Kitchen Sink Installation, Design and Buying Guide

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Design Concept

Many interior decorators and contractors will make the argument that the sink is the focal point of the kitchen. After all, the sink is where you do the majority of your household work to keep your life running smoothly and to make sure that everything remains immaculately clean.

Think about it: a kitchen could function without a dishwasher, stove, microwave, or refrigerator, but it absolutely could not function without a sink. So bottom line is that your sink is the most practical and fundamental part of your kitchen. Treat it that way, and give it the attention that it deserves. Even though your sink is only a small component, make it one of your largest priorities on your list of remodeling projects.

More Than One?

Many kitchens incorporate multiple sinks for an efficient design and modern look. You can install two sinks adjacent to one another so that you have a double sink with one faucet. This option is ideal for kitchens that require a garbage disposal. You can also install sinks and faucets in different parts of your kitchen.

Install your main sink next to your dishwasher, cooking area, and trash compactor, and install a second sink in another place such as an island. The end result will be a space with an efficient design since someone will be able to cook while someone else cleans. If everyone contributes to the cooking and cleaning, you'll be able to complete your chores more efficiently.

If you're on a budget, you can equip one sink with complete functionality such as a garbage disposal and spray hose, and you can leave your other faucet more basic for tasks like rinsing vegetables and filling up pots and pans for cooking.

Select your two sinks to match, or choose two different but complementary designs. For example, you can choose a material such as porcelain for your main sink, and for the other, you can use stainless steel. Feel free to choose a material based on your budget and practical objectives.

If you install a kitchen island, be sure to factor in the cost of plumbing with piping with your remodeling plans. You will need to be able to run tubes underneath the sink.

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals do not come standard with kitchen sinks and must be installed separately. With a garbage disposal, the process of cooking and cleaning can be exponentially more efficient since you won't be bogged down with sorting your trash. Almost everything can go down the drain in one place, hassle-free.

A garbage disposal is deal for double sinks. One drain will be for water only and the second will allow vegetables, foods, and other compostable materials (you will need to avoid putting plastic or gas in your garbage disposal, even though some garbage disposals are capable of breaking down materials that are as strong as gas).

Garbage disposals are relatively inexpensive, costing anywhere from $50 to $300. The more expensive garbage disposals tend to be stronger and less sensitive to tough material. High-quality garbage disposals can even grind bones. If a garbage disposal breaks, it is relatively easy to dislodge a jammed motor using an L-wrench. You may decide to replace your garbage disposal altogether.

Materials

Kitchen sinks are available in a variety of materials including porcelain, stainless steel, copper, cast iron, and granite. The material that you select will contribute to your kitchen's overall look and feel.

Porcelain sinks are durable in a variety of colors. You can choose a neutral shade to create an old fashioned look, or you can select colors and patterns that are brighter and modern. Porcelain sinks are relatively easy to clean and maintain.

Many modern kitchens have stainless steel sinks. These sinks are easy to clean, but they can easily become dented. If you like the metallic look, you can opt for a cast iron sink, which will last about 25 years with proper maintenance.

Stainless steel sinks cost about $150 or less. More durable sinks can cost between $500 and $700. A porcelain sink may cost up to $1,000. Most faucets will cost anywhere from $20 to $60.

Kitchen Sink Installation Tips

There are several different methods for installing a kitchen sink. The first technique involves an under mounted sink that is attached under the countertop. With an integral sink, both the countertop and sink are made from the same material, so maintenance is relatively simple and efficient. A self rimming sink has a rolled edge that is mounted over the countertop. Rimmed sinks tend to be relatively inexpensive. Tile-in sinks are used with tiled countertops so there is no visible separation between the sink and the counter.

Faucets

What good is a kitchen sink without running water? Probably not very not good at all. You want to make sure that your faucet delivers enough power to clean quickly. Otherwise, you'll be wasting time in front of the sink, when you should probably waste time elsewhere.

Consider installing a spray faucet so that you can rinse dishes, fruits, and vegetables more efficiently. Usually, the regular faucet will turn off while the spray is on. Also consider installing a water filtration system so that you have access to clean and refreshing drinking water. Water filtration systems will cost about $40, and replacement filters will cost about $20.

Last Updated: January 19, 2012

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