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