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Choosing a Kitchen Sink That's Right for You

"Not too long ago, homeowners had two choices when it came to selecting a new kitchen sink -- cast iron or stainless."
 

Choosing a Sink That's Right for You


Website: http://www.aracontent.com/

(ARA) - Not too long ago, homeowners had two choices when it came to selecting a new kitchen sink -- cast iron or stainless. There were few choices of colors or shapes, and certainly no options for any customized sink accessories. So today's myriad of sink choices come as a refreshing change to those who want to personalize their kitchen.

The only problem now is that there are so many choices when it comes to picking out a kitchen sink -- that it may be overwhelming.

"Homeowners educate themselves and carefully choose every other aspect of a kitchen design so why skip the sink?" asks Beth Allison, Moen Incorporated Sink Product Manager. "Our surveys with sink shoppers show that most don't understand the different materials from which each sink is made, the durability of all these materials, and what the various price points mean. Educating yourself and knowing all the options will help you determine which sink style, color and material is best -- after all, it's often the centerpiece of the kitchen."

So how can you become a smart "sink" shopper and make sense out of all those sink styles that await you at your local DIY retail outlet or plumbing showroom? The following will help you get over that 'sinking' feeling:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is still the most popular kitchen sink style, claiming 57 percent of the market, according to year 2000 statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce. For those on a tight budget, stainless steel provides the lowest price point, with some models starting at $100. There are two main things to look for in choosing a stainless steel sink: 1) the thickness or gauge of the steel; and 2) the sound deadening ability (which determines how loud the noise is when something is dropped into the sink, such as a piece of silverware).

In gauges, it is important to remember that the lower the number, the thicker the steel and hence the higher quality sink. For example, an 18-gauge sink is more durable than a 23-gauge model. And, for increased sound deadening, look for spray coatings and special sound pads underneath the bowl. These items also provide condensation control on the sink.

Of course, dent resistance and general durability of a particular sink will be directly related to the gauge of steel used, but in general, stainless sinks can be prone to scratching and water spotting.

To combat potential negative aspects of stainless, choose a model with a satin texture finish. "Although the 'mirror finish' may look nice in the showroom, these sinks have a hard time holding up to the normal wear and tear of a kitchen environment," says Allison. "A satin finish sink provides additional protection from scratching."

Stainless sinks are very popular in today's modern kitchens because they provide a perfect match to commercial-styled appliances. And, many of the latest models are available in innovative shapes that allow homeowners to customize a sink configuration. Moen's Lancelot line, for example, is available in oval, round and trapezoid bowl choices. With Lancelot, consumers can actually "design their own sink" by combining component sinks for any kitchen configuration.

Overall, stainless sinks offer many benefits including resistance to chipping, cracking or peeling. They are available in both undermount and drop-in models. One word of caution though: If you want to undermount a stainless steel sink, the countertop must be a solid material and not a laminate (due to water exposure, laminates can eventually separate and bubble).

Cast Iron Sinks

If you have an older kitchen that hasn't been through a remodel, there is a good chance that you have a cast iron sink. These sinks feature an iron base coated with an enamel finish. Although the latest cast iron sinks come in an array of colors, the main disadvantage is that they can chip or scratch, exposing the black surface underneath. When this surface is exposed, it can often lead to rusting. In addition, due to cast iron's high degree of thermal conductivity, hot water does not hold its temperatures for very long.

When it comes to installation, cast iron is one of the most difficult because these sinks are heavy and bulky in nature. Also, cast iron offers a very limited amount of undermount installation options.

Some homeowners still prefer cast iron because of the authenticity it lends to older homes, its glossy finish, and its stain resistance. Prices for cast iron sinks range from $200 to $1,200.

Composite

The use of composite kitchen sinks is growing rapidly, according to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. But, because there are many types of composite sinks, there is much confusion in differentiating one from another. In general, there are three main types: polyester/acrylic, quartz composite and granite-based.

