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The different types of kitchen worktops explained

The different types of kitchen worktops explained

Solid Surfacing

If you select solid surfacing for your countertops, you can also install a sink of the same material. This approach offers a sleek, stylish look and a durable, easy-to-clean sink. lts biggest disadvantage is the cost; it can add as much as �700 to the price of your countertops. Also, don�t expect to get a perfect color match with your countertops, since the sinks are often made from a different lot. A less expensive option is to purchase separately a solid surfacing sink that can be dropped into any countertop. Although this doesn�t provide the same seamless look and rimless convenience as an integral sink, it can cost less than half as much.

Enamel-on-Steel

Enamel-on-steel is the least expensive sink material, starting at about �50. However, you get what you pay for, and in this case, that may mean an easily damaged finish and thin steel. A better-quality alternative is a steel sink with a porcelain finish and a polyester-resin backing. lt will absorb shocks well and weigh half as much as a cast-iron sink. A typical double-bowl sink will run about �250.

Composite

Composite sinks, which are usually made of acrylics and quartz, are the newest entries in the sink market. Because the color goes all the way through, they hide nicks well. However, they haven�t been widely accepted yet. Composite sinks start at about �250.

Determining Your Needs

Sink style options include single and multiple bowls in a wide range of sizes, shapes and depths. To narrow them down, consider the size of your kitchen and how you�ll use the sink. For example, a large multiple basin sink would overpower a small kitchen. Instead, a standard 22x24-in. single-bowl model (which will have a bowl about 16x21 in.) would be a good choice for a kitchen that�s less than 150 sq. ft. For a larger kitchen, you might consider a double or triple bowl that would allow you to stack dishes on one side while you rinse vegetables on the other.

For large kitchens, many designers now suggest including one main sink and a smaller bar sink. However, a second sink isn�t usually necessary unless two or more cooks will be preparing meals at the same time. Even then, consider whether the plumbing upgrade and the �400 or so for the extra sink and faucet are worth it. You�ll also need to decide on these other sink considerations:

� Mounting style (see Mounting Choices, below): Self-rimming sinks are easiest to install; undermount sinks look sleek and make cleanup easy.

� Accessories: Sink add-ons include sprayers, soap and hand-lotion dispensers and filtered-water taps. The number of accessories you choose will determine how many holes you�ll need in the sink deck.

� Color: You�ll typically pay 15 to 40 percent more for a porcelain sink in any color other than white.

� Drain strainer: These are sold separately from the sink itself They aren�t expensive, but you do need to get the right kind for the style of your sink.