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The Kitchen Sink


fifi
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I'm actually wondering why the type of sink the Perlows installed -- which is a great idea conceptually -- isn't designed to be flush-mounted. It seems to me that if you joined it at the exact height of the countertop in order to create a smooth surface, and you used an extremely durable epoxy to close the seal, you wouldn't have a grech issue. But they always build those sinks to sit 1/4" or so above the countertop.

I totally agree with you. If fact, in the catalog photo, it looked flush to me.

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Yeah, the manufacturer's claim is that they can be "seam integrated" but if you look at standard cabinetry and standard countertop thickness I just don't see how it can be done without serious customization. Maybe they have thicker countertops in Europe or something.

I've gone back and forth on my opinion of tile countertops. I think they're better than most contractors want to let on. They're so cheap, and so easy to do on a DIY basis (my mother and I did all the tile work in my kitchen in two days and easily could have done countertops as well), there's obviously going to be an anti-tile sentiment at the retail and installation level. Kind of like how cast-iron gets no respect in housewares shops.

My only concern about tile is its long-term viability right in the sink area of a heavy-use kitchen (not to mention the mounting issues, which are complicated by tile). One strategy I saw employed to great effect -- this is one of the smartest kitchens I've ever seen from a cost/performance basis -- was to put in a small piece of black granite in a configuration just to accommodate the sink (with stove to left of sink) and 3' of countertop to the right of the sink. This is really the only high-impact active work area you need in a kitchen -- even a professional kitchen. Then this guy did the whole rest of his kitchen counters in very cheap tile -- like almost the same stuff you'd use in an office-building bathroom. But it looks great in context. Tricks with tile countertops are to get tiles that are squared off at the edges, to install them extremely tight, to grout flush to the surface of the tiles, and to use grout that isn't white or any light color. Black grout with white tiles is an exceptionally attractive and durable combination, for example.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm pretty sure Mercedes has customer approval ratings in the high 90's, too. That doesn't mean I can afford one!

And like fifi, I've always been pretty happy with laminates: 90% of the function for about 30% of the price. These days you can even get raised bullnose edges at minimal additional cost. And I can install it myself (FG, you can come help me put in the undermount sink; then we'll both know how).

I'm not a fan of big stretches of countertop tile. I am concerned about cracking and chipping (but not staining; bleach does work just fine), but the inherent uneveness of the surface -- it's just inconvenient, as far as I'm concerned, and creates sealing problems around the sink. But I would like a heat-impervious area -- something in granite or concrete or ceramic tile -- in close proximity to the oven, so I can pull hot stuff and just set it on a counter without having to find a trivet or pad. I has this arrangement in the last house, and it was one of those seemingly little things that made a huge difference in utility.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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But I would like a heat-impervious area -- something in granite or concrete or ceramic tile -- in close proximity to the oven, so I can pull hot stuff and just set it on a counter without having to find a trivet or pad. I has this arrangement in the last house, and it was one of those seemingly little things that made a huge difference in utility.

What a great idea, Dave. Maybe in my next house. The trouble with redesigning/remodeling is that you always think of ways to do it better the next time.

I'd also like a marble block for pastry - someday. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Ok... Marble slab is now added to the island. I don't do a lot of baking but maybe I would do more if I had one of those.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The other solution is a continuous stainless steel sink and counter. This is how the problem is handled in commercial applications, and it is flawless for their purposes.

yes. what i'd like to have, had i been able to find a size that would fit into our kitchen. costom made was way too expensive.

But the aesthetics leave something to be desired. I'd like a durable, functional surface. But I also want to cook in a place that's pleasant for me and the non-cooks in the house to look at -- it is a home, after all. Otherwise, I'd go back to cooking for a living!

i don't get that, though. what works well, looks good!

