Plumbing 101 – Kitchen Essentials
Top Mount vs. Undermount: Although undermount sinks are most commonly seen in the kitchen, there are a few nifty top-mount and flush-mount sinks to consider to! Here are some pros and cons to the most popular type; the undermount sink. Pro: a clean continuous line of countertop which allows the water to fall directly into the sink without a rim in the way (which tends to collect dirt over time). Con: The solid surface countertop is cut to the sinks specs and shape, making it difficult to switch out in the future. Tip: If you are just replacing your countertops, this would be the perfect time to also replace your sink.
Apron Front: Also known as a ‘Farmhouse Sink’, it is known for its characteristics where the front detail of the sink comes down into an apron. Historically known to be made from cast iron or porcelain, stainless steel has won popularity in its modern twist on an old classic. Companies like Blanco have now introduced a stone composite material, giving you endless options! You will find these sinks in all layouts and materials.
Layouts to Consider
Single bowl: Pros: Big enough space to maneuver bigger pots & pans and other big appliances, looks sleek, fits into a smaller sink cabinet and no space is wasted in the separation between bowls. Con: If you soak your dishes, this sink will require a lot more water to fill up. This sink has only one drain, so if you’re used to having a garburator there’s a little bit of an adjustment in not having multiple bowls. For separation between your clean veggies that you just rinsed and a few dirty glasses, you may need to use a drain vegetable basket or other smart sink items. Tip: Our favorite single bowl is a smart play on the single bowl.
Double equal bowl: When both bowls are equal size. Pros: Creates equal separation between dirty and clean items and the garburator can have a designated bowl. Cons: There’s less maneuvering for big items in each bowl. You often loose an inch in the separation between bowls. Tip: If you can afford the space consider a sink cabinet that’s one size bigger like example, from a 36” to 39”.
One & three quarter: The layout of the sink will affect how you work around the area. If you’re selecting a sink that is 1 ¾, consider this type of layout: big bowl to the left, where the dirty dishes would land, small bowl on the right, for the garburator and rinsing, dishwasher placed furthest right. In this scenario, you are working from left to right.
Stylistic: The next thing to consider are the options in materials. Today we’re covering the two most commonly used.
Stainless Steel: Most common material and applies to all design styles. Pros: Very durable, comes in a variety of price points and comes in top-mount & undermount options. Cons: can scratch and it will show more than other materials. Tip: Since this item isn’t a mechanical item in your kitchen, you can consider a more affordable option. We recommend 18-gauge steel. If you’re considering the more economic 20-gauge option, know that it will show more scratches since the shine of the steel increases the higher the gauge.
Stone Composite Sink: Companies like Blanco make sinks in what they call Silgranite material; composed of 80% stone and the remainder being glues and colouring. This makes for the most durable sink in the market! This option has become more popular and more affordable in recent years. Pros: heat resistant, durable and comes in a selection of different colours. Cons: less variety to pick from when comparing to stainless. Harsh chemicals can damage composite sinks.
This may just be the most important fixture in the house and worth the investment! There’s just too much to cover on this topic so I will leave it to the plumbing experts! I will simply cover my favorite faucets and their features. One of my favorite features are the new touchless faucets.
Grohe Minta: This faucet is the perfect balance in design and functionality. Its steady stream is not aerated so it makes for a quiet faucet; all you hear is the water hitting the sink. This faucet has been one of my favorites since the first one came out 10 years ago. You can now find the Minta in three different designs.
Aquabrass Wizard: I often find coiled faucets overwhelming in design, but the Wizard has the perfect balance of design and function.
Hansgrohe Axor Stark 2: A cool contemporary design.
Blanco Culina: Delicate stainless steel spring enables freedom of movement down to the bowl area
Our world is becoming a better place the more we compost! However, there could still be a place in your kitchen for a garburator. I must confess that I have one although we mostly compost. The garburator is there for piece of mind knowing my drain wont plug as I rinse off my dirty dishes. If you’re like me and mostly compost, consider an inexpensive garburator with ½ horsepower! Let me tell you about this great little button called an Air switch! It takes the guessing out of “which one is the light switch, and which is your garburator switch?” … It’s drilled right on to your countertop so the days of confusion are over.
Other plumbing fixtures to consider for your kitchen once you’ve covered the basics;
- Water filtration systems,
- Hot water dispenser
- Soap pump.
- Pot Filler
Be sure to visit an expert at a plumbing supply store. They along with your designer will help you determine what you need!