Kitchen Sinks

With a premium being placed on kitchen design and appeal, kitchen sink manufacturers are making sinks that blend in with the overall interiors

By Seema Gupta

The kitchen sink is one of the hallmark features of a well-designed kitchen, having emerged as an integral part of a kitchen's overall design scheme. While functionality and durability are of prime importance when selecting the brand and model, kitchen designers are also experimenting with different materials, shapes, sizes, finishes, and colours. Fortunately for them, the market is offering a spate of choices that can fit into any home style, and budget.

Hindware Marino Handmade Sink
Hindware Marino Handmade sink

Rakesh Kaul HSIL

Commenting on the trends, Rakesh Kaul, President and Chief, Consumer Business Vertical, HSIL Ltd., says, "Earlier, sinks were simply viewed as a functional piece in the kitchen. Today, they are taking center stage, especially with HNI and upper strata of homes opting for open or partial open kitchens, there is more focus on making the kitchen sink area attractive too. The materials have also evolved over the decades; till the 1960s, clay and porcelain sinks were in vogue, but now quartz stone sinks are trending. In between, metal sinks like copper and iron ruled the market; but the clear winner till date has been stainless steel sinks as they continue to attract buyers and hold a market lead."

Abhijit Khodape
Steel Art Sinks Blanco
SteelArt Sinks Blanco
Abhijit Khodape, Product Manager (Sanitary) at Hafele, says, "The kitchen sink market, like the furniture market, has seen quite a shift over the last few years. Today, customers are more aware of the benefits of installing high quality sinks in their kitchens. As a result, popular Indian and imported brands are surfacing in the market and attracting the keen eye of informed customers. Growing foreign travel by customers is also one of the key influencers that has brought a shift in their focus towards popular international kitchen trends in design and functionality. A premium is also being placed on visual appeal."

Making kitchen sinks attractive

Addressing the rising demand, manufacturers and suppliers are offering a host of accessories to enable kitchen designers to create design options, permutations and combinations, such that the sink impacts the overall look of the kitchen to meet personal needs and preferences of the user. For high-end kitchens that frequently cater to large gatherings, manufacturers are offering large sized, commercial type sinks, depending on space and utility. These come with complementary faucets and accessories.

Blanco Silgranit Sink
Blanco Silgranit Sink
Affirming this trend, Khodape says, "There is a demand for patterns, sinks, and faucets that connect with the overall design scheme of the kitchen. The variety of materials and colours in the market has expanded the possibilities of seamless amalgamation of kitchen sinks with worktops for a uniform, aesthetic appearance. Apart from this, with the ever diminishing availability of time for household chores, customers now want smart sinks that are easy to clean and maintain."

According to Kaul, the traditional stainless steel sink in single bowl continues to enjoy the largest market share. Demand for this traditional sink is driven in part by owners remodeling older traditional style kitchens. "No matter what the current trends are, for the design to be harmonious, the style of a kitchen still dictates what its fittings should look like to a significant degree." He recommends AISI 8/18 304 grade stainless steel in 1mm thickness due to its ability to resist shocks, rusting, and stains.

Range of materials

On offer are sinks made of stainless steel, porcelain, cast iron, copper, solid surfaces, Silgranit, composites, and concrete, with single, double, and multiple bowls. Stainless Steel (SS) is a long standing popular choice in Indian homes given the material's durability, easy cleaning, and affordable price range. However, the steel's grade is important, as a lower priced SS sink is likely to be made of a thinner gauge metal, which means it will be less noise absorbent, and quick to dent. Sinks made of thinner gauges can scratch easily unless brushed finished, plus they have to be wiped dry after use, else, they show dried water spots. A high grade SS sink has a long life, plus it matches the kitchen design as most appliances are of stainless steel.

Consumers are also checking out the porcelain-coated cast iron sink, which is heavy, durable, noise absorbent, and available in attractive colours. The glossy porcelain enamel coating provides hardness and durability, though the enamel can wear away or chip over time. The sink is easy to clean and maintain, but abrasive cleaners should be avoided as they can dull its gloss.

Enameled steel sinks have an enamel coating over a steel base, while the more expensive models have a resin coating, which makes the sink more durable, thicker, and more noise absorbent. They are a good alternative to enameled cast iron sinks, lighter in weight, and more economical too. They come in a variety of colors and are easy to clean, but can be noisier than cast iron sinks as the material is thinner.

Solid surface sinks allow kitchen designers more versatility in design as they can match or contrast the solid surface sink and mould it into a solid surface counter. The result is a seamless installation and a durable, easy to clean, attractive sink. When installed with a solid surface counter-top, there will be no ridges or edges where dirt and grime can get lodged. Since the color penetrates the material, scratches are less noticeable. On the downside, one must avoid placing very hot or heavy pans in them as they can crack or even break under the impact.

Hacker Kitchen
Hacker Kitchen

Kitchen sinks made from stones such as granite, soapstone, travertine, marble, and onyx, are heavy with a robust, durable surface, and high sound-absorbance. The overall kitchen designs must provide the right setting to offset their rustic look. Also, as they are heavy, the cabinetry below will have to be sturdy. Quartz stone sinks have high aesthetic appeal and come in many colors. They do not dent, scratch, stain or rust, are noise-free, and even unbreakable.

Acrylic kitchen sinks have a smooth, non-porous surface that is resistant to staining and easy to clean. They are lighter than cast iron and fireclay and more economical too.

