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What Faucet and Sink is Right for Me?

When it comes right down to it, every kitchen needs a sink and faucet. When it comes to selecting these kitchen staples, style is secondary.

As a home owner, your primary task to select a faucet is to understand the usage for the kitchen. Select a sink and faucet that will work well and withstand years of daily use. Ask yourself how you plan to use the kitchen sink. It will make a big difference in which faucet is selected.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your faucet choices:

SINK OPTIONS

Kitchen sinks are typically made from stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, solid surfaces and composites. For clients who choose solid surface counters like granite or engineered stone, use a stainless steel sink because of its undermount capability. Also if you tend to be hard on sinks (If you are prone to throwing everything into your sink), stainless is often the best choice. When shopping for a sink, keep in mind that lower-gauge stainless steel makes for a better quality sink. Some homeowners find stainless steel sinks noisy, but that’s a problem that can be addressed by choosing a design featuring sound-absorption technology.

Once the standard in kitchen sinks, enamel-coated cast iron still has a place in today’s kitchen. Enamel-coated cast iron can be some of the prettiest of all the sinks on the market today. However, enamel can scratch and wear over time, which may not make this sink the best choice for people who are tough on sinks.

If ease of cleanup is important, a solid surface sink that’s an integral part of a countertop is the option to investigate.

With the under mount sink, you’ve still got that joint between the countertop and the underside. Solid surface sinks create a much smoother clean up area to deal with on a daily basis. While minor scratches can be buffed out of a solid surface sink, the material is prone to chip, and transferring hot pots and pans directly from the cook top to the sink can damage solid surfaces.

Composite sinks, a newer style of sink, are another option for kitchens. There are several types of composite sinks on the market, with polyester/acrylic being just one of them. Coming in at a lower price point and with many colors to choose from, this sink might appeal to homeowners on a budget. However, polyester/acrylic sinks aren’t as durable as other sink options and drop-in sinks can be more difficult to clean.

NUMBER OF SINKS

Most kitchens feature a double-bowl sink. Obviously, double bowls — especially two equal size bowls — were made for washing dishes. We really don’t wash dishes much in the kitchen with every kitchen coming complete with a dishwasher.  Homeowners still hand wash large pots, pans and baking sheets, so we do suggest that a double bowl sink should have at least one deep oversized sink bowl. If space is an issue and double bowls are a must, an oversized bowl and a small bowl combination should be adequate. If space isn’t an issue, one oversized and one standard sized bowl.

FAUCETS THAT FUNCTION

With the great number of faucets on the market, there is a design for everyone. Style is strictly a personal taste issue. We’re not sure we can dictate what you should choose design-wise. Your style will help you choose what you like most of the time, but be cautious when it comes to function and finishes. Most faucets use a cartridge, ball or ceramic disc valves. A faucet with a ceramic disk valve and solid brass base materials will be the most durable. Though many attractive faucets have two handles, most new styles feature single-lever faucets in the kitchen. We also recommend a spray arm for filling pots with water or rinsing the sink, whether it’s part of the spout or a separate piece.

Be cautious of brass finishes. Brass works well for a low-traffic kitchen, but in a high-use kitchen, you should stick to chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel or pewter. The new bronze finish is also very popular.

Before making the final decision, make a trip to the local plumbing showroom or ask for a plumber’s opinion to get a feel for how a sink and faucet will function. Ask about maintenance and repairs for certain brands to assure your purchase will last as long as possible.