When remodeling your kitchen, what stainless steel sink gauge should you choose? While stainless steel is a very popular design trend in kitchen remodels, the quality of steel can have a significant impact on the performance and durability of your new sink. Designated by its gauge number, stainless steel can offer better durability the lower the gauge.
The Basics of Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Stainless steel remains the most popular sink type as it is easy to clean, durable, and gives a sleek, professional look to any kitchen. Whether you want a one, two, or three bowl, an apron front or an undermount or overmount model, a deep sink or a shallow one, you have plenty to choose from. Since a sink is one component of what can be a costly kitchen remodel, you want to choose one the will continue to hold up.
Stainless is made from a mix of chromium and nickel that is either stamped or welded to create the shape. A very good stainless steel sink gauge is made from 304 stainless that has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Welded sinks are handmade and consist of sheets that are bent at the seams and heated to make a strong piece of metal that is not stretched out in the fabrication process as is the metal in stamped sinks.
It’s all about the Gauge
Gauge refers to the thickness of the metal in sinks and usually ranges from 14-24 gauge, although you might see a broader range. Restaurant equipment distributors often recommend a 14 gauge for institutional use, 16 for restaurants, and 18 for delis. Builder grade for many home sinks is 22 gauge, but smart homebuyers upgrade the sink to 18.
Higher gauge sinks such as 22 are thinner and more likely to dent and ding with normal use. Since they are thinner, they are also more likely to be noisier when you are doing dishes. You can compensate for this by buying one that is insulated to both reduce noise and help reduce moisture condensation on the bottom of the sink.
Completing your Kitchen Remodel with a Great Sink
When you put in a new kitchen sink, you may be adding granite countertops, new cabinets, new faucets, and maybe even a garbage disposal. If you have a 22 gauge sink, you may find it too thin around the edges and unable to support a heavier, quality faucet. It might not be able to handle a garbage disposal or will be very noisy if it does. Especially if you have selected an undermount model that is installed before the countertops are put in, the last thing you want is a sink that shows wear within a year or two of installation.
For sales and professional installation, contact Mountain States Kitchen and Bath for help choosing a stainless steel sink gauge right for your needs and budget.