Why are there so many different types of kitchen sinks?!? How to figure out what you need

There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing your kitchen sink: size, depth, material, colour, shape, installation method. Sifting through all the different options can be a daunting task - especially on top of all the other decisions to make during a kitchen renovation. I’m going to give you an overview of the main differences between the plethora of sinks available to help you through your kitchen project!

Sink Size & Depth:

Undermounted granite composite sink, with low divider

Undermounted granite composite sink, with low divider

The size of your sink will partially be dictated by the size of the cabinet it is going into - no matter how hard you try you can’t fit a 36” sink into a 30” cabinet! The first decision you should make about your sink is how many bowls you prefer. In the past there was only single bowl or double bowl sinks… but that has changed! You can now get “super” singles (the size of a double bowl, without the divider), offset double bowls (two different sized bowls), or low-divide bowls (may be the best of both worlds!). This decision really depends on how you use your sink. If you tend to fill your sink with water than the super single may not be the best choice because it will take FOREVER to fill up. The standard double bowl sink lets two people work at the sink at a time, or to let dishes dry in one bowl while washing in the other. The low-divide bowl is a great middle ground because you can have a couple inches of water on one side, but not the other. You can also still fit in large pots and pans without the sink divider getting in the way.

Sinks range from about 7” deep to 10” deep. Keep in mind that if the sink is undermounted (more about this later) the thickness of the countertop will be added to the depth (so a 7” deep sink undermounted on a 1” thick counter will mean essentially a 8” deep sink). Deeper sinks can be easier to fit large pots and pans for washing, but also mean you have to lean over further to reach the bottom possibly straining your back over time. Deeper sinks also make it easier to hide some dirty dishes in your sink when you have unexpected guests show up!

Material & Colour:

There are three main materials used to make kitchen sinks - stainless steel, granite composite, and ceramic. There are also other more custom options such as granite or wood, but they are very custom options.

Custom granite sink

Custom granite sink

Stainless steel is probably the most common option for kitchen sinks since it is less expensive than some other materials and very versatile. The biggest drawback to stainless steel sinks is their tendency to scratch and show wear-and-tear, however many people solve this by using metal grids in the bottom of their sink to keep it from scratching.

Granite composite is a wonderful, durable material that is available in many different colours (each company offers their own line of colours). These sinks are considerably more expensive than stainless steel sinks, however many homeowners think that it is worth it since they are so durable and don’t scratch like stainless steel.

Ceramic apron sink 

Ceramic apron sink 

Ceramic sinks can be very beautiful depending on the style of kitchen you want. They are a more traditional look usually, but the crisp white of the ceramic is very clean and fresh - and can be a great alternative to a “standard” stainless steel sink. They are priced similarly to granite composite sinks, so they are definitely an upgrade from a contractor's standard sink choices. The biggest drawback to ceramic sinks is that they can damage fairly easily. Dropping a heavy pan into the bottom of the sink may be enough to chip the enamel coating. Sink grids work at helping deter this, the same way they work for stainless steel sinks.

Install Method:

So now that I have completely overwhelmed you with choices… there is another big decision to make! Sinks can be installed in three main ways: undermount, drop-in, or apron. Each method has it’s positives and negatives, and creates a very distinct look.

Undermounted sinks are mounted to the bottom of your countertop to create a very seamless look. This is only possible with solid-surface countertops such as granite, quartz, or marble. Countertops such as laminate cannot support an undermounted sink. Undermount sinks are very versatile in style, and are appropriate in almost any style of kitchen. They are one of the most commonly installed sinks in today’s market because they look cleaner than a drop-in sink, and are much less expensive than an apron sink. In order for the sink to be cut perfectly into your countertop, you should have the sink ready when your counter company comes to measure your space. Most of the time they will take the sink with them so that they can make sure that they cut and polish a perfect sink opening for you.

Updated drop-in style sink

Updated drop-in style sink

Drop-in sinks are sometimes thought of as an outdated style, or an inexpensive option. While it’s true that they are less expensive than other alternatives (most of the time), there are definitely options out there that are stunning and definitely in style! These sinks are installed exactly how it sounds - they are dropped into a cut hole in the countertop. One drawback to drop-in sinks is the cleanability factor - since the sink sits on top of the counter gunk can build up around that edge and be hard to scrub.

Apron sinks are also referred to as farmhouse or farm style sinks. They are absolutely gorgeous albeit not the right look for everyone’s kitchen. They are typically a more traditional look, but recently there are more options for stainless steel apron sinks that definitely have a place in transitional style kitchens. These sinks are easiest to install in new cabinetry since the sink cabinet needs to be made specially to accommodate the apron front. The cabinet doors are shorter than a standard sink cabinet, which makes it almost impossible to modify an existing cabinet. These sinks also need to be installed before your countertop is measured up, so that the counter company can make sure everything fits perfectly.

 

Long story short, there are a tonne of different sinks available! Take the time to think about how you work in your kitchen and it will help you narrow down what you are looking for. Designers are (literally) pros in helping you decipher what you want for your home - most people know what they don’t want but have no idea what they want, that’s where I come in!


Reach out to LMNT Design here to find out how we can help you with your kitchen project!