Category Archives: kitchen sinks

Kitchen Remodel, Part IV: Choosing your kitchen faucet and sink

Recent complete kitchen remodel in Bellingham, showing 2 compartment kitchen sink and single handle faucet

Recent complete kitchen remodel in Bellingham, showing 2 compartment kitchen sink and single handle faucet

When remodeling your kitchen it is an excellent time to select a new sink and faucet designed to work reliably for many years, with minimum upkeep (re: as few as possible repairs)!

Not everyone uses their sink in the same way, so the first thing to consider is how will it be used in your home?

Sink Options

Kitchen sinks are typically made from stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, or solid surfaces and composites. Stainless steel sinks can be under-mounted, which works well with granite or engineered stone countertops. Stainless steel is also the best option if the homeowner is prone to dropping or throwing things in the sink. (re: kids in the home?) Recall that it is the lower gauge stainless steel that is thicker and thus stronger.

Enamel-coated cast iron sinks can be quite good looking, but are prone to scratch and wear over time, so if one is tough on sinks this may not be the best choice.

For cleanup, a solid surface sink that’s an integral part of a countertop is best. Solid surface sinks have a much smoother clean up area between the sink and the countertop.

An option for the budget-minded are the new composite sinks, polyester/acrylic being one of these. They have a lower initial cost and come in many colors, but are not as durable as other sink options.

The traditional kitchen sink has 2 compartments, either 2 bowls the same size, or one larger paired with a small compartment. Kitchen sinks also are commonly made with just one large bowl, as the reason for 2 compartments of the same size was origionally for dish washing, which is commonly done in a dishwasher now.  However if desired, this style sink can still be purchased. A large bowl can be used to wash large pots, pans and baking sheets. The number of sink compartments and sizes depend on how the homeowner will use them.


Style selection is entirely individual but you should know about the quality of finishes and the interior valves that make the faucets do their job. Most faucets use one of three types of valves; cartridge, ball or ceramic disc. Ceramic disk and solid brass base materials will be the most durable.

Faucets come as either two handle or single handle. This also is a matter of personal preference, but having a single handle style can be helpful when one hand is holding a pan!

For the high use area of a kitchen, recommended faucet finishes are chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel or pewter. Bronze finish is also popular and durable.

Other options that come along with the faucet selection are spray arm, instant hot water dispensers and garbage disposals.

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What is the best sink for the money?

Top, undermount, and farmhouse sinks all have advantages in cost and convenience. Trough sinks, however, proved impractical. Consider functionality before looks; a single tub type sink might work better than a double.

Besides friends, relatives and TV ads, where is the best place to go for finding the best products? Consumer Reports, of course.  Their sink guide gets down to the basics.

Consumer Reports’ Sink Guide points out that “sink prices have little to do with performance, and that the manufacturer isn’t as important as the material.”  They found that similar materials performed similarly across brands.

Stainless: Gauge doesn’t matter. Consumer reports tested 18-23 gauge sinks; the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. All gauges resisted dents, stains, scratches and heat and silenced noise about the same.

Enamel: Colorful and easy to clean. These come in two basic types: enamel on cast iron or lighter less expensive enamel on steel. They were the easiest to keep clean. Enamel on cast iron chipped when a sharp, light object similar to a knife was dropped on them. Damaged enamel can cause the metal underneath to rust. Acrylic sinks might look like enamel but they scratch easily.  A hot-pot test melted the surface.

Solid surface: Smooth but fragile. These can be installed with counters made of the same material for a sleek seamless look. They scratch easily, but the damage can be sanded away with abrasive products. A heavy-duty scouring pad even removed burns, however some solid surface sinks shattered during the impact tests.

Consumer Reports pointed out that most people tend to fall in love with the look of a sink first, then think about functionality. It would be best to select the material first, then look for a sink you can love.

Farmhouse style sink

Two compartment undermount Stainless Steel

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Quality sinks come in more than stainless steel and solid surface materials

Copper!  What else? has a great website showing tons of gorgeous copper sinks, all shapes and sizes.

Copper kitchen sink

Farmhouse copper kitchen sink

Gina's Home

Copper sink on stone pedestal


Is this bathroom lav cool or what?  It reminds me of a luxurious Roman bath. This model is Redondo Grueso thick single wall vessel in the Dark Smoke finish. 

Cory L's Home, Oval bath sink, dark smoke finish.

This one combines old with new, with a large oval self-rimming copper sink set into a sold surface lav top.  The copper finish mirror and faucet set off the sink.

Selecting a copper sink requires knowledge about the material and the methods of manufacture. I recommend that you go to the website listed here to fully inform yourself about these beautiful sinks and what to look for in a product. Here is a portion of the article from

“There are three primary differences determining quality of copper sinks – construction technique & quality, copper thickness and the company you are buying from.

“Construction technique is made up of several factors – how corners are constructed, welding technique and proper dimensions for ease of installation. When considering sinks with welded seams (generally larger kitchen sinks require some seams), make sure they are TIG welded using copper rod (“copper welded”). If not, the seams will eventually turn “grey” and possibly leak. We have seen copper sinks that have improper drain holes resulting in a gap between the drain escutcheon and the sink bevel. Another potential problem is if the sink is “out of square”. This can result in big problems at the time of installation. Some bending of flat rims is OK and quite common (and easy to rectify at the time of installation) but square or rectangular sinks that are uneven will generally require a replacement. The company you are buying from should offer a warranty against such defects and stand behind their product.

“The quality of the copper sink is made up of several factors – some aesthetic and some potentially harmful. Quality can vary even when considering sinks made in the same town such as many of the sinks from Mexico. Insiders refer to different quality levels as “firsts”, “seconds” and “defective”. Remember, these sinks are handmade one at a time by artisans with varying levels of skills and experience. Like any artisan crafted product, there can be varying levels of quality. At Copper Sinks Online, we offer no seconds – only first quality sinks that have passed our rigid inspection program. We recognize that this might mean a potential price difference, but we prefer to protect our reputation and ship only product we would be proud to install in our own homes.

Copper Sinks 101“Copper sinks should be made out of pure copper. Pure copper naturally posses antimicrobial properties to prevent germs and bacteria from surviving on the surface of raw, unsealed copper. At Copper Sinks Online, our sinks are made of pure reclaimed or ASTM 187 B copper laminate. A growing concern of ours is the use of copper alloy containing lead – specifically in sinks from the Middle East and China – to reduce the costs of manufacture. “Lead has similar workability properties as copper and is quite inexpensive, but it is not meant for human consumption! We can assure our customers that our genuine hand hammered copper sinks from Mexico are not made of these lead containing alloys.”

Consider copper for your next sink!



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Stainless steel sinks can be beautiful!


Blanco, a German stainless steel sink design and manufacturing company produce a line of sinks that “offers the essential simplicities of balanced proportions, clever design and the fusion of form and function. Every PERFORMA sink comes with BLANCO’s finest features including 18 gauge, 304 series stainless steel with 18/10 chrome-nickel content, for exceptional lustre and durability. A luxurious brushed satin finish offers a softer, warmer alternative to more commonplace harsher stainless steel finishes. ”

 Blanco Stainless steel sink

Their kitchen, bar and lav sinks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.


Blanco stainless steel lav
Blanco stainless steel lav

The Blanco Steelart brand “represents the absolute pinnacle of Blanco quality and design.” These are gorgeous stainless sinks.

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