Refreshing your kitchen? What you need to know about the kitchen sink

(HIB) – If the kitchen is the heart of your home, it would be easy to make the case that the sink is the heart of your kitchen. It’s where you prepare foods, clean dirty hands and scrub dishes before the next culinary project. It’s also one of the best features to update when planning a kitchen remodel, thanks to new technology and designs aimed at improving how well kitchen sinks perform.

When it comes to style, traditional is the most popular design choice for families. The contemporary style, however, is increasing in popularity and comes in at a close second, according to studies of posts on Houzz and pins on Pinterest. But when it comes to picking a new kitchen sink, there’s much more to think about than just the design style. You must consider top- and under-mount sinks, single bowl, double bowl and materials as well. Here is some background information regarding what’s available, as well as the pros and cons for each:

* Top-mount – This type of sink is the easiest to install and replace, especially if you don’t intend to replace the countertops. It does create a ridge where the sink material meets the counter, however, and this is a place where water and dirt often collect, making cleaning more challenging.

* Undermount – For cleaning purposes, under-mount sinks are great because you can simply wipe your cloth right over the counter and into the sink. But if you need to replace an under-mount sink, it might also require you to take out the countertops.

* Single bowl – When it comes to washing large dishes, the single-bowl sink is a good choice. It’s also handy if you need to dump large pots of hot water, because you have a larger area to hit. You might end up using more water with the single-bowl sink, though, especially when washing dishes. It simply takes more water to get it deep enough in the single bowl.

* Double bowl – One sink for washing, one for drying. One sink for holding dirty dishes and another for rinsing vegetables. There are myriad reasons why homeowners love having a double bowl. One drawback is that the sink is smaller, and that makes it easier to splash water outside of the sink area.

* Drain type – When it comes to the features of the sink you traditionally think about, the drain is probably not top of mind. There are several drain styles available, however, that can make your use of the sink easier. For example, sinks with rear-centered drains provide the maximum amount of functional and usable sink space, says Jonathan Chong, a market researcher for Elkay. Or consider the new Perfect Drain, which is available only with stainless steel sinks by Elkay. Perfect Drain provides you with a seamless and clean drain system, making your sink much more hygienic and easy-to-clean, as well as sleek and stylish. The drain is integrated into the sink body, leaving no ridges that allow build-up in the sink area, so water flows uninterrupted right down the drain without getting trapped.

* Stainless steel – As the most popular choice because of its functionality, durability and coloring, stainless steel has a timeless element to it. It can scratch, though, and it might have a louder noise value. It also shows water spots more easily.

* Cast iron – A throw-back to the original sinks, cast iron sinks with an enamel finish are still quite popular today. The finish is very strong, but tiny chips and pinholes that can evolve over time can cause the iron sink to rust. Cast iron sinks also tend to cost more.

* Granite or quartz composite – These sinks feature a combination of rock with resin, and they create a beautiful and colorful look in any kitchen. The composite materials are very durable and require little maintenance. They do tend to cost more money, and the coloring of your sink could limit your options when decorating the rest of the room.

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