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Things to Know Before Purchasing Your Kitchen Sink

Things to Know Before Purchasing Your Kitchen Sink

January is infamous for New Year’s resolutions. From weight loss and healthier eating to job promotions and world travel, it seems people create resolutions for everything but the kitchen sink! If you’re considering a kitchen remodel this year, or you’re building a new home, you may be setting time-related resolutions in the New Year for your build job. Soon, you’ll be shopping around for household appliances of all kinds and picking out a new tile backsplash. But don’t forget the kitchen sink.

Kitchen sinks aren’t usually the most expensive part of your investment, so they’re frequently overlooked or selected at the last second. They’re pretty expensive to remove and replace, though, even if the sink itself is affordable. There are two things to consider in order to make sure you’re choosing the right sink the first time: how will you (or the plumber) install it, and what is it made of?

What type of mounting style should I choose for my kitchen?

A mounting style is simply the technique the plumber uses to install your sink. Most homeowners base this decision around the overall appearance and ease of cleaning, but there are a couple other features to keep in mind when deciding.

Tap Kitchen Sink Sink Basin Drain Faucet

The simplest and most straightforward installation in new kitchens is a drop-in sink. A hole is cut in the countertop, and the sink is lowered into the opening and sealed. Drop-ins are advantageous because they will work with any countertop and tend to be more affordable sinks (both to purchase and install).However, they tend to be more difficult to clean — food can be caught between the lip and the counter.

 

Elegant kitchen furniture

Farmhouse sinks, also called apron sinks, rest on the very front of the cabinet; there is no counter surface at the front of the sink. Many homeowners prefer this exposed-front style because you can easily reach into the sink without worrying about water pooling on the counter and running over the edge as you wash dishes. Keep in mind that farmhouse sinks require reinforced, custom cabinetry, as the heavy sink is installed right over the top.

 

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Undermount sinks are one of the more popular styles of sink installation. The sink is attached to the underside of the countertop using a high strength epoxy, so there is no lip on the edge of the sink — water and crumbs can be wiped easily into the sink. Homeowners choose this style for its sleek look and because it is easy to clean. The main drawback is that it becomes more difficult to replace your sink in the future, as the entire countertop has to be removed. 

What’s the best material for kitchen sinks?

Not all sinks are created equal. When considering what your future sink is made of, think of what’s most important to you — is an easily cleaned sink more important than one that matches the counters? Will scratches and wear-and-tear marks bother you? Some homeowners are very particular about the kitchen sink material, while others want the sink that gets them the most bang for their buck.

stainless steel

Stainless steel is a popular, affordable choice in comparison to the other materials used for kitchen sinks. Stainless steel is heat and stain resistant, so you can throw hot pots and acidic liquids like red wine into the sink without worrying. Stainless steel is also a nice choice for a sink if you’re choosing stainless steel appliances, as more of your kitchen will utilize the material already. The only warning about stainless steel is that it’s very prone to scratch marks. Avoid a mirror finish stainless steel; a brushed steel will help hide minor scratches much more effectively.

 

drop in sinkStone sinks tend to be the most expensive option available, and for good reason. Composite granite, like the photo, won’t show scratches and marks theway stainless steel will. Stone is very durable and comes in a wide variety of color options. If you are building your kitchen from scratch, you should consider a sink made of the same stone as your countertop for a sleek, seamless look. There’s only one caution for stone sinks — inspect it before it’s installed. While a massive stone sink is nearly indestructible once installed, it is at risk for damage during transit. 

 

Kitchen sink and counter

Porcelain or fireclay sinks are a must for all-white kitchens. They’re similarly priced to stainless steel, and are very water-resistant and easy to clean. Unfortunately, these types of sinks are not friendly to a dropped pot. They tend to chip over time, but can be repaired professionally or with a DIY hardware store kit. A fireclay or porcelain sink will be very heavy, so be sure to check with your builder and make sure that the countertop can support the weight. Porcelain also will have the widest variety of color choices, ensuring your kitchen can look one-of-a-kind. 

