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September, 2010

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Don't Let Sink Shopping Be a

Don't Let Sink Shopping Be a "Draining" Experience

How to Buy a Kitchen Sink without Getting Soaked!

It's one of the most used items in your home, but how much do you really know about the kitchen sink? Which materials are the most scratch or stain resistant? Which can withstand hot pots and pans from the oven or stove? Are there certain sinks that will chip and others that won't? Which sinks perform better - stainless, composite, cast iron or solid surface?

Obviously, not all sinks are created equal! While you may love a sink's cool colors and neat shape, it's important to distinguish if it will be able to stand the test of time. After all, with the amount of use (and abuse) it gets, you want something that will look good for years.

So, how much do you know about buying a sink? "Moen has conducted extensive research including in-aisle surveys with sink shoppers. Most don't understand the different materials from which each sink is made, the durability of these materials and what the various price points mean," said Kevin Campbell, Sink Product Manager for Moen Incorporated. "Consumers should research sink options just like they would appliances or anything else they select for a new kitchen. There are many choices and each homeowner must take into account kitchen sink needs for his or her particular home including style, durability, performance and price."

Read more to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of today's sink choices and select the sink that's right for you.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the most popular kitchen sink style on the market and provides a complementary match to commercial-styled appliances. Today's offerings include a vast selection of shapes, styles and configurations. Moen's Lancelot® line, for example, is available as a large single bowl or as D-shaped, oval, round, trapezoid and standard square-shaped bowls. By mixing and matching these shapes, consumers can customize their entire kitchen around the sink.

Overall, stainless sinks offer many benefits including resistance to chipping, cracking or peeling. They are available in both undermount and overmount models. Undermount models are the most appealing to consumers as they provide a seamless transition from the countertop to the sink.

When looking at stainless steel sinks, it's important to find the thickness or gauge of the steel, as this is how quality is measured. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the steel and the higher the quality of the sink. So, for instance, an 18-gauge sink is more durable than a 23-gauge model.

Another feature to look for in a stainless sink, is sound-deadening ability - how loud will the noise be when something is dropped into the sink, such as a piece of silverware. Some sinks offer increased sound deadening by using under the sink spray coatings, such as Moen's SoundSHIELD™, and special sound pads underneath the bowl.

The only disadvantage of a stainless steel sink is it can be prone to scratching and water spotting. To combat this problem, choose a model with a satin finish. "Although the 'mirror finish' may look nice in the showroom, these sinks have a hard time holding up to the normal wear and tear of a kitchen environment," says Campbell. "A sink with a satin finish provides additional protection from scratching and rusting."

Composite

The use of composite sinks is growing rapidly, but the composite category causes sink shoppers confusion since there are several different types on the market, including popular granite and quartz styles.

Granite

The most durable sink on the market today is granite composite. Thanks to an extremely high density of rock particles at the sink's surface, these sinks offer superior scratch, chip and heat resistance. MoenStone® Granite, for example, resists scratching, cutting and staining.

"These sinks will weather hot pans, dropped utensils, tomato sauce stains and other harsh conditions beautifully," noted Campbell. "And, they offer heat resistance to 535 degrees Fahrenheit, which means a pan can go from stove to sink without burning or marring the surface."

Granite-based sinks can be installed as undermounts, a much requested option in today's homes with granite countertops and are available in many different color options and bowl configurations.

Quartz Composite

With a typical combination of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler, quartz composites can resist everyday cuts, scuffs and dents and can easily stand up to harsh cleaning materials and liquids. These sinks are a step below granite-based sinks in terms of wear and durability.

Quartz composite sinks are available in a variety of colors. Since the color is uniform throughout, the material never loses its original color. Pots and pans can usually go right from stove to sink without causing damage.

Cast Iron Sinks

Because of its traditional look, some homeowners still prefer a cast iron sink. These sinks feature an iron base coated with an enamel finish. The main disadvantage to cast iron is it may chip or scratch, exposing the black surface underneath. When this surface is exposed, it can often lead to rusting. In addition, due to cast iron's high degree of thermal conductivity, hot water in the basin does not hold its temperature for very long when compared to other materials.

When it comes to installation, cast iron is one of the most difficult because the sinks are heavy and bulky in nature. Also, cast iron offers a very limited amount of undermount installation options.

On the positive side, the latest cast iron sinks come in an array of colors. If you are remodeling an older home and want to keep its original charm, a cast iron sink provides an air of authenticity to your kitchen. In addition, it is a great way to create a country farmhouse feel in any kitchen - new or old.

The best advice? Do your homework before you go sink shopping. By using the information found in this article, you should be able to determine which sink is right for you - and it shouldn't be a 'draining' experience.

For more information about Moen's kitchen sink products, including the Lancelot Big Single, click here ( http://www.moen.com/kitchen-bar/sinks/_/N-687 )

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