Spotlight: The Kitchen Sink

By Kate Riley March 14, 2016

Hey everyone, hope you had an enjoyable weekend! I went to a karaoke bar for the first time on Saturday night, it was hilarious, I can’t wait to do it again! I got sidetracked with a new show on Sunday, I’ve been screening Shades of Blue with Ray Liotta and Jennifer Lopez on Hulu, I’m hooked! Have you been watching?

An email landed in my inbox last week from Julie, she writes,

“I am currently redoing my kitchen and I painted my kitchen cabinets from oak to white. Next up are counters, sink, and faucet. I haven’t seen much on the sinks on your remodels and I was wondering what your preference was?  One friend just got a stainless one and another composite which I know nothing about. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I am thinking granite or quartz for the countertops, probably more on the light side than dark. My floor is tile and has some rust and grey in it so I need to keep that in mind with the counter color I am guessing. Thanks! Julie”

Great topic! Congrats to Julie on giving her kitchen a fresh look by repurposing the cabinets and appliances. The enamel sink Julie has now (seen below) could be repurposed and reused with new countertops fabricated to fit. If so, I’d swap out the older faucet for something more modern that makes a statement, perhaps in the same oil rubbed bronze as the pulls or in a nickel finish to play off the stainless steel appliances.

 julies sink cabinet

But if she’s looking for a brand new sink, there are several types of sinks to consider!

Stainless Steel. This is a very affordable option, one that coordinates with stainless steel appliances. Note it can be louder when dishes hit the base or sides, but some come with sound insulation which deadens that sound of dishes hitting metal. Cons for stainless steel sinks include the fact they can scratch and also that they can collect water spots. Note that Formica offers an edge that allows an undermount application if you’re considering laminate countertops and prefer the undermount sink.

 formica edge laminate undermount

 

Cast Iron. My go to sink is a white double basin cast iron sink. It’s a personal preference but a white porcelain or cast iron kitchen sink feels clean and timeless to me. In Grandma’s kitchen remodel from last year and the Vegas kitchen remodel, both times I chose a white enamel coated cast iron sink. With a laminate countertop I opted for top mount to cover the seam but with the quartz countertops in the Vegas kitchen, I chose an undermount sink. I do prefer an undermount sink, it makes it easier to wipe the edges and sweep overflow water into the sink.

polished chrome faucet chrome hardware

 

undermount cast iron sink

In my home in California, I also have an undermount enamel cast iron sink in white, they do come in a variety of colors beyond white! The enamel finish on a cast iron sink is smooth, it doesn’t show water spots like stainless steel can. Cast iron sinks are extremely heavy and can often require additional support underneath, they are available in both top mount and undermount applications as mentioned above.

Composite. Sinks that are part rock and part resin are called composite, they are made of granite or quartz combined with a manmade resin material. Composite sinks are extremely durable, they resist both stains and scratching and are available in a host of colors. I love the idea of a dark sink in a white kitchen with light countertops and white cabinets to add a bit of contrast.

white cabinets dark sink

kapito muller

Fireclay. When clay and glaze are formed together at an extremely high temperature they create the fireclay sink. Many models are an apron style, ofter referred to as the farmhouse sink.This style is an option that would require Julie to cut down her existing sink cabinet to fit it.

Farmhouse sinks often require a specific sink cabinet in a new build or remodel to fit since the front apron is visible, they also require special countertop fabrication as well. This sink is extremely durable, the style of sink works in most styles of kitchens despite its “farmhouse” label, but they do tend to be more expensive. They are available in single or double basin styles.

 farmhouse sink

hollywood sierra

 white apron sink

emily mccall

 

Copper. This warm metal has experienced a resurgence, gaining in popularity once more. Copper is a metal that has had a timeless appeal for centuries. It can stain easily, it won’t rust but it will patina over time without chemical treatment. A copper sink may be a good design option for Julie since she has rust tones in her floor tile and the warm metal finish would complement.

 copper double basin sink

british standard

 copper apron sink

muse architects

Keep in mind a sink can make a statement! This dark soapstone apron sink is a dramatic focal point in a white kitchen.

 soapstone apron sink

domino

Two functional things to consider after you’ve chosen a material, think about the number of basins, this is totally up to the preference of the homeowner. I like a double basin, one for soaking dishes and another side with a disposal for rinsing dishes but many people prefer one big basin often seen with the fireclay farmhouse sink since it’s easier to wash big platters and larger cookware in a single big basin.

Finally, when purchasing pay attention to the number of holes in a sink because it affects what kind of faucet you choose. Also consider whether you’ll include a water filter, soap dispenser, and/or a dishwasher valve.

So dear readers, what kind of kitchen sink do you have? Do you recommend it? Help Julie decide!

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41 comments

  1. Absolutely love my undermount, white, rectangle, two bowl, low divider wall sinky-poo. More important? You wrote the whole post without one “Everything but the kitchen sink!” Ha!

