Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "Please explain the best gauge of stainless and which is longer lasting?"
A. The lower the number, the thicker the material. In our opinion, 22 gauge is bare minimum - builder quality. During the manufacturing process, stainless steel sinks are "stamped" into shape. That means that the material stretches and therefore the corners can be very thin. We suggest at least 20 gauge and preferably 18 gauge. Most of the sinks offered on this page are even thicker - 16 gauge (most commonly found in commercial applications) - making them some of the strongest, most durable residential sinks on the market.
Q. "What do the different types of stainless steel (304, 316, etc) mean?"
A. The term "stainless steel" refers to specific grades of steel that contain more than 10% chromium. Stainless steel may also include a variety of other elements (such as nickel, titanium, molybdenum, etc); it resists corrosion and is generally a stronger, more reliable steel. The most common grades of stainless steel are:
Type 304: Aside from having a higher content of chromium than most other types of stainless steel, type 304 also contains nickel; this enables it to withstand most ordinary corrosion in architecture, is durable in typical food processing environments, and resists most chemicals.
Type 316: Similar to type 304, but also contains a small amount of molybdenum, which is an alloy element #304 does not contain (but one that provides even stronger resistance to some deterioration). Types 304 and 316 are grades of stainless steel that are most often used in plumbing, as well as in the manufacturing of kitchen utensils and sinks.
Type 409: Does not contain virtually any nickel at all, but also is the stainless steel that contains the least amount of chromium. Type 409 is more suitable for high temperature applications, which is why it's often used in automotive trim and exhaust systems, or hot water tanks.
Type 410: Also does not contain any significant nickel; its primary difference to type 409 stainless is characterized by the use of heat treatment for hardening and strengthening. Type 410 is not appropriate for severely corrosive applications, but used instead in environments that require high strength; this is why it's the type of stainless steel that's often used in surgical equipment.
Type 430: Another plain-chromium stainless steel, similar to type 409, but is usually used in decorative applications.
Q. "How do I clean my new stainless steel sink?"
A. We recommend the sink be wiped down after every use and cleaned once a week with soap and water. This should keep your sink looking like new. Stainless steel sinks contain many micro brush marks, which will also help hide many scratches from normal use. We do not recommend using rubber or plastic mats as they trap soap and debris. Depending on the minerals added to your water, a white film might develop on the sink. If you have strong minerals in your water supply the sink should be towel dried after use.
Q. "What kind of counter do I need to install one of these heavy duty 16 gauge kitchen sinks?"
A. Since these sinks are installed onto the underside of the counter material, the counter material needs to be a solid piece capable of holding the weight of the sink even when filled with hot water and soapy dishes. Laminates are not a good idea for this type of installation because they are composed of layers that will separate when exposed to moisture, and also because the edge of the countertop is exposed in an undermount installation and may not look very nice next to your fabulous new sink. Even when sealed, laminates will inevitably develop tiny surface cracks, which then allow moisture to get below the surface and start breaking down the counter material. For this reason, marble, granite, engineered stone, and concrete counters are the most common, and some of the loveliest, counter materials that homeowners are advised to pair with undermount sinks. We recommend consulting with your installer to confirm your particular installation options and requirements.