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Kitchen Remodel
January 19, 2012

Planning Your KitchenYour kitchen-remodeling project is large or small, you need a plan. Not something sketched on a napkin or jotted down on a few scraps of paper. You need a solid, realistic, accurate plan of what you want, need, and can afford....

More articles on Kitchen Remodeling

Sink with drinking water faucet

A separate drinking water faucet

Many homeowners now have water-purifying equipment for their water supply, which means a dedicated drinking water faucet (tap) at the sink. So instead of filtering water in the faucet (as you do with a filtering faucet) you filter the water before it comes out and have a separate faucet dedicated to dispensing that water. Sometimes the tap is installed in the “extra” hole in the sink normally used for the pullout spray hose or soap dispenser. If, however, you’ve filled up the sink’s factory-drilled holes and you want a drinking water tap, you’ll need to either drill an additional hole in the sink or drill a hole in the countertop right next to the sink. Most filtering units mount under the cabinet and don’t take up much room.

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A traditional chrome kitchen faucet

What’s new in faucet colors and finishes

Cruise down the faucet aisle of your local home center and you’ll see mostly good old chrome finished faucets on display. Why? Because chrome is still the most popular finish, even if it does look like the one in the kitchen of the house you grew up in. Besides being traditional, it works well color-wise with just about any sink color. And it’s pretty easy to keep clean. Just wipe it down with a damp rag and dry it off. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see colors and finish combinations that your parents could never imagine. Today’s faucet colors range from white to biscuit to bronze to black. And some elegant brass-finish faucets come with a lifetime warranty. 

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A classy ink, faucet, and sprayer set up

Is two better than one? Deciding on a faucet handle design

Faucets come in two handle setups or designs: A single, lever-style or a two-handled version. Both do the same thing — allow you to turn the water on and off and control the flow as it’s running. So, if they do the same thing, how can there be such a divided camp of people when it comes to design? Let’s look at what makes each one unique to help you decide which design is right for you.

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A kitchen sink faucet and sprayer

Considering the faucet and sprayer setup

Until recently, everyone’s faucet setup was basically the same: A faucet was positioned in the middle of the sink’s back lip with a separate pullout spray hose positioned on the right. Although many people still want and like the traditional faucet and sprayer setup, you have some other options. For example, some of the newer sink designs have the faucet position slightly offset, giving your sink an attractive yet different appearance and design element.

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A multiple bowl kitchen sink with movable faucet

Lefty or righty? Choosing the multiple-bowl setup that works best for you

Which hand you want your sink to be isn’t too difficult to figure out, after you figure out what a hand is in regard to sinks. The hand is the direction you work in that feels most comfortable. So, for example, if you wash dishes in the left sink bowl and rinse them in the right bowl, then your sink is considered left-handed because you work from left to right. Knowing which direction you work in helps you decide which bowl size you want on which side. For example, if you wash dishes left-handed (from left to right), you’d most likely want the larger bowl on the left for washing and the smaller bowl on the right for rinsing.

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A sink with three bowls.

Looking into sink bowls

The first question you should ask when replacing your sink is: How many bowls do I need or want? (Bowl refers to the water holding or food and waste collecting compartments of the sink.) The second question you should ask is: What bowl depth and shape do I prefer?

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A composite kitchen sink

Composite: Making it fancy with faux marble

Though relatively new in the industry, faux marble or composite sinks are gaining popularity. They’re molded from acrylic resins and quartz compounds and, much like a solid surface sink, can be an integrated part of a countertop. Composite sinks are much more heat- and stain-resistant than solid surface products and offer more color choices. On the downside, composites are more likely to scratch and you should never use an abrasive cleaner on the surface. A sharp knife also leaves a mark on the surface if you forget to use a cutting board.

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A solid surface sink

Solid surface: So sleek and smooth!

Solid surface sinks are frequently an integral part of a solid surface countertop, creating a seamless, watertight assembly that looks sleek and smooth. The material is a mixture of mineral compounds and polyester or resin. These sinks are easy to clean, and you can buff out scratches. They rarely stain or chip, but they won’t tolerate a hot pan, so make sure you cool a hot pan by running cold water over it before you set it in the sink.

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A cast iron kitchen sink with yellow daisies

Enameled: The power of cast iron and steel

If you want a brightly colored sink, then an enameled (sometimes called porcelain-enameled) cast-iron or steel sink is the way to go. Enameled sinks are available in vivid colors and are also extremely durable. Today’s enameled sinks are less likely to chip than older models. However, even the best quality enameled sink will chip if a heavy item, such as a cast-iron skillet, is dropped onto it. Lighter colored enameled sinks also have a tendency to stain more easily than darker sinks and may require frequent scouring.

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A stainless steel sink inlaid on a purple marble countertop

Metal: Affordable and easy to clean

Metal sinks, also known as stainless steel sinks, are the most popular type for a few reasons: They’re durable, they’re really easy to keep clean, and they’re affordable. You can buy a decent stainless steel sink for around $150, but expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600 for a quality stainless steel sink. Low-end sinks sell for under $50. This may be okay for your cabin, but you won’t be happy with its performance for day-to-day use because they’re noisy and the bowls are very shallow. And the low-end models have the least amount of character or charm because of the plainness in color and appearance. But designs and styles have really made some great strides forward, so you do have more choices than in the past.

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