DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF SINK
To choose a sink, ﬁgure out the size of the cabinet or unit it will sit in (it must be big enough to house the bowl), the depth and width of the counter, and what you will use the sink for; if you cook most nights, you’ll need at least a sink and a half.
If you have a compact kitchen, or rarely use your sink, a single bowl will be more than adequate. Single sinks are available in various designs and come in a range of sizes and shapes.
A one-and-a-half sink allows you to perform more than one task at any time. The full-sized bowl can be used for washing dishes and the smaller half sink for rinsing them and for food preparation.
Double sinks have two bowls with the same dimensions, although sometimes the second bowl is slightly smaller. This allows you to deal with bigger jobs at the same time, such as washing dishes and soaking pans.
This type of sink, with two large bowls and a small third bowl, which can be used for food preparation or for a garbage disposal unit, gives you the most washing options. Its size means it is only really suitable for larger kitchens.
Some people have a strong preference for having the drainboard on one side of the sink rather than the other. However, it is usually more important to think about which conﬁguration will best suit your space. Go for the arrangement that seems the least disruptive in the way it affects the run of the countertop.
DECIDE ON THE MOUNTING
Some sinks are designed to be mounted beneath the counter, top and look much more streamlined than those that are surface-mounted. However, surface-mounted sinks are easier to install and are therefore usually the cheaper option.
Inset sinks are ﬁxed into place so that the rim of the sink stands slightly above the countertop. They are available in a wide range of sizes and designs, with various drainboard options, and are suitable for use with all countertop materials.
A ﬂush-mounted sink has a ﬁne lip around its edge that sits on a recessed inset cut into the countertop to give a near-seamless edge. A silicon seal holds the sink in place and makes the area around it watertight. It is not suitable for wood or laminate counters.
This sink, as its name suggests, is installed beneath the counter surface to leave the edge of the counter on show. It can only be used with solid counters such as stone or Corian®, and if you want a drainboard you will need to have some grooves cut or routed into the surface of your counter.
Made from the same piece of composite or stainless steel as your countertop, integral sinks give a sleek look that is hygienic, since there aren’t any seams. This can be expensive and you will need to have grooves cut or stamped into the surface to create a draining area.
Typically rectangular in shape, these sinks are good to work sinks that provide a classic country look as well. These sinks sit below the countertop, with the front of the sink on show.
CHOOSE THE FINISH
The choice of sink ﬁnishes available is vast. Choose a hard-wearing option that will be easy to clean; some materials show stains and scratch more readily, while others look as good after years of use as they did on day one. Check, too, if it complements the counter, which is the real showpiece.
The most popular choice, stainless steel is durable, hard-wearing, and easy to look after. Prices can vary hugely, from low to high, depending on the design and quality.
Heat-, stain-, and scratch-resistant, a porcelain sink is a robust mid-price choice, although there is a minor risk that a heavy item dropped on it could cause it to crack.
Granite sinks are made of 80–85% ground natural granite mixed with resin. Although expensive, they are hard-wearing and available in a wide range of colors.
This solid surface sink has a hard-wearing semi-matte, nonporous ﬁnish and is medium to high in price. Any scratches have to be removed professionally.
Made from resin, minerals, and acrylic, this mid-priced sink has a smooth or grainy texture. It comes in a range of colors (in hard-water areas, pale colors may stain).
Although an expensive choice for sinks, copper offers good antibacterial properties. Keep it clean with soap and water. In hard-water areas, dry it with a soft cloth after use.