How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

You’ve heard the old adage, “everything but the kitchen sink.” But if you’re planning a kitchen remodel or new build, you should actually focus on the kitchen sink. While it might not be as big an investment as your appliances or take up as much visual space as the cabinetry, the sink will significantly impact both the utility and appearance of your kitchen.

Sink Materials

There are quite a few different materials you can choose from when it comes to installing a new sink.

Stainless Steel

One of the most common materials for kitchen sinks is stainless steel. This nonporous material is naturally stain- and mold-resistant, making cleanup easy. You have different finish options, such as satin, mirror or brushed.

Solid Surfacing

Solid surfacing is another common sink material. These sinks are made from a polyester or acrylic base. They resemble natural stone in appearance.


Composite sinks are similar to solid surfacing in that they include a polyester or acrylic base. However, the manufacturers mix in ground quartz, granite, or other stone. The result is a speckled pattern. These sinks are resistant to stains and scratches, but they can be expensive.


Clay sinks, which can be either vitreous china or fireclay, were once just a staple of the bathroom vanity. These sinks consist of a clay foundation with a fired glaze that produces a glass-like shine. The surface is nonporous and durable. Vitreous china is similar to fireclay, but it’s less porous.

Cast Iron

Cast iron sinks aren’t as common because they’re heavy, making them difficult to install. Manufacturers fire enamel onto the iron form. The enamel comes in a wide range of colors. As with your cookware, cast iron produces a durable sink.

Installation Techniques

There are three different ways to install a kitchen sink.

  1. Self-rimming

The most common installation method is self-rimming. With this method, contractors drop the basin into the hole. The rim of the sink sits on the counter. It’s the easiest installation method, but the rim can trap debris.

If you opt for a tiled countertop, you can utilize the self-rimming method and have contractors tile right up to the edge. This eliminates the raised rim that traps debris.

  1. Undermount

A more complicated installation process is the undermount sink. With this method, contractors still drop the basin into the hole, but there’s no rim resting on the surface. Instead, the edge of the sink drops under the counter surface. This makes counter cleanup easier.

  1. Integral

Integral sinks are a little more common in the bathroom than in the kitchen. Integral sinks are a single construction consisting of both the countertop and the bowl. Solid surfacing is the most common material, but it’s possible to get them in stainless steel or natural stone.

Other Options

Once you’ve selected a material and installation method, you still have some choices to make. First is style. Kitchen sinks typically come with one or two basins. If you have enough space, the two-basin construction is handy. It’s even possible to install a three-basin sink, which features two large basins connected to a shallow bowl.

Another option is choosing an apron-front or farmhouse sink, which has an exposed front and a deeper bowl. As the name suggests, a farmhouse sink complements rustic or vintage styles. You can choose an apron-front sink in any material, though cast iron and fireclay are the most common.

You also have a couple other options for increasing your interior basin space. One is having the faucet set off-center. This works well if you’re choosing an integral pullout spray head. Another option is having the drains positioned in the rear. As a bonus, a rear-positioned drain also allows for more under-counter storage.

The sink is an important part of your food preparation and cleanup processes. The material, installation and style you choose also impact the appearance of your sink area. Don’t hesitate to reach out us.  The Callier & Thompson team of experts are here to offer advice on which sink may work best for your kitchen.