The sheer number of kitchen sink and tap options on the market is enough to give anyone a headache and the choice comes down to style and personal choice in the end. But there are some basics to take into account to avoid making a mistake.
Kitchen Sink Types for Fitted Kitchens
The two major kitchen sink and drainer types are inset and sit on (or overmounted). Inset sinks are more popular these days and are designed to drop into a hole cut into the worktop of a fitted kitchen base unit (usually a double unit). Sit on sinks go over the base unit, replacing the worktop, and look a little old-fashioned these days. They just don’t look part of the kitchen design in the same way that an integrated inset sink does.
These normal sink types come with drainers on the left or the right, or both. Other combinations are available like double-sink, double drainer units. Some cheaper units are reversible, having a tap hole at the front or the back, and when it is mounted the unused tap hole is covered with a boss.
Most of these sinks are stainless steel although it is possible to get ceramic versions. Ceramic is normally associated with Belfast sinks, the large, deep, squared-off sinks that are mounted below the line of the worktop. These old-fashioned designs had almost died away but have made a comeback in the last decade or so.
Different Sink Designs for Contemporary Kitchen Design
There is an increasing number of fitted kitchen using Corian or similar materials to fuse the worktop and sink together into one seamless run. This is obviously easier to clean and therefore more hygienic, but they are much more expensive as each worktop and sink combination has to be tailor-made to fit each kitchen.
Copper is beginning to make its mark in designer kitchens too, although it is prone to streaking and staining and so has to be wiped down after it is used. Not only is it one of the most expensive sink materials to use, the cost goes on as you’d presumably want to hire a cleaner, so that it wasn’t you having to polish every drop of water out of it every time it was used.
Tap Hole Positioning is Important
Tap holes can catch out the uninitiated. If you are having separate taps then the positioning of the two holes should not cause a problem. But mixer taps (generally known as ‘monobloc’ or ‘mono’ in the trade) come in two main variations. The first have a central fitting requiring one central hole in the middle of the sink back.
The second use the two holes of a standard sink and the hot and cold water is mixed in the body of the monobloc unit. With this second type it is essential to make sure that the distance between the two holes is right for the mixer tap.
Kitchen Taps – a Massive Choice
This brings us, finally, to taps. The main decision is between separate or monobloc but after that the choice is as wide as your pocket is deep. Most taps come in chrome or a similar metallic finish but white ones are quite widely available and more traditional styles may be available in a gold or brass finish. Some of the taps that go with the all-in-one tailor made worktop surfaces and sinks are available in a colour to match the worktop.
Your chosen kitchen design and style will tell you if you are after a traditional design or a sleek, contemporary one, and there are some amazing monobloc taps on offer at the top end of the contemporary market. Some have flexible and extendable hoses that can be used to squirt water in all directions, based on catering kitchen designs, which look very dramatic.
In the end the best thing to do is trawl the Internet or go round the DIY stores until you see the perfect tap for your kitchen.