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Of all the items in your kitchen, you probably use your sink the most.
Sinks are necessary for cooking, cleaning, soaking, thawing, and anything else you might be doing in your kitchen. Even if you’re not much of a chef, chances are you’re using it daily to wash dishes, and even more often to wash your hands.
It’s clear that sinks get a lot of use, but they don’t always get a lot of love.
These underappreciated workhorses are the center of every good kitchen, so why are they always an afterthought? Most people tend to focus on renovating or updating their cabinets and countertops. These items stand out a lot more, so they often draw all of the focus in your kitchen.
They also tend to be the most subject to trends. What’s popular in coutnertops and cabinet finishes changes from year to year, if not from season to season. As soon as a new color or material shows up, everyone wants to jump on the trend.
While sinks are smaller and less noticeable, they’re no less worthy of consideration.
The right sink can really change your kitchen. It can provide a much needed pop of color or texture. It can make your space look more modern, or traditional, or industrial.
It can also make the functional aspects of your kitchen run smoother. With an updated sink, you get a lot more options to make washing easier.
There are so many possibilities that you’ll probably have trouble narrowing down your choices to just one.
If you’re guilty of overlooking your sink, don’t worry. This guide has absolutely everything you need to know about features, maintenance, installation, and trends. It can help you find the sink that’s right for your needs, and your kitchen.
To learn more about whats possible with your sink, check out the information below.
Why You Should Replace Your Sink
In most cases, people don’t replace their sinks unless they’re doing a full renovation. Sinks are heavy, expensive, and not always easy to install as a DIY project. While it’s not the most inconvenient thing to replace in your kitchen, it’s definitely not something you can do on a whim.
But there are actually a lot of benefits to replacing your sink.
One practical reason to replace your sink is cases in which your sink has sustained damage. Most sinks are fairly durable, however damage can sometimes occur do to accidents or lack of proper care.
Another reason to replace your sink is to update your design. Sinks aren’t usually replaced, since it can seem like an unnecessary cost. This means that your home may have a sink that’s fairly old.
While an old sink is still perfectly functional, it may not be the best choice for you.
In recent years, the market for sinks has really opened up. There are so many more options for styles, colors, and finishes. Newer sinks also come with more options for faucets and drains.
Plus, you can consider donating your old sink when your done. That way you get an update, and you’re also providing a cheap sink option for someone else doing renovations.
Another reason to update is to trade up for something that’s more functional. A lot of new sink options are made with culinary work in mind. Options like workstation sinks are designed for heavy kitchen work. They’re ideal for someone who likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Kitchen Sink Installation
When it comes to sink installation, there are three main types of sinks. Which one you choose really depends on what your kitchen and renovation budget will allow. You’ll also have to consider whether you want to do it yourself, or pay for installation.
One popular option is to get an undermount sink. This type of sink sits just under the rim of the countertop, hence the name. You have to install it from below the counter, so they can sometimes be difficult DIY projects. Most farmhouse sinks are this type of sink.
Top mount sinks are the exactly opposite. They sit over the top of the counter, so you just have to set them in place from above. That’s why these are also known as drop in sinks, or self rimming sinks. Of all the sink types, these are the easiest to install on your own.
The other popular type of sink is a wall mount. With these, you attach the back of the sink to the wall. These sinks are more common in bathrooms, but you can purchase large ones for your kitchen as well. As with under mount sinks, you can install these yourself, but it’s better to hire a professional.
For more information on sink installation, you can check out our beginner’s installation information guide.
Kitchen Sink Features
There are a lot of practical features that you’ll need to consider when purchasing a sink. Depth, materials, and size are just some of those features. When deciding on your ideal sink, consider all of these features first.
There are several different materials you can use for your kitchen sink. The deciding factors tend to come down to look and price, although durability is also an issue.
For a metal sink, stainless steel and copper are popular choices. Both are the perfect way to add an industrial, modern feel to your kitchen. Copper and other colorful metals can also add a bright pop of color.