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I'd also like a marble block for pastry - someday.  :smile:

If you have some counter space available, it's no trouble to stick a marble slab on top of it. Standard cut marble isn't going to change the height of your countertop by even an inch. If you have a marble-and-granite shop near where you live, you might want to see if they have any scraps that are the right dimensions to set on top of an area of your counter. I personally don't think it even matters if you get the edges finished -- as long as it fits. Instant renovation.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Now I am curious... FG, what would you add given space and money? Go ahead... Tempt me.

Water filtration, hot water on demand, a sink big enough to be double but to have one of the basins be massive, a disposal (illegal and ill-advised in Manhattan apartments), and I'd probably have three sinks, one of which would be a big-ass sink, one of which would be a small task sink, and one of which would be that Kohler Pro CookCenter thing that boils water.

FG, the ban on these was lifted maybe 4 or 5 years ago. And they work like magic.

My Corian very deep sink has an Insinkerator and I would buy one for everytime I buy a sink again. And I hope that is not too often, for I love this new kitchen.

The Corian countertops are sensational to look at, but so pricey that I wonder maybe Granite would have been cheaper. The sink though, is superb, really deep and wide and big, and a dream come true for me. Since I cook alot and for large numbers.

I also have a high faucet and it makes the depth and size of the sink that much greater and makes cleaning of 16 Qt Stock pots easy and drama free.

I only have a single sink, but am happy with the size. It is the largest depth and width and length you can buy with Corian. It cost us a little more than what is given usually by this store with the Corian counters, but is well worth every penny spent for a very large sink.

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How do Corian counters take to hot dishes from the stove top and oven?

I am so new with this, I hardly have any experience with Corian.  I only know it looks very good.  And is very easy to clean.

Unfortunately Corian is not really heat resistant. They say it can withstand up to 212F without damage, but I wouldn't take the chance. On the plus side the material is easily repairable if you get a gouge or other damage to the surface.

My first choice for new countertops would be slate, with concrete running a close second.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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How do Corian counters take to hot dishes from the stove top and oven?

I am so new with this, I hardly have any experience with Corian.  I only know it looks very good.  And is very easy to clean.

Unfortunately Corian is not really heat resistant. They say it can withstand up to 212F without damage, but I wouldn't take the chance. On the plus side the material is easily repairable if you get a gouge or other damage to the surface.

My first choice for new countertops would be slate, with concrete running a close second.

Slate sounds wonderful. Why did I not think of it.

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I've put plenty of hot pots on my Corian by mistake and never caused any damage. I'm sure a red-hot cast-iron skillet would scar it, but if it's just the pot from boiling pasta it's not likely to be much of a problem, and at this point I've solved the non-problem completely (see below). Still, Granite or Silestone will be superior in that application -- in fact I think Silestone is probably the best countertop material available right now, better than Corian. But, if you have Corian or choose to buy it, the smartest move is inlaid steel rods on the part of the counter nearest your stove. These look really neat and they don't impede the use of your countertop for cutting boards and the like. You can also do a poor-man's version of that just by laying down a few pieces of tile on that part of the countertop. Or just do what I did and make sure the fabricator agrees to give you like six color-matched Corian cutting boards in a large size: the length should be the depth of your countertop minus about 2", and they should finish both sides (they'll usually agree to do this for free or cheap when you negotiate the total price). Later I figured out that I should always keep one near the stove. When you wreck one side, flip it over. Next year, pull out a new one.

kitchencounter1.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Now I am curious... FG, what would you add given space and money? Go ahead... Tempt me.

Water filtration, hot water on demand, a sink big enough to be double but to have one of the basins be massive, a disposal (illegal and ill-advised in Manhattan apartments), and I'd probably have three sinks, one of which would be a big-ass sink, one of which would be a small task sink, and one of which would be that Kohler Pro CookCenter thing that boils water.

FG, the ban on these was lifted maybe 4 or 5 years ago.

Tonight's topic is deja vu. happy32.gif

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Back to sinks....I had a Franke steel/nickel/chrome sink. It was huge - the biggest one they sold, undermounted (granite countertops).

