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The Complete Guide to Kitchen and Vanity Sinks

Sinks provide a range of functions in your home. They’re ready for hard work in the kitchen when you bring in a load of vegetables from the garden or farmer’s market or to hand wash your antique china that’s been passed down in your family. They’re ready for you to wash your face in the morning, brush your teeth in the evening and wash hands all day long. Your sinks work hard, so when it’s time to select one for a new home or replace one that’s aged over the years, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for and the benefits of different types of sinks.

But how do you discover this level of knowledge? In this guide, you’ll find information on different types of sinks, how to select the right sink type based on its purpose, the different kinds of materials that sinks are constructed from, common sink components, faucet types, hot trends in sinks this year and what you should look for in an installer. This information will help you make a smart choice, so you’ll get a sink that fits your needs and preferences, rather than one that functions well but doesn’t match your style or one that’s stylish but doesn’t meet your needs.

Types of sinks you’ll find in the Southwest & Western US

Generally speaking, homes can contain a lot of different kinds of sinks. You may have a utility sink in your laundry room for handling those difficult or messy cleaning jobs. You could have a secondary sink at a bar or in the kitchen for handling smaller tasks. But for the most part, you’re going to find sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. What are the differences between these kinds of sinks?

Kitchen sinks are usually made out of fairly tough materials, such as stainless steel, enameled iron or copper, but the addition of dishwashers to most kitchens has allowed them to branch out into other materials, such as porcelain, vinyl and other materials. This is because the addition of dishwashers has reduced the workload, and by extension, the wear and tear of most kitchen sinks. A relatively recent change has been the addition of the farmhouse or apron sink, which extends past the front of the cabinet it’s embedded in, providing a decorative element of its own.

Vanity sinks are typically found in a bathroom vanity cabinet, though there have been many other options offered over the years. They’re typically made of china, iron enamel, stainless steel or copper when used as a drop-in sink, though vessel sinks have added opportunities for glass, and all-in-one vanity tops can be from a wide range of material, including granite, cultured marble and other stone finishes. Because they’re not at as much risk for accidental damage, you’ll typically find a much larger array of available bathroom sinks, providing you with a range of sizes, finishes, shapes and features to choose from.

What is the purpose of your sink?

Before you start choosing your sink, let’s start by discussing its purpose. Though that may seem obvious, to wash things, the ways in which sinks are used can vary greatly between households based on cooking preferences, household culture, other activities taking place in the kitchen or bathroom, and similar concerns to be aware of.

Let’s start by looking at kitchen sinks. Once the main cleaning center of the kitchen, this station has undergone changes as we change how we live our lives. With the sheer amount of activity in daily life, you may only use your kitchen a few nights a week, or you may make every single meal in it with a couple of notable exceptions a month. If you have a small household or use your dishwasher for everything, your sink may get very little use. If you have a larger household or choose to handwash most of your dishes, it may receive a great deal of use. What kind of use does it get? If you’re frequently filling large pots or washing large, bulky pans, a deeper sink may be a great option to consider.

Now let’s consider bathroom sinks. Metal sinks can seem cold, but they’re also among the most durable, an important consideration if your 5-year-old brings a hammer into the bathroom to help with a repair and drops it. Why does the child have a hammer? We don’t know, it’s the joys of parenting. Regardless, it can cause a lot of damage to your sink if you choose to have a glass vessel or china sink. In other situations, such as a family of empty nesters or parents of teens, style considerations may win out over durability, because there are fewer accidents likely to happen in the bathroom.

Some common materials sinks are made from

stainless steel sink

As was mentioned previously, there are many materials that sinks can be made from, but there are two specific materials that have stood the test of time over and over again. That doesn’t mean that you have to select these materials, simply that you may want to consider their benefits compared to other sink materials.

Stainless steel sinks are great for heavy usage and serious workloads. Not only are they tough and stain-resistant, but another benefit that many people are unaware of is its antimicrobial properties. That’s among the reason why stainless steel is so popular in commercial kitchens for sinks, work surfaces and appliances, because it drastically cuts down on the bacteria and other microscopic lifeforms that can live in kitchens and spread disease. It also has high resistance to denting and damage, which makes it a great choice for hard-working kitchens everywhere, as well as bathrooms where damage could be a concern.

Porcelain provides a range of colors as well as fanciful designs, such as embossed details and unique shapes. It’s more fragile than stainless steel, but it also holds heat better than stainless steel will. If you’ve ever had to take time over dishes or washing up and noticed that a stainless steel sink allows the water to become cold very quickly, it’s because stainless steel conducts the heat out of the water to the surrounding air. By comparison, porcelain is an insulator and helps keep the water warmer for longer. However, there’s an increased risk of damage to the porcelain, as it’s much more likely to chip, crack or otherwise be damaged in use.

Sink types and components to consider

But what kind of sink do you need? Though you’ll undoubtedly be able to determine if you need a kitchen or bathroom sink, do you need to look at drop-in sinks? Farm sinks? Undermount sinks? Vessel sinks? There are many ways to install a sink, as well as different types to consider. And what sort of faucet is needed to go with it? Let’s take a look at some of these issues and different varieties.