The main issue with metal is that it can warp if you expose it to extreme temperature. However, it’s an otherwise durable, and cheap material.
Cast iron is another popular option. This material is one of the most durable options available, however it can get pricey. It also happens to be super heavy, so installation can be a pain.
If you’re more a fan of stoneware, some great options would be porcelain, ceramic, Fireclay, or composite. All of these options are durable and come in a variety of finishes.
Plus, composite comes in a variety of options. You can get quartz, granite, or even concrete composites, just to name a few.
If you’re on a budget, go with composite or ceramic instead of porcelain. They’re both cheaper and have a lot of the same benefits. Ceramic also has the benefit of being super heat resistant.
For something really unique, you can also think outside the box. Bamboo, for instance, is a great alternative to traditional materials. This material both looks good, and is environmentally friendly!
There are two basic sink types, those made to be visible, and those that are unfinished.
In the case of top mount sinks, most of them are made not to be visible. The only part of the sink that you see is the basin and the edge that sits over the counter. However, you can get apron front top mount sinks. In this case, the front of the sink sits over the counters so that it’s visible.
Other sinks that show their front tend to be undermount. This includes the typical, square farmhouse style sinks. The sinks have finished sides all the way around, so they can be visible from any angle. Some options are even reversible.
In bathroom design, these sinks tends to sit on top of the vanity, so you can see each side.
Of course, you can also get undermount sinks that are hidden below the countertops. The point is to decide which style you prefer, and go from there.
There are two main types of basins that you can get with sinks: single bowl or double bowl.
Single bowl sinks are the most common for farmhouse designs. These consist of one large basin, with a single drain that leads to the garbage disposal.
Double bowl sinks, also known as double basin sinks, have two separate divisions in the sink bowl. Typically they are even in size, with one going to the garbage disposal, and the other going to a typical drain.
Sinks come in a variety of sizes, and not just in terms of width. The depth of your sink is also an important factor to consider. It can determine how easy it is to do your dishes.
For the most part, the size of your sink will be determined by whatever sink you already own. If you want a bigger or smaller sink, that means replacing or cutting into your countertops, and maybe even your cabinets.
Depth is a little easier to change. You will need to move your plumbing to account for a deeper or shallower sink, however, it’s a simpler process than cutting countertops.
Deep basin sinks are the most trendy option, owning to the fact that farmhouse sinks usually have deep basins. Since these options were originally designed for their utility, it’s important for them to have plenty of space.
With deep sinks, you can easily wash or soak large items. They make it much easier to maneuver any dishes, pots, or pans that you have. You can also pile up a large amount of dishes when needed.
With shallow sinks, it’s much harder to handle materials, but they do come with their own advantages.
Shallow sinks limit the distance you have to move items, so they’re better for people without strong grips. They also put less strain on your arms overall, since you’re not reaching down into the sink as far to wash things.
Luckily, there are shallow basin farmhouse sinks for anyone who prefers that style. Typically, these options come as apron front sinks, so look for that style first. These allow you to get the farmhouse style, without all the heavy lifting required for a deep basin.
Sinks typically have one or two drains. The difference isn’t really important, and mostly comes down to preference.
In the case of a single drain sink, you’ll have your drain and a garbage disposal in one. That means all the water and food waste ends up in the same place
Sinks with two drains give you some different options. These also tend to be double basin sinks, with one basin for each type of drain.
One drain will have the garbage disposal, and the other will be a regular drain. You don’t really need the extra drain, however it is nice to have options. It’s also helpful in case your garbage disposal breaks down.
Workstation sinks are also becoming popular These sinks can be single or double bowl. The main difference is that they have an extra space for food prep.
In some cases, the food prep area is just an extra addition that sits over the countertop. (Hence, why these options are usually top mount sinks.) In this case, the food prep station is just a flat surface that empties into the sink.
This allows you to wash or slice whatever you need, and then dump waste directly into the garbage disposal. Although it’s not totally necessary, it does make things more convenient.
