If you’ve read up on kitchenCRATE, you’ll know it’s a happy little marriage between limited selection choices and customization.  For example, you can choose from 12 different granite colors (a broad number to choose from yet not overwhelming) but you can choose from an endless number backsplash patterns and colors.

One kitchenCRATE element that offers a wide-range of options is the kitchen sink.

We’ll spend the next few blog posts talking about sinks and how to choose the right one for you.  We’ll cover finishes here, and then move on to shapes and then installation methods.

So here’s some pointers for choosing a kitchen sink finish:

Step 1: Choose Your Finish

Modern kitchen sinks are typically limited to three major categories: cast iron, stainless steel and engineered stone.  Sure, you can find additional materials for a sink, but within the realm of reason these are the three major players.  Here are our ratings of these three major types as well as a description of each:

Cast Iron

Cast Iron

Durability: 9/10

Breadth of Available Colors: 9/10

Ease of Cleaning: 8/10

Cost: $200-500

Cast iron sinks are made from cast iron (obviously) and coated with an enamel finish.  Manufacturers like Kohler and Moen have worked diligently over the past decades to increase the durability and expand the color selections within the world of cast iron.  Gone are the days when one drop-of-a-pan will crack your cast iron sink.  They’re extremely durable now and normal wear will not cause damage for decades.  A key advantage to cast iron sinks is the breadth of colors to choose from.  For a reasonable up-charge there are at least 20 different colors to choose, depending on the sink shape.

Stainles Steel

Stainless Steel

Durability: 6/10

Breadth of Available Colors: 3/10

Ease of Cleaning: 7/10

Cost: $125 – $400

Stainless steel is a classic sink finish.  Very common in modern designs, stainless steel has a devoted fan base among homeowners, and for good reason: it looks very cool and is easy to clean compared to more porous materials.  Alas, stainless steel is prone to scratches and many folks who like it enjoy the character that minor scratches bring over the years.  It’s a patina, of sorts.  When dealing with stainless steel sinks, be sure you choose a lower gauge steel (the lower the gauge  the thicker the material).  The cheapest of stainless steel sinks will usually ave a higher gauge  and thus be thinner material more prone to damage.  Also, be sure to follow the care instructions that come with your stainless steel sink.  Some cleaning materials or methods can permanently damage a stainless steel finish.

Engineered Stone

Engineered Stone

Durability: 7/10

Breadth of Available Colors: 10/10

Ease of Cleaning: 9/10

Cost: $300-1,000

Engineered stone is a newer finish for sinks.  You may have heard it referred to as silgranit or silstone or something to that effect.  Most manufacturers have their own brand names.  At the end of the day, though, engineered stone sinks are fabricated from an epoxy resin infused with stone and then formed around a mould.  Engineered stone offers some very unique looks and is easy to clean.  The durability of these sinks is contingent upon the chemical make-up of the material and the quality of manufacturing.  Engineered stone sinks can range from exceptionally durable to somewhat fragile.  It’s a bit more risky than either cast iron or stainless steel.

So there are the three most common kitchen sink material options.  Next up, we’ll look at choosing a sink shape.

KitchenCRATE is a 7-day, $15,000 kitchen remodel offered in Northern California and Reno, Nevada.  If you’re interested in learning more, just fill out the simple form on the top right side of this page, and we’ll get back to you immediately.

Scott Monday (email) is Founder and CEO of Trinity Renovation, Inc., the parent company of kitchenCRATE.  Learn more about Scott at Google+ or on Facebook.