How to Choose a Laundry or Utility Sink
A utility room isn't complete without a sink by the same name. Their wide, deep basins are perfect for more heavy-duty chores like washing gardening tools, your delicates, small pets, emptying the mop bucket, arts and crafts tools, dying linens, and so on. Due to their broad range of use, utility sinks come in all sorts of different models and styles to suit the users' needs.
Also referred to as laundry sinks or tubs, the utility sink is mainly different from other sinks due to its size. Many sinks are floor-standing models and include helpful features like adjustable legs or extra basins. Manufacturers offer accessories such as washboards, soaking pans, wire racks, and even backsplashes to protect your walls. There are even portable models that hook up to a hose and don't require you to be indoors!
It is important to find the right kind of sink to suit your needs. Because it will ideally be in your home for many years, you will want to make sure you choose something that is both pleasant and practical.
Self-rimming: Also known as drop-in and over-mounted sinks. These sit within holes of the appropriate shape cut into the top of your counter or base material. Once a hole has been cut to allow the sink to be placed within it, the rim forms a close seal with the surface. Very easy to install and tends to work well with most countertops/surfaces.
Undermount: With these sinks, the edge of the countertop material is exposed and finished to flow seamlessly into the sink beneath it with the aid of a waterproof sealant. This is a very contemporary style that makes wiping things into the sink from the counter a breeze. Some of these models may offer matching covers that will essentially turn them into even more counter space while not in use.
Wall-mounted & Floor-standing: These sinks are installed separate from countertops as freestanding units.
While most sinks are available in many types of materials, some (such as undermount sinks) can only be made from certain things or will require extra support depending on what is used to craft them. This is an important part of the decision making process, as picking the right material is both practical and durable.
- Acrylic: This is becoming a more common material, especially since they resist stains and some even have built-in antibacterial properties. They tend to be highly durable and have a glossy finish. On the other hand, they can be a bit loud and are not as heat-resistant as most of the other types of sinks.
- Cast Iron: This traditional choice is very heavy and durable. Typically, these are coated with enamel or porcelain and they tend to be quieter than other sinks. They are resistant to most damage, but they can scratch pretty easily so you may wish to purchase a sink rack to protect the finish. Porcelain coating in particular can hold stains, and too much abrasive cleaning will unfortunately dull the finish.
- Stainless Steel: Perhaps the most economical choice due to its price and ease of cleaning. They are impact resistant, durable and tough. They do tend to scratch easily and can be louder than most other types of sinks (by intensifying the sounds of water).
- Vitreous China: Ceramics are fired at a very high temperature to form a non-porous surface, and then it is coated with an additional ceramic glaze. The same process is used with toilets and bidets. These can be damaged by heavy impact, but they are resistant to abrasion, very durable, and easy to clean.
A utility room isn't complete without a sink by the same name! Their wide, deep basins are perfect for a wide variety of chores. Due to their broad range of uses, utility sinks come in all sorts of different models and styles to suit the users' needs... and so do the faucets they require.
While a simple hook-up with hot and cold running water – either single or double-handled - might work if you are planning to use your utility sink for basic things like washing up garden tools or your delicates, more heavy-duty uses will require some further thought into the right faucet for your needs. Some models come with side sprays and variable settings to make the washing of your pets, kids (you know those muddy days!), mop buckets, arts and crafts tools, and so on much easier.
Here's where you can add a touch of personality and charm to an otherwise utilitarian installation. Handles for faucets come in three different types – round, lever, and cross are the standards. If you prefer a more minimalistic look you might want to consider a single-handle option, but two-handle faucets are much more user-friendly in that they allow you to customize the temperature of the water you use.
Their necks range from short and stout, to long and arching. Once again, it is important to keep in mind what you intend to use the sink for, as the wrong size of faucet spout could make tasks difficult. If you are planning on washing huge stock pots that you cannot fit into your kitchen sink, think big.
Laundry sinks will also often come with an attached soap dish, so if you're looking for that extra bit of usability, it's something you'll want to keep in mind while shopping.
The sheer variety of finishes available makes it very easy to find something to your taste. Brass, the rust-resistant alloy, is the material most commonly used to create faucets in modern times, but that's just the basic material. Here are a few of the more popular coating options available:
- "Brass: While it may scratch, tarnish or corrode, a clear-coat will go a long way to keeping your brass fixtures looking beautiful and easy to clean. Also offered in polished and antique sub-finishes. Believe it or not, these faucets are coated with nickel plating before another layer of brass is then applied.
- Chrome: One of the most popular finishes. Brushed, matte, or polished, chrome is both durable and economical as well as being gorgeous and highly versatile for many decors. Unlike brass, chrome does not need a clear coat protection to be easily maintained.
- Nickel: This easy-to-clean finish is not only durable but stylish, offered most often in satin and brushed.
Spouts can be either aerated or nonaerated. Aerated spouts use a screen and resistor in combination with air to create limited water flow in addition to better overall pressure. Nonaerated spouts do not have that screen, and therefore water can flow more quickly and freely. Another important thing to keep in consideration is spout reach. Water should be able to go directly from the spout into the center of the sink; a faucet too small for your needs could spell disaster and get lost, and a large faucet might be a bit messy and get in the way.
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Four different valve types are used in the construction of faucets today. While they won't make much of a difference in your day-to-day use, some are easier to repair than others.
- Ball: These were the first type of washerless faucets. These valves use a slotted, rotating metal or plastic ball for flow regulation and have the unfortunate tendency to leak more than other faucet types. They are durable and reliable, but can be used with single-handle faucets only.
- Cartridge: Easy to repair, the cartridge valve uses rubber o-rings inside a cylindrical cartridge to control water flow. They are as long-wearing as the ball valve, but can be used in single- or two-handle faucets.
- Ceramic Disk: While the most expensive option by far, this method uses two fire-hardened ceramic disks - the upper moves and the lower is fixed - that move against one another to sheer the flow of water. within a cylindrical body. To offset the cost, they are maintenance-free and come with excellent warranties. They can also be used with single- and two-handle faucets. These are very responsive and work well for people with arthritis.
- Compression: These feature rubber (or similar) washers to stop the flow of water, but they eventually wear out and can start to drip over time. On the flip side, washers are really cheap to replace! Some newer types actually lift the washer vertically instead of grinding it against the valve seat, so it will generally last longer.