Other workstation type sinks have more complex systems. They come with cutting boards, drying racks, and strainers that you can use over the sink basin. These additions sit like selves inside the sink, so you can slide them in and out as needed.
Although slightly more complicated to use, these options are ideal for people who do a lot in the kitchen. They provide a much easier way to prep food, and eliminate the need for a lot of additional tools.
Kitchen Sink Styles
Sink style main concerns any part of the sink that will be visible. That means the focus is on the basin, or basins, as well as the front.
For basins, the main issue is color. Since sinks tend to be large, whatever color or finish you choose needs to be one that complements your design.
When it comes to a sink that will be visible from the front, there are a lot of options available. Although having a smooth finish is the most popular, there are plenty of more unique, texture options.
Here is a basic overview of some of the different styles you can choose from:
A hammered finish is a great way to add some texture to your sink. The hammering technique creates little dent and divots in metal sinks. Together, these divots form a textured pattern across the surface.
It’s a unique look that can add interest to any bathroom or kitchen. It’s also a perfect way to dress up a plain copper or stainless steel option.
If you have a sink with a visible front, there are a few options you have for styles.
The most popular option is to get a plain front. These are flat, and are either polished or matte, and then come in a variety of colors.
For a difference in texture, you can go with a fluted option instead. These have raised stripes running either horizontally or vertically, of different lengths.
Either option is fine, although the fluted ones tend to look more rustic. They’re a better choice if you’re going with more of a country theme.
If you’ve ever looked at sinks in a store, you might have thought that sink colors are pretty basic.
With metal sinks, you’re going to end up with whatever color the metal is. In this case, steel grey and copper are your two main options. Apart from that, sinks tend to be either black or white, with white being the most popular.
However, those are far from being your only options.
For a real pop of color, you can get blue, brown, or even red sinks. You don’t feel like you’re limited. There are plenty of other great choices that will fit any design.
You can even customize your color if you want. With options like cast iron, that need to be coated or painted, there are a lot of color possibilities.
If you’re replacing your sink, consider adding in some color to your design.
Where to Buy Kitchen Sinks
You can buy sinks at just about any home improvement store.
Where you purchase your sink really depends on what experience you prefer. If you want to see your sink in person and get some advice, you’ll need to go to a store. Home Depot and Lowes are good choices for this.
You can also check out local contractor and home renovation business. These businesses tend to specialize in fixtures, so they’ll have more unique and interesting options. They’re also more likely to have a lot of specific knowledge about how to install sinks.
For online shopping, Lowes and Home Depot are still good options. You can also take the opportunity to buy directly from your favorite brands. Brands like Moen, Kholer, and Kraus all have websites where you can purchase their products.
Buying directly from brands is useful, because you can get both the sink and the faucet in one place. Most brands offer both sinks and any other accessories on their website. that means you don’t have to worry about finding a set with a matching design and size.
Here is an overview of some common sink retailers:
- Home Depot
Of course, there are many more brands and options for purchasing a sink. If you’re not certain where to shop, start by narrowing down the features you’re looking for. That can help you find a brand or store that can match you to your ideal sink.
Budget Kitchen Sinks
It can be hard to find a quality sink at a cheap price. You can certainly sacrifice quality by going with cheaper materials, but that’s not always ideal.
If you’re looking for a good deal on a sink, you’ll need to shop around a bit first. Start with brands that specialize bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
Because these brands specialize in these materials, they’re more likely to run sales. Kohler, for example, sometimes offers discounts on their products.
You can also check big box stores. These places save you money through benefits like free shipping or in-store pickup. They’re also more likely to offer perks like free installation.
Another good way to save money is to purchase a used or vintage sink. Places like Habitat for Humanity will sell the occasional used sink along with other renovation materials. The only downside is that the sinks are usually stainless steel. If you’re looking for a different material, you may have to try elsewhere.
Vintage sinks are an equally viable option. Certain sink bases, like cast iron and porcelain, are long lasting. If you come across one that looks a little worse for wear, chances are you can save it. As long as there’s no structural damage, all they need for an update is a fresh application of coating.
