Selecting a Kitchen Sink: 4 Things to Consider

When potential homeowners look at homes, they often look first at the kitchen and the bathrooms. Kitchen remodels often get the highest return on investment of any home project you can do. For this reason, many sellers will do at least minor renovations. They routinely get upwards of 85%, with the national average being 87%. This means you'll get 87% of what you spend added to the overall home value, and it obviously makes your home sell quicker, often making up for that 13%.

Or maybe you're not selling and are simply wanting a new look for your kitchen. Your sink will often be the focal point of the room, and what you end up using the most. Since you will be using it multiple times per day, you want to make sure you are getting the right sink for you and your family based on what you hope and need to get out of it. Here are four things to consider to make that decision just a little easier.

1. Use. The number one thing you need to ask yourself when considering a new sink for your kitchen is how you plan to use it. Are you an amateur chef? Are you a busy business professional making mostly frozen meals? Are you a stay-at-home mom with three messy kids? Do you have some extra money saved up or are you on more of a budget and need a quick fix? The answers to these questions will likely determine most of the following decisions you need to make regarding your new sink.

2. Material. This decision is the initial and foundational choice you will need to make. There are generally four options that people go with for material.

Stainless Steel - This is far and away the most popular choice for kitchen sinks. If you get a lot of use from your sink, stainless is the most durable and highest quality option. If you have kids who might be hard on the sink, this will be the best fit for your family. It is also a classy and elegant look that many homeowners choose when going for the modern feel.

Solid Surface - This is the second most common option for sink material. Solid surface means there is no lip between the counter and sink - it is all one. Corian is the most popular for this style, but there are multiple options. This makes clean up a breeze, as you can just wipe things right into the sink. They are very low maintenance compared to other materials, so this might be most handy for the busy professional types. It also, obviously, creates a seamless look in your kitchen.

Composites - There are several composite sinks coming up on the market. There are many colors available and are at a relatively cheap price point, so this is likely to be a popular choice in years to come. Beware, however, as the quality matches the pricing. This would be for those on a budget and looking for a quick fix.

Cast Iron - These were the most popular choice many years ago, but have largely faded from newer homes. Some people will say this is the prettiest looking option, but the material wares and fades over time. Heavy sink users should probably stay away from this option, and may be more ornamental in nature.

3. Gauge. This one will only apply to those who decide to go with stainless steel for your material. Gauge simply means the thickness of your steel sink. Most people consider many other things before thinking about gauge, but this should be high on your list. The lower the number, the thicker (and higher quality) your sink is. They range from 14 (very high quality) to 24 (low quality). Most chain home remodel stores (Home Depot, Lowes) offer stainless sinks in the 20s. Higher-end manufacturers will offer a sink gauge in the teens.

4. Bowls/Basins. The vast majority of sinks have two basins. This makes it especially easy for washing dishes, as you have one basin for cleaning and the other for an easy drying rack. These days, however, we are seeing a great variety spring up in bowls. You can get a single basin sink, which you will usually see for power cooks. These large sinks make cooking and cleaning large dishes a bit easier. Drying dishes is harder, but you can get drying racks that sit on your counters. You can also get a triple bowl. This will have two larger basins on the outside, and a smaller shallow basin in the middle that is usually used for washing fruits and vegetables. Another popular option is a single basin with a small secondary shallow basin. There are endless combinations of these to suit any of your needs and desires.

You may think you can just go into a store, pick a fancy looking sink that is on sale, get it into your kitchen and live happy ever after. If only it were that easy. The options are many, and the choices are often critical to the happiness of you and your family. Hopefully, you are now well-informed enough to make a good decision for the needs of your home.

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