What to Look for When Buying a Stainless Steel Undermount Sink in Statewide
The average kitchen sink faces frequent use.
Undermount sinks are attached beneath the countertop. That means you can easily sweep crumbs into the sink to clean up quickly. Choosing a sink made of stainless steel reduces maintenance even more, thanks to the smooth, non-porous surface. If you want an undermount stainless steel sink, be sure to compare different models and features before you make a final decision.
An important part of picking the right undermount stainless steel sink is balancing the size of the sink with the space available in your kitchen. You need a sink wide enough for your biggest pots and pans, but it still needs to fit within the confines of your existing countertops and cabinets. For a small kitchen (approximately 150 square feet), look for a standard (22"x24") sink. That's the recommendation from This Old House's website. If you have a kitchen that's larger than average, you can look for a bigger sink, including a double- or triple-bowl model. When you choose an undermount sink, keep depth in mind, as well. The way the sink is mounted forces you to reach an extra inch or two down to reach the bottom of the bowl.
Stainless steel sinks are made from sheets of metal. The thickness of the sheets is measured in a unit called gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal (and more durable). Higher gauges are thinner steel sheets. To minimize damage like dings and dents, lower gauges are better. Blanco America, Inc. recommends approximately 18-gauge as the best thickness for stainless steel sinks in a home.
Stainless steel sinks can make noise when dishes, silverware, and pans rattle around in them. Even when you spray water in your sink, you can get excess noise in your kitchen. The gauge of steel doesn't have much to do with the noise, according to Consumer Reports, but there are features that can help minimize the noise. Sound pads and insulating foam can be used with undermount sinks to help reduce noise. Some sinks also offer special sound coating to reduce noise.
When looking for a stainless steel sink, you may be drawn to the shiny, mirrored finish found on polished sinks. The finish sparkles in a showroom, but it's very hard to maintain at home when the sink is getting used every day. Polished steel shows every smudge and fingerprint. In order to reduce your maintenance, consider a satin or brushed finish. These can hide water spots and scratches more easily, according to Home Depot.