Choosing the right kitchen sinks for your home...

Kitchen sinks are usually made of metal, enameled cast iron or stainless steel, solid surface or corian, fire clay, ceramic, slate and soapstone, composites and faux marble. You can also find undermount kitchen sinks and models made of granite, cast iron and copper.

The kitchen is probably the busiest room in your home and your sink is one of the busiest spots in your home. For this reason, consider buying a large unit to accommodate utensils, pots and pans that need to be washed and/or rinsed.

If your kitchen is large and you have two cooks in the family, a second sink will improve your room's efficiency.

A standard sized one is generally 6 inches to 8 inches deep but you can find larger and deeper ones.

Most people prefer the 10 to 12 inches deep ones because they can easily handle larger cooking pots and a lot more dishes waiting to be washed or placed in the dishwasher.

Deeper models are sometimes desirable because they hold more dishes and they keep water from splashing out.

If you have family members that are tall, they may have difficulty using a deeper one because they will have to bend over more. People using a wheelchair will prefer a shallower sink and a lower counter top.

Standard kitchen sinks can be single, double or triple bowl and they exist in these types:

1- Drop-in sink- this type of model extends over the countertop and rests on the counter - these units are generally less expensive.
2- Undermount sink- this type must fit under the countertop. These types are more expensive and more difficult to install, but they are very easy to clean.
3- Integral sink- when your sink and countertop are made from the same material like stone, faux stone or a solid surface.
4- Tile-in sink- in this case the countertop has been done with tile and the sink rim flushes with the tiled surface. Grout has to be used to seal the sink to the countertop area around.
5- Self rimming or flush mounted sink- when the sink has a rolled edge that is mounted over the countertop.
6- Rimmed sink- when the sink has a flat metal strip to seal it to the countertop.

Most designers recommend that if you have room, have two separate sinks in your kitchen. One should be for cleanup and the other should be for washing vegetables and doing the main work when cooking.

Types of kitchen sinks

Metal sinks - these are very popular because they can be cleaned easily, they are durable, function-able, easy to install and not very expensive.

Quality stainless steel sinks are a good choice because they don't stain, corrode or chip, but they will show scratches over time.

Metal sinks are made of 18% chromium and 10% nickel and they come in many shapes and sizes. These kitchen sinks are generally available as self-rimming, flush and under-mount.

Ceramic sinks - are very similar to enameled cast iron sinks as far as appearance, but they are not as durable. Hand-painted ceramic sinks are beautiful, but they can be fragile in a very busy kitchen. If you do not use your kitchen often, this type of hand-painted ceramic sink could be a very stylish show piece.

Enameled cast iron and steel sinks - if you are looking for kitchen sinks with brighter colors that are also durable, these are probably the way to go.

These kitchen sinks do not chip as much as the older models, but you still need to avoid dropping heavy items onto them. When selecting enameled steel sinks, choose darker colors because they will not stain as much.

Solid surface or Corian sinks - these sinks are made of mineral compounds and polyester or resin mixtures. These types of sinks are easy to clean, they do not stain or chip, and you can remove scratches from them.

When using this type of sink, you should not place any hot pans directly in the sink. Just run cold water over the pan before you place it in the sink. It is not a problem if you pour boiling water into this type of sink.

Composite or faux marble sinks - these kitchen sinks are made from acrylic resins and quartz compounds. These sinks are heat resistant, they don't stain, they look like a solid surface sink, but they can get scratched easily.

Stone sinks (slate and soapstone) - these type of sinks require a sealer, are heat resistant, they are usually fabricated with an integral back splash and they can be expensive. Avoid placing hot pans directly in this type of sink.

How many bowls do I want in my kitchen sink?

You can buy kitchen sinks with one bowl only, two bowl models and three bowls in several shapes and sizes. You can select bowls that are round, square and rectangular.

Most kitchens should have a two or three-bowl sink or perhaps two separate sinks, unless your kitchen is very small and you do not have much countertop space.

Don't forget to locate the primary sink near a window. At least you will have a nice view while working.

If you have two separate sinks in the kitchen, use one for food preparation near the stove or cooktop and the other to place dirty dishes near the dishwasher.

Doing dishes is perhaps the least popular task in the kitchen - to have multiple dishwashers, portable countertop dishwashers or dishwasher drawers may help you with this problem.

If you like to use the dishwasher, you still need plenty of sink space to place your dirty pots and dishes and perhaps rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher. In small kitchens where the layout is tight, one big basin can be better because it will take up less counter space.

By using the internet, you can find some small organizers available online that will keep your counter space better organized and free of clutter.

Here's a great book about creating wonderful kitchens...

Great Kitchens - Design Ideas from America's Top Chefs by Ellen Whitaker, Ellen Whitaker, Wendy A. Jordan.

Read more about what are the best stoves, refrigerators, other appliances and countertops for your home.

Inside you'll see a remarkable range of styles, each expressed in the cabinets, fixtures, appliances, counters, storage and finishes of these beautiful kitchens.

This volume illustrates the kitchens of top restaurant chefs, ranging from city homes to rambling farmhouses and majestic seaside mansions.

The kitchens included are designed to double as classroom spaces, enough room for students to gather and learn from the masters.

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