  • Farm sinks are kitchen sinks that protrude through the front of the cabinet that they’re mounted in, often with a decorative panel. They typically are one- or two-bowl, and may be made from stainless steel, porcelain or copper, though there are a few other options available on the market.
  • Porcelain sinks are made from a fine clay which is shaped, and then a glaze, or layer of glass, is placed on the surface before it’s heated to very high temperatures in a kiln. The glaze is hardened in this process, forming a glossy water-tight seal over the clay, which hardens at the same time. This common material can be somewhat fragile.
  • Undermount sinks fasten to the underside of the counter and provide a clean, seamless, modern look to the countertop. However, there’s a possibility that debris can build up in the seam if not properly sealed. For that reason, it’s important to take care when installing this type of sink.
  • Sink faucets come in a wide range of styles and features. Generally speaking, bathroom sink faucets are available with a range of different offsets for controls. Kitchen sink faucets may have a single or double temperature and flow control, a separate or integrated sprayer, and accessories such as a soap dispenser.

What kind of faucet does my sink need?

Let’s take a minute to talk about your kitchen sink faucet or bathroom sink faucet so that you can get the right type for your needs.

  • A center handle faucet will have a single control mounted on the faucet itself, which allows you to immediately select the temperature as well as flow.
  • A gooseneck kitchen or bathroom sink faucet will have a taller profile, with a curve at the top to direct the water. It’s a great option for filling large pots in the kitchen or reaching the top of a vessel bathroom sink.
  • A no sprayer kitchen sink faucet does not have a sprayer option available but instead provides a simple control without the additional hardware required for a sprayer.
  • Sienna faucets are available for both kitchen and bathroom use, with a curved faucet head and two separate controls for hot and cold, typically laid out as a simple lever to the side that is managed to control the water temperature and pressure.
  • A spring neck kitchen sink faucet has a hose that is mounted through a spring, with a control bar that keeps the faucet from springing up. This allows the faucet to act as a faucet or sprayer, with maneuverability to move it where you need it.
  • Tall single bathroom faucets are typically offered for vessel sinks, providing a higher profile to get up over the edge of the vessel. They typically have a single control for ease of use.
  • Trend faucets are often laid out similarly to Sienna faucets, but with more stylized, modern finishes and controls that make them a better fit with modern style.
  • With sprayer kitchen sink faucets include a sprayer of some type, whether it’s a pull-down or pull-out style that is incorporated into the faucet itself or a separate sprayer mounted to the side of the controls.

Sink types we offer

At The Window Depot, we’re dedicated to serving our customer’s needs, and for that reason, have added a wide range of sink types for homeowners and business owners to incorporate into their design. These include:

  • Farm sinks that can be purchased in stainless steel, in both single- and double-bowl configurations.
  • Porcelain sinks are available in drop-in, undermount and vessel sink styles, in addition to farm sinks.
  • Undermount sinks are available in porcelain and stainless steel, with a wide range of styles, divisions and similar features.
  • Stainless Steel sinks are available in drop-in, undermount and farm sink styles, with a range of divisions and styles available.

Hot sink styles in 2022

But how do you make changes to your kitchen and bathroom sinks without making your home seem dated? We’ve collected the top sink styles that are expected to make a splash in 2022 for you to consider.

For kitchen sink style, cottage style is here for the foreseeable future. Porcelain is a strong part of that style, as are farm sinks, so combining these two styles in a porcelain farm sink is a great way to give a nod to this popular style trend. If you have a kitchen that works too hard for porcelain, copper may be a consideration, but expect to pay a pretty penny for it. For those with more modern kitchens, undermount stainless steel sinks continue to be on trend, providing you with great styling that should compliment the rest of your kitchen style.

To determine your vanity sink style, you may want to consider an undermount or drop-in sink for modern styling that can include wall-mounted vanities. However, if you need more space, vessel sinks are still popular to lend an artisan flair to your bathroom style. That being said, many homeowners are moving away from metal sinks in favor of porcelain or sinks integrated into the countertop. However, an undermount sink may provide the same clean look without having to replace the countertop at the same time.

What to look for in an installer

If you’re looking for a sink installation, you want to make sure that you’re hiring the right person for the job. Though sink installation isn’t too tricky, you want somebody who has experience with the particular type of sink that you’re having installed. If they have a few pictures, you can quickly see the quality of their sink installation process and whether it will deliver the kind of results you’re looking for.

A kitchen sink installer could be a plumber, someone who installs cabinets and countertops, a company that does kitchen renovations and similar professionals. This selection of professionals tends to have a great deal of experience not only with installing the sink, but handling the plumbing and related issues in the process.

By comparison, a bathroom sink installer could work with bathroom renovations, plumbing repairs or whole-house renovations. Because vanity sinks tend to be smaller and easier to handle, they tend to be easier to install overall, but in the case of a vessel sink, you may want to look at their work portfolio to ensure you’ll get a solid installation.

In any situation, you’ll want to work with an installer who is insured, who has the necessary licenses to do the work, who is capable of handling any permit process that’s required, who has good references you can check up on and if possible, who has some form of social credibility, such as online or social media reviews. This ensures that the chances of anything going wrong is minimized and that they’ll be able to take care of the problems created on the off chance that something does go wrong in the process.

At The Window Depot, we’re about so much more than just windows! Expanding into doors, skylights, countertops, cabinets, molding and sinks, our business continues to expand to meet our customer’s needs on a daily basis. If you’re considering a home improvement project, whether large or small, why not take a look at what we have to offer, either by checking out our website or stopping in at one of our convenient locations? Our experienced home improvement professionals will help you find the perfect fit for your home’s needs.