- Man-made materials
There are a number of man made or engineered materials that are being used to manufacture kitchen sinks. These include solid surface materials made under trade names like Corian, and Swanstone. Other man made materials include molded acrylics and acrylic composites.
- Solid surface kitchen sinks (Figure 21) - Solid surface kitchen sinks such as Corian and Swanstone are chemically seamed into and become an integral part of the countertop and not sold independently. The primary advantage is that no dirt, grime or bacteria can exist at the junction point, because there is no void. However, solid surface materials tend to scratch and mar easily and although the manufactures say they are easy to fix, this may not always be the case.
- Acrylic composite kitchen sinks(Figure 22) - Acrylic composite kitchen sinks are combination mixtures of natural stone and acrylic. They are sold under numerous trade marks, but are all based on the same principle. The material has the feel and touch of natural stone. The composite sink is a very hard, non porous, material that does not stain, chip or scratch easily.
- Fireclay kitchen sinks - Fireclay kitchen sinks is a popular manufacturing method for Apron or Farmer style sinks, although it is now appearing as a manufacturing technique for traditionally shaped kitchen sinks, see Figure 23). To increase the durability of basic clay manufacturers have blended in additional amounts of quartz and feldspar. Fireclay has an exceptionally long life, is basically impervious to staining and is resistant to scratching.
- Soapstone kitchen sinks (Figure 24) - Soapstone is a natural stone, quarried from deposits throughout the world.
Figure 21 - Solid surface kitchen sink as an integral part of the countertop
Figure 22 - Acrylic composite kitchen sink
Figure 23 - Fireclay traditional kitchen sink
Figure 24 - Soapstone kitchen sink
Soapstone kitchen sinks are constructed rather than formed, molded or pressed. Side, bottom, front and back pieces of soapstone are put together using the same joinery techniques as used for lumber.
Soapstone is stain resistant and does not require a lot of maintenance.
It should be noted that when shopping for a sink and comparing prices that you need to compare the accessories that come with the sinks you are considering.
- Kitchen sink drain basket (Figure 25) - Although all manufacturers consider the kitchen sink drain basket to be an accessory, many now include them with their kitchen sinks, and surprisingly, they are generally included with the lower priced sinks and sold separately with the higher priced kitchen sinks.
- Undermount kitchen sink clips (Figure 26) - While drop in kitchen sinks generally come with mounting clips, with undermount kitchen sinks the mounting clips are often considered an accessory.
- Kitchen sink accessories - In order to enhance to enhance their products many kitchen sink manufacturers have designed products which provide the homeowner with additional benefits by choosing their kitchen sink. Some of the more popular accessories include:
Figure 25 - Kitchen sink drain basket
Without the kitchen sink drain basket, your sink cannot connect to the water drain system.
Kitchen sink drain baskets come in a variety of finishes to match the finish of the kitchen sink and numerous quality levels.
Figure 26 - Undermount kitchen sink clips
- Kitchen sink soap dispensers (Figure 27) - While soap dispensers are most often sold as an accessory to the kitchen faucet, many kitchen sink manufactures have included it within their kitchen sink accessories.
- Kitchen sink grids (Figure 28) - Kitchen sink grids are designed to sit in the bottom of the sink, creating a flat surface for sitting glasses, and other dishware or cooking items.
Figure 27 - Kitchen sink soap dispenser
Figure 28 - Kitchen sink grid
Other accessories include: Cutting boards, colanders, and basket strainers.