What to Avoid When Buying a Stainless Steel Sink

Chrome tap and sink washbasin

Source: iStock

Stainless steel sinks are by far the most popular sink available on the market today. However, not all stainless steel sinks are created equal, and it’s important to understand what to look for if you’re planning on purchasing and installing one of these popular kitchen fixtures.

Get a Thicker Gauge

Stainless steel sinks are manufactured in a variety of gauges or thicknesses, and it’s to your benefit to go thicker for a number of reasons. The first is simply that the thicker the steel, the tougher the sink. Your sink needs to be able withstand the day-to-day beatings from pots and pans, silverware, dishes, and everything else that gets tossed in. A thin gauge sink, in the twenty-something range (gauges get thicker as the number goes down), will be susceptible to dents, dings and other damage that with a more solid model won’t be a concern.

The other thing to take into account is noise. It’s not something most people associate with sink purchases, but a thin gauge, uninsulated sink is going to chime like a bell every time you drop in a knife and fork. A thicker gauge model, on the other hand, that has an insulating agent applied to its underside, won’t make much noise at all. When you’re looking at sinks, finding one in the 18-20 gauge range is what you want to shoot for.

Source: iStock

It’s All About the Steel

The other thing is to make sure your stainless sink has nickel and chrome added to the metal. Corrosion can be a problem with poorly made stainless steel sinks, and nickel will keep that corrosion at bay. The chrome is added in order to provide more overall strength to the metal and to achieve a better shine.

When shopping for a sink, look for one that is 18 percent chrome and 8-10 percent nickel to get the optimal mix. Also, avoid sinks that have been glossed in order to make them shine. They might look better at the beginning, but usually that means they don’t have the right mix of metals in them to gleam naturally. In the end, shelling out a little extra for the optimum steel will pay off both in longevity and in looks.

Finally, regardless of the grade of steel you purchase, you should be aware that your steel will accumulate scratches over time. This is unavoidable with stainless steel and is nothing to worry about. In fact, so many people prefer the matte appearance of a well broken in steel sink that the industry has a specific term for it. The process is known as “developing a natural patina.”

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks

Now that you’re familiar with what to look for as far as composition is concerned, it’s time to think about use. Stainless steel kitchen sinks come in a large variety of styles and designs, so you’ll want think a little about what you use your sink for before you hit the supply stores.

Double and triple basin sinks are nice for avid cooks who need separate places to prepare different foods, and if you’re remodeling your whole countertop, think about adding a prep sink on the side for the same purpose. Other features available include extra deep basins for large pots and attached cutting boards with holes in the center for easy food waste disposal. With so many options available, you can see why it’s important to sit down ahead of time and consider what’s going to be the best style of sink for you.

Talk to the Pros

Finally, since any sink installation involves both plumbing and the proper installation of the sink in order to protect against future water damage, it’s a good idea to contact a plumber or a contractor experienced in kitchen remodels before you make your purchase. They will be able to advise you about what size and style sink will fit your kitchen best, and you’ll be able to trust them to install your sink right. Doing so will ensure that you can enjoy your new stainless steel kitchen sink worry-free for years to come.

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