Available in a variety of colors and materials, there’s a kitchen sink to fit every lifestyle and decor. We’ve put together some tips for finding the perfect style, size, and configuration to match the best sink for your space.
Find the Best Sink Size First!
Checking the size of the sink is necessary for more than just finding out if the sink will fit. Keep in mind both the size of the countertop and the primary use for the sink. If you do a lot of cooking and need the space to wash larger pots and pans, a bigger sink with deeper basins will be helpful and may be worth the effort of an upgrade. However, a large sink in a small countertop space can result in problems both during installation and in general, from keeping a clean kitchen sink to maintenance.
Start with the size of the sink currently installed. It may help to remove the sink before taking measurements. Measure the size of the sink for both the width and length, from edge to edge, and the depth of the basin. Take note of the location of the plumbing under the sink, specifically the sink drain placement.
Another necessary measurement is the countertop depth, which is measured from the back edge to the front of the countertop. The sink width should fit securely and centered within the cabinet, including space for the overhang of the sink lip. Be aware of these details, because different sink styles take up extra area on the countertop, more than just the basin size.
For instance, most drop-in kitchen sinks have a ½-to-1 inch lip, so a backsplash built onto the back edge of a laminate countertop can interfere with the lip overhang of a drop-in kitchen sink. A farmhouse kitchen sink requires a customized cabinet to accommodate the apron front panel, which will also change the sink’s placement along the countertop. It’s important to make sure there is space for the sink and a few inches extra.
Additional tips on how to choose the right sink size include:
- Position the sink closer to the front edge of the counter for comfort and access.
- Basin depth and drain location can influence the amount of space available under the sink for things like garbage disposals, water systems, and waste bins.
- Make sure you have enough counter space on either side of the sink for food preparation, especially in a corner location.
When considering how to replace a sink, the new sink will need to fit into the existing cabinetry and match the plumbing placement. If you choose a different drain placement with the new sink, the plumbing will need adjusted to accommodate it and that may require the help of a plumber. It’s always possible to choose a sink with different dimensions than the cabinet or countertop currently allow for, just plan ahead to adjust the counter cabinet and plumbing as needed.
PLEASE NOTE: For laminate, formica, and wood countertops it is recommended to install a drop-in/top-mount sink because these materials, when cut, leave behind an unfinished porous area for water to damage if not sealed properly. Though it is still possible to install undermount and apron style sinks with these materials, it’s not recommended and may incur additional changes or modifications to ensure it will remain an everlasting top if you so decide to use these style sinks with these countertops in mind.
Choose the Right Sink Installation Type:
The first consideration when looking for a new sink should be the look or style, which is easier to think of in terms of the installation type. It narrows the field of choices and makes the process less overwhelming.
Top-Mount / Drop-In Sinks
Drop-in / Top-Mount (or above-counter / self-rimming sinks) are set into a hole cut into the countertop and are the easiest to install. Drop-in sinks sit on top of the counter cabinet and have a raised, rounded edge to help keep water and debris inside the sink. When replacing a sink without getting new countertops, a drop-in sink is usually the 1st and easiest option to install as well.
Farmhouse / Apron Sinks
Also known as apron-front sinks, the deep, wide, basins of the farmhouse sink are perfect for washing large pots and pans. The front of the sink replaces the front edge of the countertop cabinetry, creating a decorative panel out of the sink design itself. Adding a touch of chic country charm, farmhouse sinks are available in a variety of sizes and materials. Some models are available in stainless steel for a more contemporary look. The sinks offer an easier access to the basin from the front because you wont have the standard 3-4″ countertop before the basin. You can install this style sink flush with the cabinetry edge or have it hanging over the front which is most widely used as the preferred method to install a farmhouse sink.
Flush Mount Drop-in Sink
These are drop-in / top-mount sinks that are installed slightly inset, into the counter, to be level with the countertop surface. Rather than a rounded lip, they have a straight edge and flat top to allow it to be installed flush against the counter edge. These are a common style for kitchenette sinks as well because they blend into the countertop design. This sink installation type is the least used due to its complexity and no room for error when doing installing. If done correctly, you get the best of both worlds by having a sink that shows its rim while not being raised onto the countertop. It’s a perfect way to show flare and focus of your kitchen sink while still being neatly presented.
Integrated sinks are shaped into the countertop, creating a continuous look to the design of the kitchen. The sink is molded from the same material as the solid countertop, creating a divot or pocket for the sink, and disappears into the style of the rest of the counter. This is a very nice installation type but typically means it may be extremely hard to replace later if desired or needed. And integrated sinks are usually fabricated with Corian material as opposed to granite, quartz, marble, etc which hold higher resale values and are easier to replace if needed.