A Guide to Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks for Homeowners
The kitchen sink plays a vital role in the modern-day kitchen; it’s so important that you’d struggle to live in a kitchen without a proper sink.
From cleaning large pots to preparing food, you need to make sure that your kitchen sink is great and absolutely perfect for your kitchen. Stainless steel kitchen sinks are popular due to their flexibility which makes it a good choice for:
- Homeowners in their kitchens
- Kitchens in restaurants or cafes
as well as whole other list of uses for a stainless steel sink.
In this post, we’ll cover the things that you need to know before purchasing a stainless steel kitchen sink.
About stainless steel sinks
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are a good choice for just about any kitchen thanks to its array of good qualities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen sink as timeless as stainless steel ones which also has the ability to complement kitchen designs nicely.
Stainless steel sinks are also famous for being strong and durable. With proper maintenance, stainless steel kitchens are expected to last for more than 30 years – a nod to its longevity and satisfactory performance.
Before you buy a stainless steel kitchen sink, you’ll need to consider some aspects to make your purchase worthwhile.
- The grade of the stainless steel
- It’s thickness (also referred to as its gauge)
- Insulation and coatings for the sink
- Its finish
Some other considerations include the number of sinks that you want as well as how you would like it to be mounted, although those factors are less important than the factors listed above.
It would also be helpful to understand how to maintain and take care of stainless stinks properly. Proper maintenance is essential to ensuring that your sink’s long-lastingness.
How to choose a good-quality stainless steel sink
Stainless steel is usually steel that has been mixed with other elements to improve its properties. Think of stainless steel as a material that is mixed with the best of other materials to make a perfect final product.
The two most important materials to check before purchasing a sink is chromium and nickel. These two materials enhance the properties of stainless steel which make it durable and resistant to corrosion.
The grade of the stainless steel
You’ll usually see an “18/8” label on your local stainless steel sinks. The ratio denotes the amount of chromium and nickel contained in the steel. For the ratio of 18/8, this means that there is 18% of chromium and 8% of nickel in the stainless steel.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the percentage of these materials, the higher quality your stainless steel sink would be.
The grade is another thing to look out for when purchasing a stainless steel sink. Grade-304 is regarded as the best grade for stainless steel sinks. This grade means that the steel is an 18/8 stainless steel and made up of at least 50% iron.
By understanding these properties of stainless steel, you’ll be able to spot high-quality sinks from poorer ones. It can also save you a lot of money when comparing sinks from multiple brands.
Gauge (thickness of the material)
“Gauge” refers to the thickness of the stainless steel metal for the sink. Don’t get confused; the lower the number of a gauge is, the thicker it is and vice versa. In this case, always remember that less means more when measuring the gauge of a sink.
The gauge of the material will range from 16-22 gauge with the 16-gauge one being the thickest. While some people argue that the thickness of a sink does not matter, having a thicker sink would mean that it is more sound-absorbent.
It is significantly less noisy than thinner-gauge sinks as it “absorbs” the sound of running water in your sink or when the garbage disposal is activated. As a rule of thumb, high-quality stainless steel sinks are in between the 16 to 18 gauge range.
Insulation and coatings
Stainless steel sinks are usually covered with sound insulation layers or coatings to help reduce noise.
Coatings also help to reduce condensation buildup on the bottom of the sink. Having the coating would mean that there won’t be moisture issues under your sink which can build up mold if there is moisture.
It is important to know that your sink may or not come with any insulation or coating. These are usually add-ons when you purchase a sink but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get annoyed by the noisy sound of stainless steel sinks.
Finish refers to the surface of the stainless steel material. A mirror finish has a polished look to it and feels smooth. You can also opt for a matte look where the surface looks “brushed” rather than smooth.
With the exception of polished mirror finishes, you will be able to notice the grain direction of a stainless steel sink which results from the finishing process.
The advantages of stainless steel
- It is cheap and affordable for homeowners and builders – High-end stainless steel options will cost more; however, most stainless steel sinks are affordable and are just as high-quality as every other sink on the market – if not better. Builders can also buy stainless steel sinks in bulk to improve their profit margin.
- Perfect for homeowners who want a cheap but durable sink – Stainless steel sinks with thick gauges make zero to little noise when running water or preparing food. It is also extremely durable which makes it perfect for kitchen sinks as it won’t crack or chip.
- Very light and portable – Stainless steel is relatively light when compared to other sink materials. For instance, a large 34-inch wide sink is easy to be moved around if it is made out of stainless steel; it’s very difficult to do the same task with stone-based sinks.
- Easy maintenance – Stainless steel surfaces are extremely easy to maintain and take care of. All you need is a regular household cleaner with a cloth to clean and polish a stainless steel sink.
- It is resistant to rust – Thanks to stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion, rusting is not a thing that you should worry about when purchasing a kitchen sink.
- Lasts for a very long time – If you are looking for a sink that will last you for 20-30 years, stainless steel sinks can do that for you easily. It will even last longer than that if you take proper care of it!
Maintaining a stainless steel kitchen sink
Knowing how to maintain a kitchen sink will help you to maintain its original shiny appearance as well as improving its longevity down the years. As a bonus, you’ll also save a lot of money along the way!
Before you do anything, it would be wise to consult the manufacturer’s cleaning and care recommendations. You don’t want to do anything that would void the manufacturer’s warranty or aftercare policies.
Fortunately, warranty policies are uniform among manufacturers so you shouldn’t be hung up too much on it.
When cleaning your stainless steel sink, make sure to avoid aggressive or acidic cleaners and avoid scrubbing the surface too vigorously. Doing these can avoid in scratches or stains on the surface.
Also, never use a steel wool to scrub the sink’s surface. Small bits of steel from the steel wool will be embedded into the sink’s surface which will rust over time. The rust will stain your sink and is incredibly hard to remove – don’t do it!
If scrubbing has to be done, make sure that you go with the grain instead of against. Doing this would maintain the surface’s shine instead of being scratching it.
Common house cleaners and detergents contain chloride compounds that are not good for stainless steel. Fortunately, chlorides are water soluble. This means that a thorough rinsing of your sink is more than enough to remove the chlorides from the surface of the sink.
An important thing to know is that soap scum may appear on your sink’s surface after a few weeks of using it. If you’re fine with it, then you may ignore it. If not, wipe your stainless steel sink with a cloth every day or once a week to get rid of water spots and soap scum.
Choosing the best sinks for your kitchen
Over here at BuildMat, we pride ourselves in only supplying high-quality materials for your kitchen appliances.
Our products come with a 5-year warranty as well as being 100% locally owned and operated. Our products are also quality-tested extensively according to ISO9001 standards.
We’re having a sale right now of up to 50% for kitchen sinks!
Make your decision now by clicking here to go our products page.
To learn more about home appliances, head over to our blog where we have guides and how-tos for builders and homeowners.
- Teresa Nguyen