Best thing about it was that when we went to sell the house 7 years post-remodeling, this sink looked so brand new that the buyers felt like they were getting a new kitchen. The finish on it was amazing - a bit like those chrome fenders on old 50's cars.

Nothing ever stained or dented and I gave that thing hell on a daily basis. It must have paid for itself 1000% in the resale.

Loved that sink.

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Still, Granite or Silestone will be superior in that application -- in fact I think Silestone is probably the best countertop material available right now, better than Corian.

Yesterday morning I gave thanks as I put my hot from the oven sheet pan with sizzing bacon (& grease) directly on my Silestone countertop. Previously, I would have had to make sure to have hot pads out or the stove top clear to place the pan on its heat resistant grates.

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I'd also like a marble block for pastry - someday. :smile:

If you have some counter space available, it's no trouble to stick a marble slab on top of it.

We've got a slab that sits on the counter and it works well. What I really want is a dedicated baking station lowered for easier kneading, etc.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I few thoughts on sinks and surrounding areas:

My husband just knocked out the bathroom adjacent to the kitchen and built a "long-term temporary" dishwashing area. We previously lacked a dishwasher and disposal. I bought a cheap ($99) sink at Home Depot which is big enough for a roasting pan, but not much else. It is, however, 12" deep, which I love. This sink will not make it to the permanent kitchen, but I am happy enough for now.

The biggest drawback is what I consider to be a major flaw in many sinks--the drain is in the very middle of the compartment. If the drain were off to any corner it would be much easier to reach under said roasting pan and move whatever gunk was backing up the water. I will search high and low for an offset drain.

Hubby did install a disposal for me and I don't have any problems with it being in the main (only) compartment. I guess I just scrape, stack to the side (again, easier if drain were properly located), and then set dishes in sink for cleaning.

Another bonus, I have always hated the standard height of counters. I may be a bit tall (5'7") but certainly not an Amazon. We designed the counters so that the tops are at 38". I love it and can't believe more people don't do that! Also, the dishwasher sits on a platform 10" off of the floor. My achin' back is loving it.

One other good idea that I have seen, but not lived with...my friends are avid composters and they cut a hole into their countertops and inserted rails to hold a bin flush to the bottom of the counter. There is a small lid that covers the hole. The entire set up is convenient, out of the way, and extremely low maintenance. One key element is that the bin itself is not too big. This means they empty it frequently and that it is easy to clean in that nice big, deep sink.

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Another bonus, I have always hated the standard height of counters...

I envy you! I am 6' 5" and it gets to be very painful when I do a lot of counter work, the dishes, etc. Some day when I win the lottery (ha!) I'll install a foot rail. It works in bars and the US Post Office (whatta combo!) so I guess that would work for me.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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The biggest drawback is what I consider to be a major flaw in many sinks--the drain is in the very middle of the compartment. If the drain were off to any corner it would be much easier to reach under said roasting pan and move whatever gunk was backing up the water. I will search high and low for an offset drain.

I was looking through a plumbing supply catalog and there was this supplier of 18 gauge stainless sinks and I found my sink. The problem is that I can't for the life of me remember the supplier's name. They had the single sinks with the offset drains. BTW, I had never thought of that and you make a very good point. I searched the threads where we talked about that and I can't find my post to save me so I can't find the name of the supplier. I think if you go to a plumbing supply place they will know. Point is... You can get that offset drain.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I'm fortunate enough to be able to get my stuff from a wholesale plumbing supply house with a fairly wide variety of makes and models. I'm after a long (wide) sink with an offset drain myself so, when I find out what's available, I'll put it up here.

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Thank you Rachel. It was the Blanco catalog that I was looking at. They are pretty pricey. Nick, if you find a more economical alternative, let us know. The Blanco was 18 gauge.

editted to add: Damn. Who knew that there was so much to think about when considering a sink. I thought that I had fully considered the subject when I started this thread. Well, you guys sure put me in my place. :biggrin: Several things have come up that I hadn't thought about... undermounting, offset drain. Just goes to show the value of this most excellent site.

Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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