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  • Writer's pictureMarni Jameson

Kitchen Sink Debate Divides Household

As he was about to close the deal to buy Twitter, Elon Musk walked into the company’s headquarters carrying, of all things, a kitchen sink. The moment, captured on video, prompted the world to wonder why.

Me, I wanted to know whether the sink had a single or double basin. That was the subject of a raging debate at my house. My husband, DC, and I ─ now in the too-late-to-turn-back stage of a kitchen remodel ─ had drawn the lines.

I wanted a kitchen sink with one big basin. He wanted a sink split in two. This difference had devolved into an arms-crossed, nose-in-air, leave-the-room kind of dispute. We were a house divided over a divider.

Our current 20-year-old stainless steel kitchen sink, which came with the house, has two basins, a small one on the left with a disposal, and a larger one on the right. DC likes that arrangement. He can scrape and rinse on one side, wash in the other. I’d rather one big tub that can fit a turkey roaster or a small dog.

“Look,” I argue, “even the richest, smartest man in the world has a single-basin sink.” The video clip indeed showed the quirky Chief Twit, as Musk calls himself, carrying a single-basin sink around the San Francisco headquarters, saying, “Let that sink in!”

“I’m sure Elon Musk doesn’t wash dishes,” DC said, alluding to the fact that though I cook, he does most of the dishes. So there’s that. Kind of pulls the plug on my argument.

Nonetheless, I seek out second opinions. I ask, without bias, the designer I am working with, the stone countertop installer, and two plumbing supply salespeople, who collectively have installed a bajillion kitchens, what they recommend. The result: 4-0 in favor of one basin.

Then, I turn to Facebook, and take a straw poll, which quickly reveals that folks feel veeeerrrry strongly about their sinks. The single vs. double basin debate is right up there with the toilet paper over or under debate, another domestic detail DC and I disagree on. The result: Two out of three voters favored a single-basin kitchen sink, though both camps had passionate defenders. Here’s a sampling:

· One large, deep single sink. My husband changed ours for a double, and I've never forgiven him.

· I have the best of both worlds, a dual sink, but the right side is large and deep, the left side is smaller, shallow and has a garbage disposal. It is perfect for our household.

· I purchased a home with one large farmhouse sink. I have always preferred a 70/30 split. Fast forward: I love the large sink and will never go back. Everything fits.

I share my findings with DC. No matter. He still wants two basins. “I’m the one who does the dishes,” he said. “I like a split sink. If you want a single basin, you can start doing the dishes.”

I let that sink in.

Because choosing a kitchen sink involves more than deciding whether to have one basin or two, DC and I decide to agree on what we can agree on, and temporarily table the basin debate, secretly hoping the other party will stop caring.

Dennis Twomey, owner of Millenia Bath, in Longwood, Fla., has been selling sinks and faucets for over 30 years. He walked me through the factors to consider when choosing the most used sink in the house:

· Size. Most sinks have a cabinet underneath. The size of that cabinet determines how big your sink can be. Measure the dimensions inside the base cabinet side to side and front to back to make sure your sink will fit. You also want to leave enough workspace next to the sink to prepare food or stack dishes.

· Placement. Under the sink, note where the drain and disposal will go, as well as the soap dispenser or the filtered water system if you add them. Those components along with the sink’s depth will impact how much usable storage space will remain.

· Type of mount. Drop in, undermount or apron-front sinks are the three most common options. If you’re replacing an existing drop-in (or overmount) sink and not replacing the counter, you’ll want another overmount sink. However, if you’re building from scratch or replacing the counter, consider an undermount. It looks sleeker and is easier to clean since the edges won’t trap water and dirt. Apron-front sinks, have a panel that extends over the front edge of the cabinetry, are popular, especially in farmhouse-style kitchens.

· Accessories. If you’re installing a new counter, installers will want to know how many holes to cut around the sink for the faucet. That will depend on the faucet handle configuration, and also whether you add features like a counter button for the garbage disposal, a soap dispenser or a filtered water tap. Know this in advance.

· Material. The most common sinks are made of stainless steel, cast iron, composite (granite chips mixed with resin), and fireclay. According to Twomey, about 65 percent of the kitchen sinks he sells are stainless steel. Stainless is affordable and durable, though it will show scratches. Cast iron and composite each account for about 15 percent of his sales, while fireclay, a type of ceramic, accounts for the remaining 5 percent. Cast iron sinks, which are poured into a mold then coated with baked-on enamel glaze, will take a beating and clean up well, but cost more. Composite sinks are also very durable, and moderately priced, though don’t have the shine of other materials. Fireclay has a beautiful smooth surface, but it can chip more easily if you drop a heavy pot in it.

· Number of basins. This ultimately comes down to the preference of the household’s chief dishwasher. Sigh. We chose a cast iron sink with two basins, one large one small, because I don’t want to do more dishes. And that’s called marriage.

CAPTION: Apron-front kitchen sinks like this one are popular today especially in farmhouse-style kitchens. These are best incorporated during new construction. Installing them afterward will require some retrofitting. Ala2017bn|Dreamstime

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Nov 28, 2022

I wouldn't have a composite granite sink if it were free! We put one in years ago during a remodel, it was black and gorgeous. But we lived in Orlando...with notoriously hard water. In no time, it was crusted with white mineral build up. Over time, the area around the drains wore when water drips on concrete over time. It was truly awful. I had to oil the sink to get it to shine at all. One thing you didn't mention is sink ACCESSORIES. My new sink (new build) has ridges that hold a strainer tray, a cutting board, a veggie holder, etc. WOW! It's amazing how that small change makes the sink SO much more usable! …

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