- Stainless steel continues to be improved and upgraded. The newer 16- and 18-gauge sinks are thicker and less noisy than their less-expensive predecessors. Stainless-steel sinks contain a percentage of chromium and nickel, which is indicated by numbers such as 18/10 (18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel). The metal imparts a rich glow and adds corrosion resistance. Finishes range from a mirrorlike shine to a satin luster.
- Cast iron is a sturdy material that is enamel fired on an iron form. These durable sinks lessen noise and vibration more than other materials but can be heavy for installation. An added advantage is that cast iron sinks are available in a wide range of colors.
- Composite sinks can be made of quartz, granite, or other materials mixed with an acrylic- or polyester-resin base. They usually feature speckled color, resistance to stains and scratches, and easy care. They also can be expensive.
- Vitreous china, originally made for bathrooms, is now also used for kitchen sinks. The glazed clay material is hard and nonporous with a glasslike shine. Similar to fireclay in construction, durability, and cost, vitreous china is less porous because of the nature of the construction process. It is easier to mold double bowl sinks from vitreous china than from fireclay.
- Solid surfacing, made from a polyester or acrylic base, is chosen for its stonelike appearance and easy care.
- Do your homework. Browse Web sites and magazines that compare current models and features. Consumer Reports is an excellent source for unbiased information and recommendations. Visit: www.consumerreports.org/
Continued on page 2: Bowls and Mounting