Kitchen sinks! When we say those two words, the first image that pops into one’s head is a pile of unwashed dishes, pans, and pots lying in a sink. Inadvertently, the image is that of a stainless-steel sink since most American households rely on stainless steel more than its contemporary materials. You can find ceramic, porcelain, engineered stone/granite, and marble sinks quite easily at affordable rates. However, every homemaker believes that stainless steel kitchens are perfect for the ideal home kitchen.
What is stainless steel? What factors influence its quality?
Stainless steel is an alloy that is resistant to rusting, staining, and corrosion under normal circumstances. Now, what are the normal household circumstances that every sink face? Apart from bearing the weight of dirty dishes, sinks need to withstand the daily use of dishwashing detergent, the occasional touch of bleach and sink cleaners. Stainless steel is the simplest metal alloy that contains both nickel and chromium. These are two elements that enhance the durability and strength of the sink.
ADA stainless steel sink is made up of an alloy that is resistant to rusting, staining, and corrosion under normal circumstances. Now, what are the normal household circumstances that every sink face? Apart from bearing the weight of dirty dishes, sinks need to withstand the daily use of dishwashing detergent, the occasional touch of bleach, and sink cleaners. Stainless steel is the simplest metal alloy that contains both nickel, and chromium. These are two elements that enhance the durability and strength of the sink.
Nickel and chromium content of the stainless steel
You can quickly tell which sink has how much chromium and nickel in the steel blend. Ratios like 18:8 represent the percentage of chromium and nickel. For example, a sink with an 18:8 label consists of 18% chromium and 8% nickel in the primary steel. Contrary to popular belief, a higher percentage of chromium and nickel represents greater sturdiness of the stainless-steel sink.
The serial number on the steel equipment
In the US, most stainless-steel equipment bears a “series” number. If you are looking for the best stainless-steel sinks in the country, you should probably look for a (series) number higher than 300 and a ratio akin to 18:8 or 20:10 (20% chromium and 10% nickel). Check out stainless steel sinks by Kraus USA to get a good look at authentic and reliable sinks in every shape and size imaginable.
The thickness or gauge of the steel
The thickness of the steel is another crucial factor that determines the durability and strength of the sink. In technical terms, gauge refers to the thickness of the stainless steel. The material can range from 16-inches to 22-inches in thickness. The lower the number (gauge) the higher is the thickness of the stainless steel that goes into making the sink. The shape and size of the sink should not influence the gauge of the steel. Even a small 14-inch undermount sink or drop kitchen sink can contain 16 gauge stainless steel if you are investing in the right brand. Thicker steel might cost you a few bucks extra, but consider it to be a long-term investment instead of an additional expense for the home.
The topcoat or finish of a sink
The finish of a stainless-steel sink refers to the topcoat or smoothness of the material. Mirror finishes can offer glossier polish and smoothness that brushed finishes do not contain. The brushed finishes bear a “frosted” look that perfectly blends with frosted metal surfaces of the latest range of electronic appliances one can find in a modern kitchen. The glossy finish can be tricky to maintain, especially, if you have the habit of giving your pots and pans a good scrub regularly. Moreover, all finishes except the mirror finish will exhibit a unidirectional “grain” finish due to the delicate brushing process. The frosted look is not only easy to maintain, but it is also the trending choice among modern homeowners.
How can you maintain stainless steel sinks for years to come?
The longevity of a stainless-steel sink depends on how well you maintain it regularly. Single bowl, double bowl, and sink depth will not change the lifespan of your sink unless you manage to keep strong bleach, toilet cleaners, and harsh alkaline substances away from the inner surface. It is not just about keeping the inside of the sink bowl clean and spotless. You also need to wipe down the outside from time to time to prevent the transfer and buildup of grime.
Care and maintenance of stainless-steel sinks are not costly or labor-intensive. It is quite simple. Firstly, do not scrape the surface with sharp objects, including steel scrubbers, knives, or forks. Secondly, refer to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods and supplies for keeping the stainless-steel surface gleaming as new. In most cases, manufacturers and sellers like Kraus USA have similar cleaning instructions. Therefore, maintenance should not be an additional burden on the homeowner.
Every old sink in a house gathers soap spots and water spots. These tend to happen when you leave soapy water to air-dry on the stainless-steel surface, or you do not wipe down the leftover water after using the sink. Breathe a few years of extra life to your sink by giving it a good buff using a clean cotton rag or dishtowel once every day as long as you can.
How to make the right decision while buying a stainless-steel sink?
When in doubt, always go with the 16-gauge, 304 stainless-steel sink series. If 16 gauge seems out of your budget, you can settle for 18 gauge as well. However, stay within 20 gauge for acceptable thickness and high durability. Thicker steel typically provides better noise cancellation. Additionally, check the percentage of added elements to assess the sustainability of the sink before installation. Do not forget to check the quality of undercoating to keep noise levels low and provide insulation to water temperature.
You should factor in the cost of installation of the sink and faucets. You might want to add a water spout for easy cleaning and a hot water spout too. These are all essential add-ons that you must consider while buying the sink. Some undermount sinks also call for additional enforcements like wooden or steel frames, besides the usual mounting clamps and hooks the brand provides. Always calculate the total cost of purchase of the sink, add-ons, and the expense of installation before investing in a particular style of sink.