Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kitchen Sinks: Installation Type & Features

There are basic and typical sink mounting techniques.

Top Mount:  This is the most traditional and simple approach.  There is a hole in the counter that fits the sink and the sink drops into the hole.  It is also called self-rimming as the sink has a rim that sits on the counter and supports the sink.  The rim needs to be caulked periodically around the edge.  The main disadvantage of a drop-in sink is the barrier between the sink and counter formed by the rim.  This often makes clean-up difficult and over time this edge may become unclean and unsightly.

Undermount:  Undermount sinks are fitted under the countertop and are much more functional from a cleaning standpoint.  As the sink hangs from the underside of the counter {or in the case of a heavier kitchen sink may have a designed cabinet mounting system} items can be brushed from the counter directly into the sink without any catch points.  Undermount sinks are typically used with stone or solid surface counters. 

Flush Mount:  This is the combination of the sink and counter using solid surface materials like corian. silestone, or concrete. Here, the counter and sink are fused together in a seamless design.  Installation is simple; the sink is already mounted and attached to the counter so when the counter is installed so is the sink.  A tile-in sink is also a flush mount with a grout line between the sink and tile but the two different surfaces flush.  Because of the issues with grout and maintenance tile counters are not a popular choice.

There are also many optional special accessories available with a new kitchen sink.  These include form-fitting cutting boards, drying racks, and colander baskets.  Many sinks have space for optional attachments such as lotion or soap dispensers, a pullout spray, or an instant hot water spout.

The summary message is that kitchen sinks are not all created equal.  They offer a wide range of options and features worth spending some time to become familiar with.  This will give you a better chance of finding a sink you will be satisfied with, will fit the look of your kitchen, and will make your kitchen more efficient.

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