Saturday, 21 March 2009

Sink Choices For Granite Worktops

Finding a new sink to go with your granite worktops can sometimes seem like a minefield and this isn't helped by some kitchen companies giving poor advice possibly because they have a particular product they want to sell you!

The first thing you should consider is how you use your sink. Sounds a daft question but some people put the washing up in the dishwasher so their needs would be different to someone who washes a lot of dishes in the sink. In terms of design/function there are some people who can't see the point in the ½ bowl while others could not live without it plus some people dry everything immediately and others leave it to drain itself.With solid surface kitchen worktops like granite, you have the option of either sit on sinks (inset), under-mounted sinks, butler sinks(Belfast) or even complete work surface sinks (roll tops).

Inset sinks are put into a hole from above the worktop so that they sit just over the edge of the worktop which means the granite's hole edge does not have to be polished making the cut out cheaper to do. The size and number of bowls you can have will depend on the cabinets that you have underneath the worktop. If the sink is going above a 500mm cabinet then you are limited to a largish single bowl. The drainer can go over whatever is next to it e.g the dishwasher. If you have a 600mm base then you have room for a bowl and a half bowl plus drainer providing you have the area on the worktop. If the worktop is particularly shallow front to back and the sink is large it may mean having to have bars/slips in the granite as this is more structurally sound. ( Also if the worktop is longer than the granite company can supply then this can be a good place to hide the join - unlike laminate worktops there is no danger of the granite "blowing")

There are a huge range of sit on sinks available now, something for every budget and taste. They can be a really sensible and practical option but this does not mean that they can't be stylish.

A lot of people who are having granite or solid surface worktop go for an under-mounted sink because it proves that they have got granite because you cannot have an under-mounted sink with a traditional laminate worktop. They do look very neat because there is nothing above the worktop apart from any tap, filter tap or push button. They are set underneath the worktop and the worktop is cut and then polished so that there is a nice smooth edge into the top of the sink. Due to the extra work in polishing the cut out this works out more expensive than having a sit on sink. Other possible extra costs include a set of draining grooves and tap hole. The price will rise with the number of polished cut outs, sets of grooves and tap holes you have. As with sit on sinks the size of sink/s you can have will depend largely on the base unit below. If you want a bowl and a half but with two separate cut outs then you could consider the Blanco Ypsilon 340 - U and the Blanco Jota 160 - U. These two sinks will fit into a 600mm base.

As with many things at the moment people are working to a tight budget so it may be worth looking at a one and a half bowl but all in one. This way you only pay for one cut out. The Blanco Supreme 533- U or Franke equivalent ARX160 or the CDA Cum 16 which is more reasonably priced. Again all of these will go into a 600mm base unit.

Belfast and butler style sinks seem to go in and out of fashion. Some sit under the sink like an under-mounted sink - if this is the case then there will be similar sort of cost as with an under-mounted sink, depending on whether you have one or two sets of grooves. These days there is a lot more choice in ceramic sinks of all types so you should be able to find something to suit the dimensions that you have. If the worktop is shallow or the sink is s double one it may well be that you will have to have a separate slip or bar of granite to the rear of the sink otherwise this piece could break.

If the sink sits so that it overlaps the granite it would mean that the cut out doesn't have to be polished thus making the overall price cheaper. There are also some farmhouse styles sinks which sit completely from front to back of the worktop with no worktop behind them - in this case the granite butts up to the side which means there is no cost for a cut out at all. These sorts of sinks can look a bit too imposing if the kitchen is very small.

Complete worktop sink and roll top sinks went out of fashion for many years but have made a huge comeback in recent years , particularly in contemporary kitchens. They are hugely practical and make a massive statement. A run of steel contrasted with strong coloured units will have a huge impact - although they can be quite costly to buy they do save you in granite cost!

If in any doubt about what would work best for you don't be afraid to talk to your granite/worktop supplier for best advice.

Affordable Granite Ltd are based in Surrey but they install granite worktops all over the UK with a bespoke templating service

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