You’ve spent weeks agonizing over the perfect granite, you’re ready to have it fabricated to fit your cabinets and installed in your kitchen, but there’s still one tiny detail–what type of sink are you going to choose? Choosing one can seem like a pretty big task, but it’s really not that difficult. Here’s a list of options including a few I bet you have never even heard of.
Undermount sinks are the most popular choice for use with granite. The unique way that they are installed means that crumbs and water on your countertops can be wiped straight into the basin with minimum effort.
It’s important that it’s installed correctly. Because it hangs beneath the kitchen work surface, it needs to be able to support the weight of a sinkful of dishes. You do need to make sure that when it’s installed it is sealed properly as well. You also need to watch out for condensation buildup between the rim and the underside of the counter, which could cause mold to grow.We recommend leaving installation to the professionals.
These can cost between $250-$800 dollars and come in a variety of sizes to meet your family’s needs. They are an attractive option that doesn’t distract from the beauty of your stone, but rather complements them.
Overmount sinks hang on the edge of your countertop, their weight supported by the counter itself. Most traditional options are overmounts, so you’ve probably seen lots of these before. They’re sometimes referred to as ‘drop-in’ sinks because you drop them into the hole in order to install them.
The biggest issue that most homeowners have with overmounts is the lip that hangs over the granite. Crumbs and moisture can be trapped around the edges, causing it to look unsightly and become somewhat unsanitary.
These are less expensive than an undermount and they are easier to install. Likewise, if you need to replace it later on, the removal won’t damage your countertops.
Both overmount and undermount come in a variety of materials. One of the most popular is stainless and there are some really compelling reasons for that. Not only does it look great with granite, it also holds up well against cracks and chips. The surface can scratch fairly easily, but a satin finish can be very forgiving.
The thicker the steel, the higher the quality, so look for something with a higher gauge. You can also opt for an insulated one, which will reduce the noise of water hitting the bottom of the basin. Look for stainless steel sinks with rounded corners for easier cleaning since food and dirt can get trapped in the tight corners of angular ones.
If you need basin that can take a lot of abuse, composites are what you’re looking for. These are sturdy, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and chip-resistant. You can take a pan straight from the oven to the sink without worry–they can resist temperatures as high a plus-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Granite composite sinks can also be installed as undermounts so they look great with just about any natural stone. Despite their name, they won’t blend into the pattern on your countertops (they’re man-made, after all), but they are attractive and extremely practical for people who are worried about how they will stand up to heavy use.
Composites generally are less expensive than high end, heavy-gauge stainless steel ones, but these are the most expensive of the composite choices.
Also called quartz composite sinks. They are made using a mix of ground stone (quartz) and a binding agent to glue them all together. Like quartz composite countertops, these can be great for busy kitchens since they are scratch and cut resistant. They are comprised of quartz and resin–similar to quartz counters–and can be almost any color you need them to be since the color depends on the pigment added during manufacturing.
In general, quartz composites aren’t quite as durable as granite. They can’t withstand as much heat, are more expensive, and usually easier to scratch or chip. They are available in under and overmount styles.
If looks are a higher priority than durability, consider choosing a porcelain sink. It may sound strange to think of something as fragile as porcelain being durable at all, but in this case, it’s only the exterior layer that’s enameled with porcelain. The core is typically made of cast iron and they can last up to 25 years or more if they’re cared for properly.
Porcelain has its drawbacks, including the fact that it scratches and chips fairly easily. You can have it refinished, but if your washbasin takes a lot of abuse, you probably want to choose another material. It also stains fairly easily, so if you choose porcelain, you need to make sure you rinse it out often.
Porcelain is often undermounted with granite countertops. Cost can vary, meaning that some are very reasonably priced (cheaper than composite in some cases), but larger ones can cost several hundred dollars.
If your kitchen generally sees a lot of use, this probably isn’t the best type of sink for you.
Why Not To Shop At Home Depot
If you’ve just spent a few thousand dollars on your kitchen worktops, you may be tempted to head to Home Depot or one of the other big chain stores to see what they have in stock. This can save you money, but it’s not always the best option.
First of all, you will not get the same level of expertise at Home Depot that you will get at a plumbing supply store. A ‘general knowledge’ of plumbing isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll get the best sink for your countertops.
Second, your kitchen can’t just be fitted with any vessel; you need to make sure that the one you choose will fit properly and that they will fit the cabinets that you’re using. If it’s not fitted properly (especially with undermounts), it could damage your countertops, which could be costly to repair.
If you want anything other than stainless, shop at a plumbing supply store. They’ll be able to help you find the right size sink and a suitable strainer to fit in the bottom while keeping the size of your cabinets in mind.
When It Makes Sense To Buy At Home Depot
Of course, there are times when you can choose to shop at the big chain stores. If you’re shopping for stainless steel, Home Depot (or even an online retailer) could get you a bargain on a fantastic one. Just make sure you’re looking for a high enough gauge of steel to guarantee that it will be sturdy. For just about anything else, check with a plumbing supply store or even the fabricator that is making your counter.
Take the time to find the perfect sink to pair with your new granite countertops, and you’ll be happier with your new kitchen for years to come. Just make sure you choose a sink to meet your lifestyle and have it professionally installed to reduce the likelihood of problems arising later on.
Updated: October 14, 2016