No more simple pieces of utilitarian or functional design, kitchen sinks and taps are now innovatively ‘designed pieces’ created by designers who travel the world for inspiration. Every piece is designed to withstand every day usage in the kitchen, which is, in effect, the heart of the home.
There are many styles of sinks available today manufactured in a number of finishes – stainless steel, granite, composite, fireclay ceramic, wood and even copper. Apart from the specialist materials, sinks normally come in a variety of configurations, single 1.5 and double bowls, with and without drainers. There are also square, oblong, circular and even oval bowls. So there is a plentiful selection to suit both modern, new build and older properties.
Sinks can be installed in several ways - inset giving a smooth finish, under-mounted to bring a sharp geometry to the kitchen, flush fit, fitted perfectly flush at the same surface level as the worktop.
Kitchen taps have also changed dramatically over the past few years and there is now an even wider range to choose from including monobloc, single lever, dual lever, traditional style bridge taps, tall semi professional style, water filter taps and lastly, hot water taps.
Taps are widely available in chrome, brushed steel and stainless steel, but there are other finishes to look for – nickel and antique bronze as well as coloured options and most taps are now fitted with an aerator at the end of the spout to control the water flow and avoid splashing.
Most manufacturers now use ceramic valve cartridges which, under normal use conditions, means the valves will last for many years.
Monobloc taps are mostly used in traditionally styled homes either in the kitchen or utility room. Single lever taps are seen as minimalist and can be fitted into the sink or deck-mounted into the worktop. Both hot and cold water are dispensed by pushing and pulling the side handle
Dual lever taps can be used in both modern and older properties and hot and cold water comes through the spout using both handles. Semi professional style taps have become very popular in modern homes, especially in city slick apartments.
These taps are innovatively styled with good looks with the benefit of pull-down spray functionality, which work together to create a practical mixertap.
Water filter taps have now become the norm in many homes, doing away with the purchase of expensive bottled water. The tap has a three way function, hot and cold water as normal and by either using a third lever or pushing back the cold water tap produces a flow of filter water. The cartridge is sited under the sink and should be replaced approx. every six months. The carbon filter reduces chlorine levels and reduces sediment, dirt, dissolved metals and rust resulting in a substantially improved water taste.
There are many manufacturers of hot water taps. These taps produce instant hot water, perfect for a drink of tea or coffee, for washing up or for food preparation. Some of the taps are specifically just for boiling water others are a combination of hot, cold and boiling.