Kitchen Plumbing Fixtures
There is a wide variety of kitchen sink design options and materials. Kitchen sinks can have 1 bowl, 2 bowls, or 3 bowls. They also can have drain boards built-in. Sinks can be round, square, deep, or shallow. Sinks can be mounted to the countertop in a number of ways.
A self-rimming sink sits on top of the countertop with the bowl in a hole cut in the surface of the countertop. A bead of caulk is used to seal the sink to the countertop.
An under-mounted sink is attached under the countertop. These sinks can be found with solid surface countertops. Under-mounting a sink to a laminate top requires the installer to ensure the underside of the laminate is sealed against water.
A sink that is flush-mounted is recessed into the countertop substrate so that it is even with the counter material.
A rimmed sink sits just above the countertop with the joint between the countertop and sink concealed with a metal rim.
Stainless steel and solid surface countertop materials lend themselves to the use of integral sinks. In this case, the sink and the countertop are all made out of one piece or are constructed to appear that way
You will find sinks constructed from a variety of materials including enameled steel, cast iron, stainless steel, and solid surface material. Enameled steel is normally the least expensive and chips easily. This sink is normally installed with a stainless steel rim that clamps from under the countertop.
Cast iron sinks tend to be heavier than steel sinks and have a harder coat of enamel than do steel sinks.
Stainless steel sinks are rated by the gage of steel and the nickel content of the steel. The higher the nickel content the better the sink will be at resisting water spots. The heavier the gage of steel the better the sink will resist denting. The least expensive stainless steel sinks use 22-gage stainless steel. These sinks dent easily and, when used with a garbage disposal, tend to transmit excessive noise. The most expensive stainless steel sinks use 18-gage steel and have an undercoating to deaden sound.
Solid surface sinks are built as part of the countertop. The use of this product reduces the maintenance requirements of the sink and enables the sinks to withstand very heavy use.
NKBA provides the following planning tips concerning kitchen sinks.
Small Sinks: Avoid small, 12” x 12” sinks. They have a drain that does not accept a food waste disposer and are so small that there will be a water-splash problem when the cook uses the sink for food preparation.
- Round Shapes: If you are going to specify two round sinks as the primary sink arrangement, make sure your client understands that the interior space of these sinks is less than a comparable square model. Also, realize that these sinks require deck-mounted faucet locations; therefore, you must specify the faucet locations on your plan.
- Under-mounted Sinks: If you use separate under-mounted sinks in place of a sink manufactured in a double configuration, warn your client that if water is running and the faucet is swung from one sink to the other, water will splash on the countertop. Consider routing down the countertop section that separates the two sinks, or recessing the entire configuration into the counter surface 1⁄4” or so in order to eliminate the potential for water to run across the countertop and down to the floor as the spout is moved from sink to sink while water is running.
- Food Waste Disposer Compartment: Some sink configurations are a single size (24” X 21”) but have a small, round compartment for food waste disposal in one back corner. Because the compartment for the food waste disposer is almost too small to use, this is not the most desirable sink configuration.
- Strainer: If you’re not ordering a food waste disposer to be mounted on the sink, make sure you order a good quality strainer.
- Bowl Arrangement: Unless your client is going to wash and rinse dishes in a double sink configuration, demonstrate how a sink with one large compartment and one small compartment functions. This configuration gives you the largest sink for everyday use, and then a smaller, yet usable, compartment for other uses.
- Drain Boards: A sink with an attached drain board is an excellent accessory to specify for a client who does a lot of fresh food preparation.
- Recycle Center: Some sinks on the market have an opening within the sink which allows access to a chute for a compost container or a waste receptacle below.
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