Most cast iron sinks are either painted or coated in porcelain enamel. The whole process can be done periodically, without having to purchase a new sink. You can even paint the sink yourself, to save the coast of getting it refinished.
How to Care for Your Sink
No matter what type of sink you purchase, if you don’t care for it properly, it will get damaged.
Damage is usually caused by using harsh cleaners, dropping something heavy or sharp, or using abrasive scrubbers. The most common types of damage are cracking, staining, and chipping. These issues typically occur in porcelain sinks, or sinks that are coated in porcelain enamel or similar materials.
Metal sinks tend not to chip or crack, but they can warp. Warping happens when you subject a sink to extreme temperatures. Placing something too hot or too cold into the sink can cause it to warp. This is especially true if you do both extremes back to back.
Luckily, most damage is easy to avoid with caution.
When washing pots and pans, you can avoid dropping them by taking some precautionary steps. When washing heavy pots, place them in the sink before you start scrubbing. This prevents them from slipping out of your hands while you hold them over the sink basin.
If you’re draining hot liquids from a pot, drain a little bit at a time. Start by placing the pot at the edge of the sink, and tipping it to get ¼ to ½ of the liquid out. This will make the pot much lighter and easier to handle. From there, you can hold it over the sink and dump the rest.
For sharp objects, take similar precautions. Lay them flat in the sink, and try to scrub them as close to the bottom of the basin as possible. With these objects, dropping them from large heights is what leads to chips and scratches. By keeping them low, you can limit any damage that might occur.
How to Clean a Kitchen Sink
How to clean your sink really depends on the material. Different materials can handle different types of cleaning. However, overall, it’s good practice to stick to gentle cleaning.
You can also check out the video for some helpful tips:
Regardless of how strong your sink material is, you need to make sure to clean your sink carefully. That means no harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
Bleach, for example, is very harsh. It’s designed to disinfect, and get rid of serious stains. That’s why it’s not really necessary for most cleaning. It’s also usually diluted heavily before use.
For sinks, using some hot water and a grease cutting soap should be more than enough for most issues. You can also use green cleaners, or anything that says it’s safe for surfaces like wood and granite.
If you have hard water residue, using a mixture of vinegar and water is effective. Spray the mixture over the residue and let it sit. When the residue loosens, wipe it away.
When scrubbing your sink, you want to use a similar level of care. This means you should avoid scrubbers like steel wool, copper mesh, and scouring pads.
A standard dish sponge should work for most issues. You can also let it soak with gentle cleaners before you scrub.
For tough residue, you can scrub it away gently with a paste of baking soda and water. Here’s how to use this to clean:
- Put baking soda into a cup or bowl. (How much you need depends on how large of an area you’re cleaning. Two table spoons is enough for small areas, while anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup will work for larger areas. )
- Pour in enough water for form a loose paste. A good ratio is about 1 to 2 parts water, for every 3 parts baking soda. More water will make the mix less harsh when scrubbing, but it will also make it difficult to use.
- Put a small layer of paste over the stain or area that you want to clean.
- Using a sponge or gentle scrubber, gently buff the area with the paste. Keep your pressure light and let the baking soda do all the work.
- Continue to scrub, adding more paste as needed. If the stain still isn’t lifting, you can use a toothbrush instead of a sponge.
This method works on just about any sink material. It also works for stains or stubborn dirt on plenty of other surfaces. Plus, it’s chemical free! That means it’s safe to use even on areas where you’ll be eating.
Overall, sinks don’t typically need that much cleaning. Most of the work that occurs in a sink will clean away easily. And for other issues, chances are there’s a gentle, chemical free cleaning method that you can use.
Farmhouse Kitchen Sinks
In recent years, farmhouse sinks have become the standard for modern, trendy kitchens.
But what’s the difference between farmhouse sinks and every other type of sink?
