Questions About Stainless Sinks and More in Stuart, FL
European Kitchen and Bath’s knowledgeable team has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about everything from stainless sinks to cleaning recommendations. Please contact us with additional inquiries.
A: A sink grid is an easy way to preserve your stainless-steel sink or any other sink you may be installing. The grid protects the bottom of your sink and usually has rubber or coated feet to eliminate the possibility of a large pot or pan rubbing, gouging, or scratching the sink. These are not available on all sinks but most reputable manufacturers offer this accessory on their popular configurations. Check with your sink representative or retail supplier to see if a grid and/or additional accessories are available (e.g. colanders, cutting boards, and special drains).
Q: What are the pros and cons of a stainless-steel kitchen sink versus a composite sink (colored sink made out of quartz, silgranit, or porcelain)?
- Stainless steel: It doesn’t matter if it’s a $100 sink or a $1,200 sink—stainless steel will scratch. However, the quality of the stainless steel does make some difference. Look for sinks that are 304 series, surgical grade, and 18/10 (first number is chromium content providing hardness and the second number is the nickel content which prevents rusting). A satin polished finish is your best bet. The good news is a sink with these compositions will last a very long time and take on a look of their own due to the finish. A good finish indicates a higher quality of manufacturing and goes with everything in your kitchen.
- Composite sink: Made of quartzite or silgranit, these sinks are generally scratch and stain resistant, heat resistant (usually to 500 degrees Fahrenheit), nonporous (so they won’t stain), and will usually be less expensive than higher-quality stainless sinks. Porcelain and cast iron are heavy and will scratch and rust over a period of time but are still popular products.
A: Cleaning products like Ajax or Comet are abrasive and will scratch the surface of your stainless-steel sink. Products available today on the grocery shelf or at most kitchen and bath remodelers are easier on the variety of sink finishes on the market. Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami, and Soft Scrub are simple off-the-shelf products that can be used to get stains out, along with keeping the product in tip-top shape for years to come.
Q: We are replacing our existing kitchen countertop but reusing our existing cabinets. Is there anything we should be aware of regarding the new undermount sink we select?
A: This is a good question. When selecting a new undermount sink, regardless of type (stainless steel, composite, farmhouse) the key thing you should verify is the inside dimension wall-to-wall (left to right) of the existing cabinet. This dictates what size sink you can mount in the cabinet. Unlike a drop-in or top-mount sink that has the widest dimension visible on top of the counter (typically 33 inches), the undermount’s widest point is under the counter and must fit in the cabinet base. The flat edges or rim of the undermount must allow for the over length of the sink, plus an additional inch or two for the mounting clips used to secure the sink to the underside of the countertop’s solid surface.
Additional tip: If you are installing new cabinets, we recommend you find the sink of your dreams prior to the layout and selection of your cabinet. So if it is an oversized sink larger than 32 to 33 inches wide your cabinet supplier can incorporate the additional length to accommodate the larger sink. Good luck and enjoy your new kitchen sink!
Undermount sinks, stainless prices, and more
A: Yes and No.
You can replace your sink with the same manufacturer and model number of the existing sink. Most customers want a new sink style when they replace them. However, even though many sinks appear the same size and shape, they never are. The radius of the corners and subtle differences make each sink unique.
We have at least one customer a week wanting to buy a new sink to match the existing sink hole their granite countertop. Many sink outlines that appear straight or simply rectangular actually have a slight curve to them.
This is an excellent reason for taking the time necessary and consulting with a professional when purchasing your new kitchen sink. When replacing countertops, any sink can be installed. Make sure you choose a quality brand-name manufactured sink designed to complement your kitchen workflow. The sink is the main work station in the kitchen and care should be taken in its selection.
A: The manufacturing processes of various stainless-steel sinks are different. Less expensive sinks are stamped from a single piece of stainless steel and then finished with a machine (limited hand labor). In other, higher-quality sinks, each bowl is made individually and welded to the top plate, beveled at 45 degrees (the weld), and hand polished. These sinks are easier to keep clean, are quieter, and have a beautiful luster when compared with the stamped sinks. Also, stamped sinks need to be manufactured at a much higher temperature than the hand-processed sinks. Even though the gauge of the sink may be the same (18-gauge), the density of the hand-processed sinks is higher because of the lower manufacturing temperatures.
Q: Does a thicker gauge steel make a stainless-steel sink better?
A: Not necessarily. The real measure of a stainless-steel sink is the quality or the stainless steel itself—not the thickness. Stainless steel is an alloy metal which includes steel, chrome, and nickel. Sink cost can be greatly reduced by skimping on the more expensive metals. That is why it’s important to choose a sink from a quality manufacturer to make sure that these metals are used in the proper proportion. 18-gauge quality stainless steel is perfect for household kitchen sinks. A heaver gauge stainless (16-gauge) steel may be necessary for larger sinks such as restaurant commercial sinks or sinks with large surface drain boards.
- Basics: Todays efficient kitchen layout utilizes a single hole kitchen faucet, with the sprayer in the spout head instead of a stand-alone side sprayer. This unclutters the kitchen area, leaving room for more functional accessories such as a soap dispenser or a remote garbage disposal air switch. There are two basic single hole faucet designs.
- The pull-out: This is a more traditional design low-rise faucet. The spray head pulls out of the faucet spout, and when held in the upright position, mimics the feel and function of the old side sprayer. The head has a selection button which toggles between water stream and spray. These faucets are ideal for the customer who does not want a high arc faucet but desires full functionality. This option is also better for kitchens that have height limitations such as raised sills or plantation shutters.
- The pull-down: This design usually features the unique high arch faucet spout. The spray head features a stream or spray function and normally pulls down out of the spout. The high spout gives more workspace in the sink for large pots and pans and makes a bigger design statement than the pull-out faucet.
- The commercial faucet: With the numerous cooking shows on television, many people are using their kitchen for gourmet cooking and entertainment. Putting together a kitchen that is suited for filming a cooking show is fun and rewarding! Drama and functionality work hand-in-hand in this design. New products that mimic a commercial kitchen, while still keeping a glamorous appeal, are becoming very popular.
A: No, but there are some things to consider. Chances are your faucet is the same age as your sink and your faucet has more moving parts than your sink. When having a new sink installed, the plumber is already at your house. Having a new faucet installed at the same time is convenient and saves installation costs.
Replacing both your faucet and sink at the same time ensures continuity in design, while staying current with industry improvements. These improvements include engineered water flow, which delivers the same feel and power, while actually using considerably less water.
Upgrading also allows you to keep up with trends that maximize the utility of your sink. For example, newer single hole kitchen faucets are better than older faucets that have a stand-alone side sprayer and separate mixer controls. Also, manufactures continually introduce new colors and finishes, which can enhance or upgrade any kitchen.