Sinks made from composites come in standard configurations and offer endless colour options, and different shapes and sizes. Composites comprise of materials such as crushed granite or quartz and a resin binder. These sinks may appear similar to solid surface ones and can have a smooth surface or a slightly rough texture. They are durable, resistant to scratching and chipping. However, the rougher textures are less easy to clean as compared to smooth surfaces, and the finish may appear dull. Hafele's Blanco sink is one such example.

Informs Khodape, "Silgranit sinks are scientifically proven to be resistant to scratches, stains, and heat due to their inherent composition. The material lends itself to beautiful designing and comes in a variety of colours. Hafele's Blanco brand of sinks have a non-porous sealed surface that's easy to clean, offers superior durability, and a patented hygiene protection formula. They come with a range of faucets that complement the series in design and colour options. Silgranit is a patented material by Blanco."

Concrete sinks are usually custom-made and bring a distinct look into kitchen interiors. They are usually integrated with the kitchen counter-top to create an attractive seamless look, and it is possible to incorporate any design feature such as drain boards, inlays, a different bowl shape or size. On the downside, they are heavy, so they require additional support for installation, and the cabinets below will also require a strong base/support. Since they are customized so they are costlier too.

Parmeet Bhalla
Convow Inc, a unit of BGSB Concrete Solutions Pvt. Ltd, is offering customized concrete kitchen sinks made of specially engineered cement. "The technique is called hollow casted micro cement. It is engineered cement for making decorative and lightweight products and we can achieve any shape and size in over 25 customized colours. Concrete sinks have a more natural appearance with hand casted effects. We design sinks as per the working/Autocad drawings with exact measurements, with easy to install solutions and fix drain/tap fittings," informs Parmeet Bhalla, CMD, BGSB Concrete Solutions.

"By using this material, one can avoid issues faced with real casted concrete products. Micro concrete sinks are 100% dust-proof, resistant to cracks, water, and scratch, and practically unbreakable, besides being lightweight. What's more, micro concrete is a green material as it can be regenerated and recycled. It can be customized, is reusable/repairable, plus, sinks made of it are of zero maintenance. We offer a 5-year warranty on the kitchen sinks, provided there is no physical damage to them. However, these sinks are not easily available in the Indian market, as there is less awareness about this material as yet. Currently, we are supplying to the hospitality sector and to spas, and customized sinks to the retail customers," adds Parmeet.

Designer Sinks

For homeowners looking for a designer touch, Hafele offers its in-house brand Argento SS handmade sinks and Splash Punching bowls in SS 304 grade with a thickness of 1.2mm, an asphalt coating for increased durability, and special sound deadening padding for quiet operations. The European satin R10 finish makes the sink elegant and easy to clean.

White Farm Sinks Ikea
The latest addition to Hafele's collection is the super-premium SteelArt range under the Blanco series. Made of high-grade stainless steel, they are an elegant choice for metallic kitchens. They are hygienic and food neutral, lightfast and stain-resistant, strong and elastic against blows, drops and wear, have joint-free worktops, and are easy to clean and maintain. All of Hafels's four brands of sinks can be installed as under-mount, top-mount, flush-mount, and sandwich installation. The company is offering a two-year warranty against faulty workmanship or manufacturing defect on its kitchen sinks.

Kaul at HSIL also feels that sinks are moving towards hand-made varieties that come in customized sizes and shapes, and are more appealing than the traditional machine molded sinks, plus, they are a perfect fit for modular kitchens. He informs that Hindware Kitchen Ensemble from the house of HSIL has launched stainless steel hand-made square kitchen sinks. The range includes four different series namely Domingo, Superio, Marino, and Federico, ranging from Rs.14,590 to Rs.39,590. Crafted manually with high precision, features include Clean Drain Technology with a specially designed Drain Coupling that prevents choking, and effectively filters out the residue. The ceramic undercoating and a rubber pad enable dual sound absorption mechanism. Built with a 1.2mm thick stainless steel 304 food grade sheet, the sinks are less vulnerable to dents or bending, and are rust-proof and anti-bacterial. Curvish edges and X Drain Grooves prevent food from sticking on to the sides, and help in maintaining hygiene in the kitchen. The sinks are warranted against manufacturing defects (if discovered at the time of purchase) for a period of 25 years.

Sinks made of copper and bronze are chosen for their distinctive look and high aesthetic appeal, and they are non-rusting. However, they are pretty expensive, and need regular polishing to maintain their shine and look.


Kohler Smart Divide Sink
Kohler Smart Divide Sink
The kitchen sink has gained a lot of attention from kitchen designers, so much so that it has acquired a distinct identity and is not simply an area to wash utensils in. The concept of having a second sink that can be used while preparing food is also growing. Another trend across Europe and Western countries is the basin-style extra deep farmhouse sink. The faucets and other accessories are installed onto the countertop either behind the basin or on the side. Popular materials are white porcelain, enamel, fired clay, stainless steel, copper, and natural stone in single or double basin.

Much like the sinks seen at star hotels and at commercial institutions is the trough sink that allows several people to work alongside. They are longer, leaner with multiple faucets and drains, and are designed for servicing large gatherings.

Kohler's Smart Divide sink in cast iron and stainless steel features a low-profile bowl divider between the adjacent bowls. The user can convert the double-bowl sink into a single bowl to accommodate larger pots and pans that would otherwise be difficult to fit in one bowl. The sink design allows enough room to wash larger items more conveniently while still offering the benefits of a double sink. The clearance between the faucet and divider on a traditional double-bowl sink is minimal. Placing larger pots and pans between the two can cause damage to both the faucet and the sink's finish. But since the divider is half the height of that found in conventional double-bowl sinks, the Smart Divide kitchen sinks provide optimal clearance between the faucet and the divider.