Discovering which is the best kitchen sink for you based on budget, aesthetic, and ease-of-maintenance can depend on a number of things. You put hours into designing your dream kitchen, but did you allot enough time for choosing the right kitchen sink materials? It’s easy to be mesmerized by the beauty of today’s many options, but do you know enough about the various materials to make a lasting, regret-free choice for your home?
Choosing based on aesthetics alone may cause you to fall out of love with your kitchen renovation if functionality isn’t included in your decision process. Your sink is a central point in the space, used daily, and needs to work with the way you live.
It’s useful to review the must-know characteristics of today’s common kitchen sink materials.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Found in most kitchens, stainless steel sinks offer many distinct advantages; they are durable, budget-friendly, and heat resistant. This could mean more money in your budget for those tiles you’ve had your eye on and less concern about treating your sink with kid gloves.
However, a disadvantage is that the “new and shiny” stage is fleeting since stainless steel is also prone to scratches. This seems to be less of a concern for serious cooks who have invested in high-end knives; they’d prefer the scratches be on the sink rather than their expensive tools.
Watermarks are a frustration for many. Even if the mineral content of your water source is not high, each spot will show up which requires diligent wiping to maintain a sparkly finish.
Another common complaint is that this kitchen sink material is noisy. Perhaps noise-level wasn’t on your radar when perusing the pretty showroom kitchens but a few months of listening to family members drop spoons into the sink might change your mind.
Of course, given the popularity of this material over the decades, solutions to these problems have been developed. You could opt for a brushed finish so that the little scratches won’t stand out as much. There are heavier gauge steel options that will be more resistant to both scratches and noise. Noise can also be minimized with the use of special sprays or even sound-absorbing pads underneath. According to Consumer Reports, this option tested particularly well.
Composite Kitchen Sinks
Composite is a mix of stone and resin which, like stainless steel, gives this kitchen sink material high marks for durability. (Durability can be challenged if dropped during shipping, but everyday use does not present an issue to this material’s longevity.)
If the idea of constant spot cleaning deters you, then composite could be a good choice. The darker tone of the stone better conceals watermarks and scratches, thus making these sinks particularly easy to care for. However, when it comes to a caveat for homes with particularly hard water, it’s better to choose an all-white material to avoid water marks.
Popular composites of granite kitchen sinks or quartz show up under well-known brand names like Cambria, Silestone, or Caesarstone.
Solid Surface Kitchen Sinks
This man-made material is available under many brand names, the most well-known of which is “Corian.” It is the easiest of all to keep clean and free of watermarks. While it is simple to maintain, one does need to be aware that these sinks can be scratched if subjected to sharp objects and can be damaged if exposed to high heat. It’s worth considering how much punishment your sink may take before making a final decision on a solid surface sink.
Enamel/Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Increasingly popular due to the growing farmhouse kitchen trend, these sinks score higher on aesthetics but lower on ease of maintenance and durability.
The enamel may be bonded to cast iron or to stainless steel. Stainless steel is the more budget option of the two varieties. While both options are prone to chips, the stainless steel enamel is particularly vulnerable if a weighty or sharp object is dropped.
It will also be important to assess the strength of your kitchen cabinets as the cast iron options are considerably heavy.
Natural Stone Sinks
Arguably one of the most beautiful kitchen sink materials is a natural stone such as slate, quartz, or granite. Of course, good taste comes with a price tag. These options come at a premium.
Natural stone also comes with a risk of staining. Granite, in particular, can darken in the water-contact areas and quartz is prone to scratches. Similar to enamel sinks, these materials are also very heavy and you’ll need to assess whether your cabinets can bear the weight.
Choosing The Best Kitchen Sink Design For You
Ideally, this guide has helped you narrow your decision to one or two options. One of the best ways to check the suitability of any material is to give it a trial run. Purchase a small piece of your desired product and then put it through the paces of daily life with your family. This way you can see for yourself how it may or may not wear in your home.
If you’re still feeling the tug of indecision, our team of expert kitchen designers is available to you. Based on their years of training and experience they will be well-poised to help you achieve the best possible result for your renovation project.