Want to make your kitchen as beautiful yet functional as possible? Then one of the parts that you must pay extra attention to is the sink, and here we will establish which is better – the composite or the stainless steel sink.
You’re finally at the point in your renovation (or moving process) where buying a sink is the next step, but it suddenly seems trickier than you thought. Multiple mounting and bowl options? One, two, or three bowls? Too much information from multiple directions can prove to be overwhelming, so let us explain the difference between two of the most commonly purchased sink types in a way that will be easy to follow.
First, we’ll start with the generally applicable attributes that work for both sinks, those that don’t have to do with the materials just yet.
There are 4 types to choose from and each has its own attractive features. First, we have the drop-in, which is the classic mount with a visible top rim, then we have the undermount, which comes under the counter for a more blended in look, and the third is a dual mount, which can act as either of the 2 mentioned previously, making it the more versatile option.
The fourth option, the farmhouse or apron-front mount goes under the counter but has the front part of the sink fully displayed, making this type quite harder to install, usually requiring a professional’s touch.
This feature refers to the number of bowls your sink will have. If you have a larger family, Kettle & Brine suggests that you go for the standard one-bowl option, as they tend to be bigger, but if you prefer splitting your soaking plates from the actual dish-washing, the two-bowl should work great for you. With a three-bowl option, you can make the most of your kitchen sink space. The third bowl is usually in the middle and much smaller than the others.
A drainboard is optional and it is completely up to individual preference. Although they indeed provide a space for your dishes, so that you can free up the sink, they also cut down on the countertop space. You could opt for a one-sided board, a double-sided one with space on both left and right, or a corner type if you have your sink on a corner countertop, where you can have the drain and bowls take up as little space as possible and make the most of a corner countertop.
Do’s and Don’ts in Maintenance
Before getting into the Pros and Cons, here are a few tips to keep your sinks in top shape at all times.
This type is usually made of hard and lasting materials, such as granite or quartz, but they also have bonding agents added into the composition, like acrylic (the most common mix is 80% quartz with 20% acrylic). The finish is always matte, stone-like, with quite a few color options, for example beige, ivory, gray, white, or black.
- Daily rinse/wash with warm water, mild soap, or normal dish detergent, with a non-abrasive sponge or pad.
- Clean it entirely, once a week, to avoid germ spread.
- Remove any stains with composite-specific cleaners or natural cleaners (baking soda, vinegar).
- (Optional) Towel-dry to avoid stains.
- No harsh chemicals (e.g. bleach), as they could harm the integrity of the materials.
- No diluent use. These do irreparable damage.
- Don’t leave overly hot pots or pans in the sink, especially when it is dry, as they can cause the material to wrap.
- No use of industrial-grade abrasives on or near the sink.
This type is probably the most used in many households and the material used is, obviously, stainless steel. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the sink, making it more resistant. With this one, you only get one color option, silver, but there are a few finishes to choose from, those being:
- Mirror (no grain pattern; prone to scratching)
- Brushed/Matte (conceals scratches better)
- Satin (in between shine and matte)
- Textured (hides scratches; harder to clean)
- Rinse properly, with enough water, after use.
- Clean it entirely, once a week.
- Use polishing creams when dealing with scratches.
- (Optional) Towel-dry to avoid stains.
- (Optional) Use glass cleaner to maintain a nice surface.
- No citric acid should be left on the surface, as it can etch.
- No chemicals should be left either, for the same reason.
- Leaving sponges or soaps on the sink can dull it down if it has a shiny finish.
Pros & Cons
Finally, we have, for both sink types, the reasons that can heavily influence your decision.
- A more aesthetic look. The color and finish can complement most styles, be it a modern black and white kitchen, a neutral-toned simplistic style, or even a traditional, warm-toned one.
- Long-lasting. Heat-resistant (not heat-proof), scratch and stain-resistant, and hygienic thanks to its non-porous materials.
- Cleaning can and is required to be done with accessible cleaners (no harsh chemicals)
- Better price point than real granite options
- Only comes in a matte finish
- Higher staining risk with lighter color options
- Stone pattern might be too uniform as opposed to real granite
- Smaller sizes or matching taps can be difficult to find
- Heavier and tougher (glassware might break if dropped in)
- Expensive compared to stainless steel options
Stainless Steel Sinks
- Good price point for its value (more than porcelain, less than granite)
- Long-lasting. Harder to stain, doesn’t get discolorations, can withstand heavy use.
- Matches most kitchen designs
- Only one color option
- Not quiet. Dropping something in this sink will cause plenty of noise.
- Shinier finishes are prone to scratches and dulling over time
To sum it up
Now that we’ve given you all the facts and aspects that can sway your decision, we hope you’ll have an easier time picking what’s best for you and your kitchen. So get your list, and venture out into the kitchen sink model-rich world.