sink (singk) n. A hole in the countertop, surrounded by plastic, stone, metal or glass, used for holding food, fluids or dishes. Highly prized by consumers, some sinks actually cost more than the countertop itself.
Are you feeling a little ambivalent toward a fixture that some fabricators view as just an accessory to a countertop installation? Rest assured your customer doesn't feel that way. The elements of style, color and fit in a well-made sink are often as important to the homeowner as is the surface to which the bowl is mounted.
Recognizing the emotional tie a homeowner has to the choice of her kitchen or bathroom sink, some fabricators now offer those fixtures as part of a complete countertop installation. Whether they purchase a sink for resale through traditional solid surface distribution channels, at a plumbing wholesale house or direct from the manufacturer, these fabricators recognize the value one-stop shopping brings to their clientele. Reversing the trend of recent years, they no longer view the sale of sinks as simple loss/leaders, rather as bona-fide profit centers.
The integral bowl solid surface sink was one of the first fixture innovations to ignite a passionate response from the consuming public. It was so clean, so elegant and so easy to maintain. With a large (and growing) selection of single, double and triple bowls to choose from, the possible configurations were almost limitless. Indeed, the concept of an integral bowl, combined with a built-in drainboard and coved backsplash, are credited with helping fuel the widespread popularity and growth of solid surface in the 1990's.
Today, all major producers offer their own lines of solid surface bowls in a variety of solid colors. They are smart, beautiful and a breeze to maintain. Yet, as the market's appetite for darker colors and granite textures have grown, enterprising fabricators have responded with products to meet that demand.
One of the first to do so was Pfeiffer and Sons in Germany. Their MIXA sink, which is distributed in the United States by XXL Innovations, features thermoformed Corian sidewalls married to a stainless steel base. The design highlights the aesthetic appeal of a virtual rainbow of colors and textures, which can be mounted directly to the countertop in seamless fashion.
The stainless steel base takes the brunt of wear and tear on the fixture, thereby minimizing potential scratching problems inherent with dark colors. Blushing, a white haze which accumulates on darker colors when exposed to a combination of moisture and wide fluctuations in temperature, is also reduced under the arrangement. MIXA sinks are available in a large selection of designs and finishes, including models which can be attached to quartz surfacing countertops.
Also capitalizing on the thermoforming properties of solid surface is the Lavanto line of vanity bowls, manufactured and distributed in the United States by TFI. These bowls utilize multi-directional thermoforming to create sleek and beautiful undermount bowls for seaming into solid surface. The offered designs range from the traditional oval style to perfectly round, scalloped, and even vessel bowls, and are available in most Corian colors.
Identifying a growing trend of viewing vanity and powder room fixtures as pieces of fine furniture, Transolid responded with its Transcendence designer offering. Each vanity unit comes packaged as a complete unit with backsplash, sculpted apron and bowl combined into one piece. Decorative wooden supports are also included in the kit, reflecting Victorian, Shaker and classic lines.