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Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks: Choosing the Best Materials

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Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks: Choosing the Best Materials

If you’re looking to buy a stainless steel kitchen sink there are few dull but very important considerations you need to investigate. Regardless of whether you’re looking for an inset sink (one that drops into your work surface) or an under mount (or under the counter sink) you want to make sure your time and money are well invested.

In this article you’ll (quickly) discover what to look for when it comes to steel thickness (measured in gauge). Plus you’ll discover more on the composition of the steel. This is usually measured by the chromium and nickel content – the key ‘ingredients’ that make your stainless steel kitchen sink, stainless!

Kitchen Sinks and Gauge (Steel Thickness)

There are a lot of reasons to buy stainless steel versus granite or ceramic sink. First is cost because you can get a great deal of value for just a couple of hundreds dollars with a well constructed kitchen sink. And second, they’re less likely to chip and crack with daily use.

Sinks are typically manufactured from 18/10 steel (that’s the chromium to nickel ratio) and comes in a variety of thicknesses. While many retailers talk about steel thickness it is actually a measurement of the weight per square foot.

Now you have something to make the sales representative look bad!

For ease, we’ll talk in terms of thickness!

The steel thickness is measured in gauge with lower numbers indicating greater thickness. Thicker sink construction materials means your sink is less likely to warp, bend and dent with daily usage.

Most quality kitchen sinks are built from 16 gauge stainless steel, some come as 18 gauge and cheaper alternatives 20 or 22 gauge steel.

For the majority of us the number is fairly useless until you consider that 16 gauge steel is approximately 20% thicker than 18 gauge steel! For a solid built sink, 16 gauge is a sign of quality.

What Finished Are You After?

The most popular and common stainless steel sink finish is brushed satin. Alternatives include polished, silk and linen finishes. As the names suggest, brushed steel has been brushed (or abraded) using fine grit sandpaper.

Satin finishes are finished using finer cloths, loaded with an abrasive paste with the final finish depending on how abrasive the paste is. The polished finish is the finest of the three (brushed, satin and polished).

It’s important to remember that no matter which finish you choose deep scratches can be difficult to get out. While you should always look after your sink and protect it, it’s important to accept that it will get scratched and picture which finish will look best for you.

Many people choose a sink based on design over finish and remember that over time there will be a build up of micro-scratches through daily wear and tear will change the appearance of your sink but can also add character to your kitchen.

Final Buying Decisions

Ultimately the final decision comes down to finding a quality kitchen sink from a leading manufacturer that looks good and suits your kitchen.

However it’s always good to know your money was well spent and the sink you invest in can outlast your kitchen with careful selection of the right thickness, finish and, of course a little bit of care. Most quality brands come with a limited guarantee so you can rest assured your sink will last!


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