  2. I have a white cast iron double sink that was installed 1 year ago and to my surprise is not wearing well. The side I wash the dishes in is scratched up. It’s just me and my husband so it doesn’t get excessive wear. And it did weigh a ton when installing. I just don’t understand why it isn’t wearing well. Any suggestions? I love the look but probably wouldn’t have gone with cast iron if I had known this before. Thanks Kate!

    • What’s your brand Kathy? I’ve used Kohler and don’t have that problem. When you say scratches do you mean those dark gray marks or actual scratches in the enamel?

      • I had the same problem with my cast iron sink in a previous house. To get out the gray marks from pots and plates scraping, I used Barkeepers Friend. It was the only thing that worked, but my husband claimed I was taking of the protective coat. I will never veer from stainless steel again.
        I like pretty, but I like less work just as much.

  3. I have a large one bowl stainless steel sink and I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It let me bathe my kids in it when they were little. It allows me to wash very large platters and bowls with no worries of ever hitting perimeters and breaking. It is not noisy in the least and very stain resistant. I have no worries of getting soaked from that spray of water caused by the water hitting the divider of a double sink…(always happens to me at my mothers laws lol). I place my clean dishes on the counter and usually dry them right away as I don’t like clutter. Can you tell I love my large one bowl stainless sink? :)

  4. Thanks for this post Kate, it came at the perfect time as I have just finished painting my kitchen cabinets and am going to replace our sink, counters & backsplash next. I love your blog, it has provided much inspiration to me!

  5. We have a Kohler Deerfield undermount with a smart divide and I love it! Yes, it’s white so we have to scrub it out each week so we don’t get stains, but there’s a great polish/cleaner for that, so no worries!
    The low divider is great for being able to have separate basins, but still be able to wash pans with long handles, sheet pans, etc.
    We have had it for 8 years and it still looks brand new. For full design reference, we have cherry cabinets, black granite countertops, and white sink and appliances.

  6. We just updated our kitchen and added a white double basin cast iron sink. I do love it!. It is incredibly heavy but the clean white finish is just what I wanted with my new white solid surface countertops. I was looking to lighten the look and feel of the kitchen, and the sink delivered.

  7. I’m very interested in these cast iron sinks. Do they chip easily if a pan is dropped in them? Do they scratch?

    • I have never had mine chip or scratch Joanna, mine is almost 10 years old, but I’ve read a few reviews on Consumer Reports where they test that sort of thing so yes, they can chip and could rust where that occurs.

  8. Would NEVER again have a ‘drop in’ or top mounted sink. Very hard to clean around. Pushed on me by my contractor, I think, because it was easier to install!

  9. It’s definitely all about personal preference. I have had stainless steel and do not like them. My fav was always my double basin white enamel over cast iron. However, we just had a full kitchen remodel in which I decided to go with a brown Silgranite model which coordinates wonderfully with my granite. It has a larger bowl with a smaller elevated section on the side complete with a SS basket for washing veggies/fruits, etc. So far, I love it. I opted not to get the cast iron because it can chip if you aren’t careful and I know my hubby wouldn’t be as careful. When I had one before, I was single. :)

  10. I recently moved into a house with bronze sink hardware, and while the hardware is beautiful, the hard water spots are a nightmare. There are white spots all over the faucet, and they do not come off easily.

    • retro-roost:

      Try dampening a cloth in vodka and wrapping it around the bronze hardware for a while. This takes off most hard water stains on bronze. If it doesn’t work, try a tiny bit of CLR.

  11. Thanks for a very informative post! In our current home we have a stainless steel double basin sink but in the future I’d like to try something more dramatic, like the copper or the soapstone one.

  12. We just had a mini-remodel after a small kitchen fire and went from a drop in two bowl stainless sink to a single bowl under mount stainless. I prefer the look of the white enamel but the stainless is easier for me to maintain, it seemed like I was always breaking out the comet when I had enamel (in a previous house). As for our new single bowl, I Love it! Always liked the look of the under mount and having a deep, wide single bowl is great! I can let baking sheets and big pans soak all the way in without half of it sticking out the top of the sink. Also looks great with our stainless appliances and brushed nickel hardware. We have dark wood laminate floors and the metal and wood play nicely off each other along with white cabinets and white quartz countertops.

  13. This is a great post! I’m enjoying all the comments too! I’ll be painting my cabinets soon and saving up for a kitchen remodel so I’m gathering inspiration so I know what I’d like to do when the time comes. I’ve only ever had a stainless steel single basin, it’s good to hear what else is out there.

  14. I am currently planning my kitchen reno, I love the look of white porcelain sinks but my contractor is advising me against it. He claims that every time he has installed a white sink that the customer has regretted it afterwards – he claims that usually within a year or so that they start to have noticeable scratch marks. I’m torn.

    • Hi Deidre, I haven’t had that experience which is why I keep choosing them, but others may have, I’ve had really great luck with the Kohler brand.

      • He had me convinced and was looking at stainless but, now I’m leaning towards white again. I just love the look of white farmhouse sinks.

