Singapore's tropical climate requires special consideration when selecting a kitchen sink material.
If you cook a lot and see yourself as a ‘heavy user’, opt for stainless steel. They are indestructible and if you choose a sink that is made from uniform 1.5mm thick steel, they can withstand heavy knocks without denting.
If you are looking for a colored sink to match your kitchen decor, composite granite is the better option as they are homogeneous and the color is resistant to fade even with daily use. On the contrary, nano coated stainless steel sinks look great when they are new but the color will start wearing away within a few months of regular use.
Pros and cons
If purchased from a reputable brand, stainless steel sinks will last you a lifetime. The biggest drawback is that they are prone to condensation which could lead to rotting cabinets if left unchecked. If you are buying a stainless steel sink, ensure it has an anti-condensation proofing (side note: Ikea sinks do not have this).
Composite granite is naturally condensation-proof. With a variety of color options to choose from, they provide a stylish touch to your kitchen. While they are not indestructible like stainless steel, a high quality granite sink will last long with a little TLC.
Pro tip: It’s best to touch and feel the product prior to purchase. Customer reviews are generally based on first impressions and not on after-use realities. For granite sinks, verify the country of origin prior to purchase - avoid ‘Made in China’.
The mounting style of your kitchen sink contributes to both aesthetics and practicality. Undermount sinks create a seamless look with countertops, enhancing the visual appeal of your kitchen. They also make the sink feel deeper than they actually are. Drop-in or topmount sinks are mounted over the countertop for easier installation and are often more budget-friendly.
Pro tip: Most countertop surfaces are compatible with undermount but validate this with the countertop manufacturer. A better alternative to overmount sinks is inset install (pictured below) wherein the sink rims are recessed into the countertop - again, not all countertop materials can be machined this way.
BOWL CONFIGURATION AND SIZE
The sink industry has transitioned from an even split between single and double bowl sinks to overwhelmingly single. This is primarily due to shrinking kitchen sizes where single bowl sinks are seen as more compact, practical and versatile. Consequently there are a lot more size and style options in single bowl configuration.
We recommend double sinks that are at least 80cm wide so that both bowls are usable. Hence if space is tight, a double bowl sink is not even an option.
Pro tip: For bigger sinks, you may want to have a pull-down type faucet to reach the corners.
If you don’t tell your installer otherwise, the default installation in Singapore is negative reveal, wherein the countertop ‘overhangs’ the sink. In other words, the countertop cutout is actually smaller than the sink bowl dimensions. This conceals the silicone lining between the countertop and the sink rims. Do note that if you have a workstation sink with inbuilt ledges to stage accessories like cutting board and drying rack, your only option is to do a flush or zero reveal installation.
BEST KEPT INDUSTRY SECRETS
Steel sinks are made using either of two manufacturing processes. The first type is handmade or welded - these sinks have uniform thickness and are typically 23-25cm deep. They come in zero-radius right angled corners which are difficult to clean or in gently curved radius (R10 being most common). The second type is pressed or drawn, made by punching a flat steel sheet. These sinks are considerably cheaper with a typical depth of 20cm. These are typically found in older homes and you can recognise them by their extra rounded corners. Thickness is not uniform for these sinks.
Steel thickness of 1.5mm is the max in the industry. Many brands, especially from China, falsely advertise the sink thickness as 3-5mm. In reality only the sink rims are made with thicker steel. Actual basin thickness is usually around 1mm.
Lastly, every brand claims their stainless steel sinks are made from 304 Grade. Based on the raw material cost of this grade, you can safely surmise that cheaper makes actually use a lower grade of steel.
8 things you wish you knew before you purchased your kitchen sink
- Once installed, kitchen sinks are practically impossible to replace. This is the last thing you should be buying from Taobao.
- The color coating on stainless steel sinks will fade faster than you can spell FADE. If you must have a colored sink, go the composite granite route.
- Choose a clean, minimalist sink design so that you have maximum work area. This will also make it easier to find compatible accessories for the sink.
- Big is better but ensure the sink does not eat into all or most of your countertop area.
- Scratch proof sinks are a myth. However, some sinks are more scratch resistant than others. If you have OCD regarding this, consider embossed stainless sinks from Korea and Japan.
- Stainless steel sinks can get noisy during use. Check if the sink has a sound dampening feature in addition to thermal insulation.
- Take a moment to visualize how you will be using it. For Asian cooking with big woks, single bowl sinks will work better.
- Craving the “waterfall” sink from China? They look great on Instagram but be aware that more features means more failure points. The waterfall nozzles are prone to mould and extremely difficult to clean. These sinks have the highest buyer remorse after only a few months of actual use.