding whether to keep or replace existing cabinets will also play a part in the available sink size.
The number of sink bowls selected depends on the intended use and available space. Prep sinks are generally smaller and shallower while cleaning sinks should hold the largest pan or bowl in the kitchen. Homeowners often select two or three bowl sinks with bowls of varying sizes and depths to accommodate a range of kitchen activities.
Surface Mount, Flush Mount and Under-Mount Sinks A sink is installed into a countertop three ways: top-mounted, flush-mounted or under-mounted.
Top-mounted (or drop-in) sinks are dropped into a space left in the countertop. The sink rests slightly elevated above the surface of the countertop, leaving a lip. Although top-mounted sinks are fairly easy to install, the presence of the lip poses a small challenge when cleaning the counter surface. Top-mounted sinks are held in place with clamps and screws and caulked underneath the lip to ensure a watertight seal. It is also worth noting that a laminate countertop will only permit a top-mounted sink because laminate edges cannot be left exposed and prone to water damage.
Flush-mounted sinks rest level with the counter, which can create a uniform, integrated look. They are common choices for tiled counters and allow for easier countertop cleaning.
Under-mount sinks sit slightly below the surface of the counter. These are more difficult installations and are suited for solid surface or real stone countertops. Under-mounted sinks leave the edge of the countertop exposed and allow for easy cleaning of the counter.
An integral or integrated sink—one that is built as part of the countertop—is essentially flush-mounted in appearance. In this case, the sink and the countertop are one piece. Molding a sink into a metal countertop is one way to have an integral sink. Fabricating the sink from a block of natural stone or composite is also possible.