Polyester/Acrylic

Of all the types of composite sinks available, polyester/acrylic are the lowest performing in terms of scratch and stain resistance, as they are made from soft materials that can cut and nick easily.

On the positive side, polyester/acrylic based composites tend to have a "shiny" look, which appeals to many homeowners because they brighten up a kitchen. They are also popular because they come in a variety of colors. These composite sinks also have an affordable price for those who need to adhere to a strict budget.

Quartz Composite

With a combination of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler, quartz composite sinks provide a much more durable surface than do polyester/acrylic. These sinks can resist everyday cuts, scuffs and dents and can easily stand up to harsh cleaning materials or liquids that can stain other sinks.

Quartz composite sinks are available in a variety of colors. For example, MoenStone designer kitchen sinks come in a number of colors including dramatic options such as sapphire blue and a bright yellow stone. Since the color is uniform throughout, the material never loses its original color.

"Because of the durable surface, you can take a boiling pan right off the stove and set it in a MoenStone quartz composite sink without having to worry," explains Allison. "In addition, quartz composite sinks will fight thermal conductivity to keep dishwater warm longer."

At affordable prices (starting at $250), these composite sinks are available in many popular configurations such as big/medium bowls and many offer matching bar and preparatory sinks. Composite sinks can easily be mounted from either above or below the counter. The only drawback to this type of sink is that with some styles, consumers may give up some of the glossy finish that they would get from a cast iron sink.

Granite-Based

The most scratch resistant sink material on the market today is a "granite" composite. Already popular in Europe, these sinks are just making their way to the U.S. Although you might pay a premium price for these sinks, they offer extreme chemical and scratch resistance. These sinks offer the highest level of durability thanks to an extremely high density of rock particles at the sink's surface. Since granite-based sinks are only available in matte finishes, consumers who prefer a glossy look should explore other composite options.

Solid Surface

Solid surface sinks have become increasingly popular because of their ability to be one, integral unit with the countertop. This is an attractive option for those who want a clean surface with no exposed edges from countertop to sink.

There is a misconception though with solid surface sinks -- many think that solid surface materials are some of the hardest sink materials on the market, but in actuality they are softer than the quartz composite sink. The acrylic polymer composing the sink can nick, scratch and dent, but can be repaired. However, the repair process may be too difficult for a do-it-yourselfer and require a professional's visit.

Although they can be cost prohibitive for some, solid surface sinks do offer excellent resistance to heat and light exposure and are easy to maintain.

Special Accessories

Once you have decided on your perfect sink, don't forget the many optional accessories available including form-fitting cutting boards, drying racks and colander baskets. Some of the high-end models may even have a recycling chute. Most sinks also have optional knockouts for such convenient attachments as lotion or soap dispensers and a pullout spray.

Allison suggests checking manufacturer Web sites or the literature available at most home centers to get more specifics about the brand or model you are interested in purchasing. Remember -- not all sinks are created equal.

For more information about Moen's kitchen sink products, contact Moen Incorporated, 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070, call 1-800-553-6636, or visit the web site at www.moen.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITORS NOTE: For more information, contact Ginny Long, Director of Public Affairs, Moen Incorporated, (800) 321-8809, Ext. 2019 or Chris R. Lynch, Robert Falls & Co. Public Relations, (216) 696-0229.

Moen Incorporated is one of the world's largest producers of residential and commercial plumbing products. Moen is the #1 brand of faucets in North America. The company manufactures a complete line of single and two-handle faucets in a wide assortment of styles and finishes. It is also a leading producer of residential and commercial sinks, a variety of shower accessories, bathroom accessories and a complete line of plumbing parts and accessories (sold under the trade names Moen, Chicago Specialty, Cleveland Faucet Group, Creative Specialties International, Dearborn Brass, Hoov-R-Line and Wrightway Manufacturing).

Moen Incorporated is an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO, www.fortunebrands.com), the consumer products company, with headquarters in Lincolnshire, IL.


Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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