Kitchen Sink Buying Guide | MH&B

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Kitchen Sink

Before you shop for a new kitchen sink, learn the basin sizes, sink styles and construction materials that will influence your decision.

Types of Kitchen Sinks:

  • Farmhouse / Apron – This sink features a deep bowl that requires special base cabinets or cabinet modifications to accommodate a broad front section. This means the front face of the cabinet will be significantly shorter than other cabinets to make space for the deep apron front.
  • Drop-In – A popular type of sink that drops into place from above the countertop and secures with clips and screws underneath. Drop-in sinks have a lip that rests on the countertop for support and stability.
  • Undermount – A sink that is raised in place from underneath the countertop. Unlike a drop-in sink, there is no lip that rests on the countertop — this can make kitchen cleanup easier, as crumbs can be swept straight into the sink. Undermount sinks are typically used with solid surface countertops.
  • Undermount/drop-in – This versatile piece can be mounted in either undermount or drop-in fashion.
  • Corner sinks – Specially designed units that sit in the corner of your countertop to create more flexible counterspaces.
  • Bar – A small sink plumbed with running water located in the drink preparation area of the home.
  • Prep – A second sink that sits apart from the main kitchen sink. The prep sink allows cooks to wash and prepare multiple foods at once.
  • Integral – A sink that is built into the countertop, usually made of the same material, for a seamless, one-piece look.

Sink Materials

Consider the ways you use your sink and what it needs to withstand to work with your home. Will the material you choose require special attention? Is it easy to clean? Will it resist scratches from scouring pads or abrasive cleaners?

  • Stainless-steel: The most popular material for kitchen sinks is available in a variety of finishes and gauges. Steel gauge relates to its thickness. The higher the gauge, the thinner the steel. Regardless of gauge, stainless-steel sinks are comparatively lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Sound-deadening coatings and pads are available to reduce the noise produced by sink use. Stainless-steel sinks are available in both drop-in and undermount options.
  • Copper: This durable metal sink won’t succumb to rust or tarnish. Because of its natural properties, a patina will develop over time for a one-of-a-kind finish. And because copper is naturally antimicrobial, this sink resists bacteria and viruses. 
  • Granite: This sink is created by spraying a granite and acrylic blend over a resin base. The result is a sink that’s scratch, stain and heat resistant to 537 degrees F. The protective barrier fights bacteria. Granite sinks are available as drop-in and undermount.
  • Cast Iron: Made of solid cast iron, these heavy sinks are coated in porcelain enamel to create a finish that’s virtually indestructible. Cast iron sinks offer long-term durability, sound-deadening qualities, many colour options and heat resistant up to 1000 degrees F. They’re easy to clean and come in drop-in and undermount configurations.
  • Fireclay: This durable option is fired at a high heat to create a sink that resists chips and scratches. Fireclay sinks won’t fade or discolour and come in a variety of colours. The non-porous surface provides bacteria resistance.
  • Composite: Composite sinks are formed of mixed materials, usually quartz/granite particles that are combined with acrylic or polyester resins to form a hard surface. Composites are stain, scratch and chip resistant, have sound-deadening properties, dual-mount options and a few colour choices.
  • Porcelain: This sink features lightweight steel coated in porcelain enamel for a smooth surface that is stain and scratch resistant. Porcelain sinks are easy to install with dual-mount options, heat resistant to 1000 degrees F and an insulated backing to reduce noise. 
  • Acrylic: An acrylic sink is made by moulding acrylic material into the shape of a sink. The sink is then reinforced with a composite or fibreglass backing for support and sound dampening. These sinks are stain and impact resistant, are easy to clean and easy to install with top, undermount and dual-mount options. Acrylic sinks offer many colour choices. If an acrylic sink scratches, the scratch may be polished out depending on its depth.

Key Configurations

Number of Bowls

  • Single-bowl sinks are ideal for small spaces, spacious cleaning and soaking pots and pans.
  • Double/triple sinks feature a divider along the midsection to create distinct work areas. This sink offers separate workspaces for soaking, cleaning and/or rinsing in configurations that are 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30.


Size / Depth of Bowls

  • The sink depth you can accommodate is dictated by the depth of the sink base cabinet. Deeper bowls are great for soaking pans, but they use more under-cabinet space. Before installing an ultra-deep sink, consider how much room you’ll need for plumbing and disposers housed beneath the sink and choose accordingly.
  • Some sinks have multiple basins with different depths. When selecting this type of sink, consider the depth of the deepest basin and how your base cabinet will accommodate plumbing.


Compatibility with Accessories

  • Check the number of holes in the sink to determine the type of accessories it can handle.
  • Faucets/sprayers/dispensers come with 1 – 4 hole specifications that must coordinate with the number of holes in the sink. A 1-hole faucet may work with a 3-hole sink using a deck plate, but a 3-hole faucet will not work with a 1-hole sink.

Other Considerations

Disposers – Clearance and space is a consideration for disposer installation. If you’re updating your sink, it might be a good time to update your disposer as well. The depth of your sink bowl and the height of your base cabinet will determine whether or not disposer installation is a good choice.

Hot water dispensers – A heating unit installed underneath the cabinet attaches to a spout to provide water up to 190 degrees for instant soups, sauces and hot drinks.

Drain position – Most drains are located in the centre, but some drains are located toward the back or rear corner of the sink for the more usable surface area.