Farmhouse sinks have a few distinct features, namely their apron fronts and depth. However, as with any type of sink, there’s a variety of options available.
For more information on farmhouse sinks, check out our FAQ below.
What is farmhouse style?
Farmhouse style recently rose to fame as the signature style of famous designer, Joanna Gaines. However, farmhouse and similar styles have been around for a while.
The style as a whole has a lot of country and primitive touches. It’s also common to include classic bits of Americana, like gingham patterns or barn stars. In addition to that, there’s a heavy emphasis on greenery and other natural elements. Wood and natural fiber fabrics are both hallmarks of this style.
However, there are also a lot of modern and industrial influences. Metal, antique or otherwise, is a common addition, hence the industrial flair. The style also favors simple color schemes, clean lines, and plenty of natural light, just like most modern designs. In fact, it can even border on minimalist in some cases.
This blending of the modern with the traditional is what sets the style apart. With farmhouse designs, it’s not uncommon to see antiques paired with a stark, black and white color scheme. This sort of contrast is part of what makes the style so popular and adaptable.
What is a farmhouse sink?
Farmhouse sinks are must for any true farmhouse kitchen.
The current interpretation of a farmhouse sink isn’t actually that far off the mark. Like the traditional sinks they’re modeled, they tend to be deep, with a single basin.
Usually, the front of the sink is visible, either by having an open front or an apron. They’re also most commonly made out of white porcelain or similar materials.
Of course, there are plenty of variations to this style. In current trends, having a farmhouse style sink made out of metal, or done in a unique color, isn’t unusual. You can also have double basin sink, or one that has a smaller apron on the front.
They’re so ubiquitous that having a portion of the sink visible from the front is enough to gain farmhouse distinction. Though going for the more classic, white, open front is always a good option.
Why are farmhouse sinks popular?
Part of the reason farmhouse sinks are popular are just their aesthetics. They tend to have clean lines that are perfect for a number of styles, not just Farmhouse.
They fit modern minimal design just as easily as rustic or country. And a metal farmhouse sink is the perfect accent for any industrial look.
Of course, it’s also important for a sink to be functional as well. Farmhouse sinks have a number of benefits, the main one being the fact that they’re so spacious.
The deep basins they tend to have are perfect for rinsing and soaking. It also makes it easier to reach into and clean large pots.
Really, it’s just a matter of preference. There are a lot of reasons to buy a farmhouse sink, but there are plenty of things to consider before you purchase one as well.
Can you use a farmhouse sink in your bathroom?
Of course, farmhouse sinks don’t have to be for the kitchen alone. It’s entirely possible to have a farmhouse sink in your bathroom. The key is really what type of vanity you have.
If you have a proper vanity with cabinets, you’ll likely have to do a bit of a redesign. Farmhouse sinks are open on the front, which isn’t a typically style for bathroom sinks. As such, you’ll be taking away the top portion of the cabinet doors.
For an easier option, you can get one with a shallower basin, that just sits on top of the counter. It won’t have quite the same effect, but the overall visual will be similar.
If you don’t have a vanity, you can go with a wall mounted farmhouse sink. These options are little more rustic, but still very much on-trend.
Overall, there are plenty of options for adding a farmhouse sink to your bathroom.
Which farmhouse sink material is best?
When choosing the best materials for kitchen sinks, there are a few different options.
Higher-end sinks, like porcelain and cast iron, will cost you a lot. However, they are super durable, and come in a variety of colors and styles.
For a cheaper yet similar option, go with ceramic or composite. Composite especially is an excellent choice. It’s popular for both its aesthetic value and its price.
The cheapest option you can get is metal. The downside to metal is that it’s not as durable as some of the higher end materials, and it doesn’t come with a lot of color options.
However, metal still has a lot of benefits. You can get it in just about any shape or style, it’s lightweight, and it’s easy to maintain.
The best one for your kitchen really depends on your style as well as your budget. For more detailed information, check out our guide and farmhouse sink material comparison.
How do you install a farmhouse sink?