 

Do you have a kitchen remodel in mind for this year? We can help you find options that fit your budget, style and function, so that your kitchen is beautiful to see and easy to use. Give us a call today, or send us a message on our website.

How to Winter-Proof Your Home’s Plumbing

How to Winter-Proof Your Home’s Plumbing

Despite vibrant summer seasons, Wisconsin is undoubtedly a state with icy winters. Madison-area locals know that when cold weather comes, it’s time to salt the sidewalks, swap our current wheels for snow tires, and keep a set of warm clothes in the backseat.

We know how to protect our vehicles and keep ourselves warm, but when it comes to protecting our home’s pipes, many folks struggle with winter-proofing. And if your home’s pipes aren’t winter-proofed correctly, it can result in some pretty expensive repairs come springtime. After all, if a burst pipe results in water damage, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 to replace flooring and repair the damage.

To help you save time, money, and headaches, be sure to winter-proof your home’s interior and exterior pipes with these top tips.

1. Winter-proof your home’s outdoor hose bibbs.

Pipes on the exterior of the house will freeze and burst most often because they aren’t insulated by the home’s heat. However, if there isn’t flooding, most homeowners won’t even realize that a hose bibb or exterior pipe has burst until the spring. As such, every spring we make a lot of home calls to replace hose bibbs.

To winter-proof your home’s outdoor hose bibbs and avoid the need to make expensive repairs in the year to come, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the hoses from the bibb and straighten them in a long line on the ground. Pick up the hose from the middle and lift it up to shoulder height, allowing any water to flow down and out. Make sure that the inside and outside of the hose is dry, before storing in a dry space.
  2. Remove any splitters or other attachments from the hose bibb to ensure proper drainage. There should be no removable pieces remaining where water could leak in between, as this can cause ice to crack the attachments.
  3. Inside your home, close the valve that supplies water to the outdoor pipes. This will most likely be in the basement. If you’re struggling to find it, a quick Google search of your water system’s name will help you find it.
  4. Last, open the outside valve so that the water can drain completely. We recommend leaving the outside valve open throughout winter, or at least for a few days, so that any water left behind has room to expand if it freezes.

Basically, by removing your hoses, draining them, and shutting off the hose bibbs, you remove any water that would otherwise be in the pipes. So, when the weather gets cold and water expands, it won’t cause your exterior pipes to burst.

2. Install frost-free hose bibbs, if you don’t have a separate valve for outside faucets.

Some homes don’t have a separate valve for outside faucets. If your home doesn’t have this separate valve, you will need to install a frost-free hose bibb before the winter freeze sets in. Installing a frost-free hose bibb involves replacing your old spigot entirely and running the new frost-free pipe inside the house. The pipe running into your home must then be attached to a water valve.

Essentially, installing a frost-free hose bibb adds a water supply valve to the outside of the home, enabling you to cut off the water supply to the exterior pipes. This process will involve some plumbing skills and caulking, and may potentially require soldering, so be sure to check with an expert if you’re having trouble cutting off the outside water supply yourself.

3. Winter-proof your home’s interior pipes.

Pipes inside your home are at risk for freezing and bursting, too, especially if they’re located in unheated or poorly insulated areas. Most commonly, these areas include attics, garages, basements, and even cabinets. Pipes that run alongside exteriors walls are also at risk.

If you have any water supply lines in the garage of your home, keep the garage door closed to prevent any water supply lines inside from freezing. For pipes in a basement floor or foundation, seal windows with removable caulk or shrink plastic to improve the insulation in your basement. Most local hardware stores offer Styrofoam, tape, or cloth pipe coverings to insulate exposed pipes. On average, you can pay as little as 50 cents per linear foot for efficient pipe insulation.

A handful of preventative steps now can save you hundreds of dollars in water damage this winter. If you suspect that any of your pipes might be frozen, give us a call right away. Our team will give you a visit and seek to understand the situation fully before recommending the best solution for your home.