Kitchen sinks should be chosen for their functionality as well as their aesthetic value in the kitchen. There are literally hundreds of styles and sizes of sinks, numerous materials, mounting methods available (Figure 1) and prices range from less than a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
Figure 1 - Kitchen sink variations
Kitchen Sink Sizing:
The kitchen sink sits in a base cabinet that has no drawers and no shelving and is constructed for the purpose of housing the kitchen sink and provides free space below for the necessary drain plumbing and hot and cold water pipe connections. Standard base cabinets come in a variety of widths from 27 to 48 inches.
The size of kitchen sink is subject to two parameters if this is a new installation where the kitchen sink drainage pipes can be modified to suit or three parameters if it is a sink replacement and you do not want to make major changes to the kitchen sink drainage piping.
- The width of the base cabinet as measured from the outside of one side panel to the outside of the opposite side panel, see Figure 2. This dimension is termed the "minimum cabinet size" and most kitchen sink manufacturers state that dimension within their sink specifications.
- The second parameter is the useable countertop depth. While standard kitchen cabinets are 24 inches deep, as measured from the front of the cabinet to the back, the useable depth of the countertop is different if a backsplash is used.
- If this is a replacement of a kitchen sink and you do not want to make major changes to the kitchen sink drainage then you must measure the depth of the current sink bowl to ensure that the sink you purchase is within the current drainage level.
Figure 2 - Measuring for the "minimum cabinet size".
As a general rule if your countertop has a backsplash the useable countertop depth is 20 1/2 inches (Figure 3).
Figure 3 - Useable depth of kitchen countertop with a backsplash
A countertop without a backsplash has a useable countertop depth of 22 inches (Figure 4).
Figure 4 - Useable depth of kitchen countertop without a backsplash
It is important to measure the useable countertop depth before purchasing a sink.
A sink that is less deep than the current sink can be easily accommodated. A sink that is deeper could require major changes to the drainage plumbing.
The key to the depth is the height that the kitchen sink drain pipe enters the wall. The bottom of the sink cannot be lower than this position, as shown in Figure 5. If the bottom of the sink was lower, the kitchen sink would not drain.
Figure 5 - Maximum depth of kitchen sink without major drainage plumbing changes
Once you have determined the maximum parameters; length, width and depth, of the kitchen sink you can purchase you are now faced with deciding what bowl configuration best suits your needs.