If you’re replacing your current farmhouse sink for a new one, installation is simple. You just have to make sure your measurements are right, and then switch out the sinks.
If you don’t already have a farmhouse sink, installing one can be a bit of a process.
Most farmhouse sinks are undermount. This means you come in from beneath the countertops to install the sink. Sometimes this type of sink also requires additional supports that will need to be added beneath.
From the front, you’ll have to make further adjustments. If you want the face of the sink to be visible, you’ll likely have to cut the countertops and cabinetry.
Obviously, there’s a lot of things to consider when installing a farmhouse sink. Your best option is to have a profession come and install it for you. Most sink retailers offer some type of installation service for an extra fee.
However, doing one on your own is also possible. Just make sure that you do your research beforehand. You can also check out our guide to give you some more background information.
How deep are farmhouse kitchen sinks?
Farmhouse sinks are known for their deep basins. Of the sink types, these are typically the deepest. They tend to average between 8″ and 10″, although there are tons of options.
Of course, deeper sinks have their own benefits. They’re a more functional option than shallower sinks.
However, if your personal preference leans towards shallower sinks, you still have options. With apron front sinks especially, you can get a shallow sink that is still visible from the front.
In some cases, the apron even hangs down below the depth of the basin. That way you can get the appearance of a full farmhouse sink, without the depth.
How much do farmhouse sinks cost?
As with any other product, the price of your sink has a lot to do with the quality.
To get a full porcelain farmhouse sink, expect to pay a lot. Porcelain is already one of the most expensive sink materials, and it doesn’t help that farmhouse sinks are usually large.
Of course, porcelain is expensive for a reason. It’s a super durable material that can last decades when cared for. It’s also comes in a variety of colors.
For a more budget friendly option, you can get composite sinks, or similar stone-like options. These have the same look and feel of porcelain, but cost a fraction of the price.
However, your cheapest option will be metal. Stainless steel and copper don’t come in a a variety of colors, but they’re much cheaper. They also tend to weigh less, which can make installation easier. Plus, you’ll still get that farmhouse feel with the square shape and open front.
The downside with the cheaper options is that they tend to be less durable. Although each sink material has its own benefits, so don’t be afraid to be budget friendly.
The Best Kitchen Sinks
Choosing the right sink for your can be difficult since the options are seemingly endless. With a variety of colors, styles, and features, you can get almost any type of sink.
It helps to take a look at your current sink before buying a new one. To limit installation costs, it helps to get a sink that matches the basic features of your current one.
You’ll need to identify how your current sink is mounted, it’s size, and how many drains it has. These are the main features that require renovation if they don’t match up. It also makes a difference if you plan on having the front of the sink visible or not.
From there, you can get into selecting materials and styles. There are a surprising amount of materials and colors to choose from, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
If you’re switching from a typical sink to a farmhouse sink, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to do a lot of renovation.
In many cases, you have to cut out the front of the counters to show the apron front. You also might need to create reinforcements below the sink to support it’s weight.
Regardless of what you decide, getting a new sink is always a good choice for updating your kitchen.
There are plenty of reasons to update your sink. Style is probably the main reason. Sinks tend to get replaced less often than other kitchen fixtures, so it’s easy to fall behind on sink trends. Purchasing a new one can provide a much needed finishing touch to any design.
Of course, sinks can also just wear out. Almost all sink materials are fairly durable, but accidents to happen. Sinks can scratch, chip, and stain. they can also suffer if you’re not caring for them properly.
The only downside to replacing your sink is the price tag. Sinks are expensive, and they only get more expensive the more features you add on.
However, there are still budget options for sink. As previously mentioned, it helps to get one that’s as similar as possible to your old sink, so that you won’t have high installation costs.
You can also go with cheaper materials, or even get a used sink. The options are only limited to whatever your preferences are.
While it can be overwhelming to be confronted with so many possibility, take heart. A good sink isn’t hard to find. And with the right materials and good maintenance, a good sink can last a lifetime.