  15. Like Lisa, in my new home I chose a Silgranite undermount double bowl sink with granite countertops. Previously I have had an integrated Corian sink and prior to that a stainless steel – both double bowl. I am finicky about cleanliness and appearance so the stainless steel drove me nuts as it always had dried water spots (not hard water spots as we have always used a water softener). Corian was suitable but I am in love with the Silgranite! It’s durable, cleans easily and looks fantastic. I prefer a large, deep left bowl to accommodate larger bakeware and pots when cleaning, paired against a smaller right side bowl with a garbage disposer for rinsing.

    • Another great Silgranite review, I’ll have to look at those next time I need a new kitchen sink Kimberley, thanks for the review!

  16. I have always had stainless steel sinks and my favorite was one with the extended bowl on the left with the faucet and smaller bowl on the right. I am not even sure if they still make that configuration. It allowed me to wash the large items easily on the big side, and the disposal and rinsing was done on the right sink.
    For those questioning the wear of the cast iron sink. My mother’s home is 40+ years old and she has a gold cast iron triple bowl sink that was installed when the house was built. It is showing quite a bit of wear now, but I can’t imagine what a stainless steel sink would look like at that age. Almost every visit I get out the baking soda and give it a good scrub and all of those “scratches” disappear. Yes, you get gray pot marks on that type of sink but they are easy to remove. If I wear doing a kitchen remodel now, I would definitely opt for the white enamel coated cast iron.

  17. I had wanted a white sink but my husband, who owns a plumbing business talked me out of it. (They tend to chip and stain.) We got a stainless steel deep modern sink with a double basin. Yes, it scratches but otherwise is holding up well and looks really nice. I know with 5 young kids nothing is going to look perfect anyway.

  18. Great post!
    I have a double stainless but when I reno my kitchen (next year?) I’ll put in a single stainless undermount.
    I do like the look of the white apron sink but I’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the kitchen decisions turn out.
    FYI I use Barkeepers Friend to clean my white China bowls that get “scratched” up from our cutlery. They aren’t really scratched but scuffed and show as grey marks. I know my mil used to use it to keep her white sink clean too!

  19. i currently have a stainless steel, 2-basin sink…very standard in my opinion. since i have well water, it shows waters pots like crazy and it never seems clean enough to me! when we eventually redo our own kitchen, i’ll definitely research different types of sinks….especially since we went with GE’s “slate” colored appliances.

  20. When we redid our kitchen a few years ago, we installed a divided, stainless steel, undermount, DEEP sink, and I love it. I would do the same thing all over again. (Also, I know this isn’t about countertops, but the sink is installed in a walnut countertop finished with Waterlox, and it has performed like a dream. Shout out to wood countertops!)

  21. In my previous homes, I’ve had both a white cast iron sink and a stainless steel sink. I didn’t like the white sink because it was constantly scratched and the stainless always had water spots. When we built our house 2 years ago we installed an undermount black Silgranite single bowl sink and I LOVE it! I have a busy household with five small children so I am doing dishes constantly. I love that there is plenty of space to “hide” dirty dishes when I can’t get to them right away, and food doesn’t get caught in the side that doesn’t have the disposal. I would highly recommend a Silgranite sink.

  22. Stainless steel, undermount, single basin, zero radius sink. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those 90 degree corners!

  23. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing this such a beautiful & amazing post great summary & outstanding pictures. Honestly I really enjoyed this post because of great sound & outstanding pictures.

    Kate, I have a question to ask you, Are you a also professional photographer someone other has clicked these amazing kitchen pics ?

  24. We put in a deep, single basin stainless sink during our remodel, and I still love it 5 years later. The best thing about it, though, is that the drain is offset in the back, right corner. Even if the sink is full of dishes or a large pan, the drain isn’t blocked, and I can have a large two-container trash pullout under the sink, since the disposal is in the back corner. It makes the cabinet under the sink so much more useable. I highly recommend a corner drain if you go with a single basin sink.

  25. Hi there,
    We just got our kitchen remodeled and did the exact look as in the first photo. A marble-look Formica with a deep, large one bowl stain-less steel undercount sink. We are floored at how amazing it looks. Every single person that comes in says “wow did you marble or granite counters?” Then we say they are laminate the next shock is “wow with an undermount sink!?!!” We do a lot of cooking and have family over frequently so we often have large pots, pans, and bakeware to wash. Our old sink was a double bowl and I absolutely hated how you could never quite fit the cookware. I’m so happy with the single bowl. Good luck!

    • So nice to read you’re happy with your marble look laminate and single basin stainless steel, thanks for sharing Tricia!

  26. Hi, We have the 7th sink down in the photos (white farmhouse with back drainboard) we got it very inexpensively at Ikea of all places. It is super heavy though. the drain slats are perfect for sponges or small things to dry. absolutely love the sink. (my faucet not so much. looking to replace it already after only a year) we went with white cabinets, silver travertine floors, stainless appliances, dark granite with labrordite chunks in it and a glass and mother of pearl backsplash. Its kind of a seaglass color of a green grey. I agree that barkeepers friend, or a little baking soda takes all the little grey smudges off easily. I’d buy this sink again in a heartbeat vs the expensive name brand one we had before that actually scratched and looked ugly after a few years.

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