When you have finally decided on buying a stainless steel sink for your kitchen, you want to take a close look at some factors that will determine its usability in your environment. There are a few of them to consider: the thickness of the steel, the quality of stainless steel, the way it mounts (overmount, or undermount), the type (single or double basin), the design style, and the type of finish. Let’s take a look at these factors now one-by-one.
The thickness of the stainless steel sink is measured in gauges. The bigger the number the thinner is the sink. 18 gauge is the norm and is a good thickness. Anything over 20 gauges price-wise, could be considered a money saver but would come along with potentially annoying problems.
The first problem is noise. Thinner stainless steel sinks acoustically work like a bell when you drop something into them, however, the sound is far from being musical. The second problem is that because the steel is thinner, it is more prone to receiving dents when something heavier drops into the sink.
THE QUALITY OF STAINLESS STEEL ALLOY
The next thing to consider is the quality of stainless steel alloy. It is determined mainly by the quantity of chrome and nickel in its content. Alloys, such as Type 304, with generous 18% of chrome and 8% of nickel (also referred to as 18:8 Stainless) are considered of high quality. Cheaper and of a lesser quality compared with Type 304 are Type 301 with 6-8% of nickel content, and Type 201 with 3.5-5.5% of nickel and 16-18% of chromium content. These alloys are more susceptible to corrosion and oxidation and will require more maintenance to keep them from tarnishing and looking dull. You might also come across a sink made out of Type 316 stainless steel. This alloy is formulated to withstand even more severe conditions and is suitable for highly acidic environments found in various marine and commercial applications.
OVERMOUNT OR UNDERMOUNT
A kitchen sink can be designed as overmount or undermount. Generally, overmount sinks (also called top-mount or drop-in sinks) are installed from above. They are inserted into a hole cut into the counter material and rest supported by their rim while fastened to the counter with special clips from underneath. These sinks are suitable for all types of countertops and are easy to install.
The undermount sinks, on the other hand, are attached to the bottom of the counter underneath a nicely cut out for that purpose hole with clear silicone and special clips. The edge of the hole is polished to a nice finish. These type of sinks look modern and are very practical when it comes to sweeping countertop crumbs and water into the sink with a sponge.
SINGLE OR DOUBLE BASIN/BOWL
Kitchen sink can be made as single or double basin/bowl sink. Single basin sinks, such as farmhouse (or apron front), are large and deep and have enough room for washing big items. Regular single bowl sinks are designed to use less space, are smaller, and comparatively more shallow. Double basin sinks offer less room for washing large items, but they provide the convenience of using two sections, one for washing, the other for rinsing. Some people even like using one section for washing and the other for drying.
The design style of the stainless steel sink is yet another factor to be considered along with its aesthetic and functional factors. There are corner sinks, designed to utilize the corner area of your kitchen, farmhouse (or apron front) sinks, with their stainless steel apron fronts protruding slightly forward, drainboard sinks, with integrated counter-level drainboards on one side, and many others.
TYPE OF FINISH
And the last thing on our list to consider is the type of finish. Stainless steel sinks come with variety of finishes that range from brushed to polished and sometimes hammered finishes. All you have to remember is that polished finishes require higher-maintenance because scratches, water spots, and fingerprints are harder to get rid off. So, whether you choose mirror, hammered mirror, polished satin, brushed satin, ragged satin, or any other finish, you should find the sink that will suit your particular needs and lifestyle and will fit nicely into your design.