Depth of Kitchen SInk

new2CAJuly 24, 2013

I am building a new house and am interested in the depth of the sink. I am short and have had extensive back surgery which does not allow me to bend. How deep should I get ? At first, I wanted to get the deepest sink that I could , but now am having concerns about washing dishes


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I'm 5'5" and went from a 8" depth to a 10" depth. I was concerned about back pain but so far its working out fine.

I would suggest that if you really want an 8" or less depth sink you start looking now. The choices are far less for more shallow depth as the trend is going deep. Check out sinks designed for universal design as they are shallow.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Of mores concern would be the depth/width of the counter in front of the sink. Too wide, and you have to reach/bend forward to reach and use your sink, which contributes to lower back pain. I know this firsthand.....

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:00PM
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My new sink is 8" undermount, so the bottom is more than 9" down. I like having the depth, but it is harder on my back than the old shallower sink. And my back is pretty strong for a middle-aged lady. I put a gel mat in front of the sink, and that does help. If your back is an issue, I would avoid a 10" sink.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:07PM
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We just started using our Orca, which is 10 in deep. I'm 5'4" and was a little concerned. I did buy the bottom grid, right grid, and top strainer, which are really fantastic.

I cleaned a sinkfull of odds and ends the first night. I was actually smiling! I set a tub of soapy water on the right grid, which put it at 6 in or so. I could wash everything and put it back in the sink, then rinse as I took things out to put on the drying mat. Very comfortable.

There is also a left grid that I didn't get, but I can see where it could be useful in your situation. Probably even more so than an always shallow sink because it can be both more shallow than a normal sink and also very deep when needed.

I'd suggest looking at one of the deeper sinks with at least a bottom grid. I absolutely LOVE the side grid in my Orca, if you can see one in person to try out I'd highly recommend it. It was more than I wanted to spend on a sink, but given how much we use it and how versatile/functional it is, I'm more than pleased with the purchase.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Thanks everyone for all of your advice

What orca did you get ?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 12:44AM
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We got the SS undermount. I was a little nervous with a single bowl and being so deep, but we absolutely love it!

At the moment, we have a 9x13 pan soaking. It's on the bottom rack under the right side grid. The whole sink is still useable! No problem making dinner or using the GD. If I wanted to, I could wash a whole sink full of other dishes and keep the pan there. Even fill the grid above and the strainer with drying dishes, leave the pan alone, and STILL have half a sink to use. It's amazing how functional it is.

I'd imagine with both the left and right grids in place you could use it as a shallow sink, with stuff on the raised grids, or on a sheet pan on the grids, or with a tub in use on the grids.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:10AM
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I have an 8" Kohler for the same reason, plus my arms are a little short for my 5'5" frame. I do wish it were a little shallower as I do feel it after a few minutes, but as it was, there was so little to choose from. Do try out the various sinks at the plumbing store if at all possible.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:13AM
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Hi, new2CA,

I recommend finding a showroom that has samples of various sink types and depths, and try out these sinks for their ergonomics. I'm 5'9" (female) and assumed I wanted a deep sink. When I visited a showroom, I discovered that deeper sinks are more uncomfortable for me because I had to bend over much more to reach the bottom.
More importantly, I had my heart set on an apron-front sink, but I found them especially awkward and uncomfortable for my height and wingspan.
Like most of us, I spend the most time in my kitchen at my sink--I rather enjoy hand-washing my dishes. So, sink function is especially important to me. I'd say that visiting sinks at a showroom was probably one of the more practical steps I took in my kitchen planning.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 3:21AM
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I want to emphasize Cat_mom's point about the distance from the counter edge to the sink. That is a more significant contributor to back pain than sink depth IMHO. The 4" or so strip of countertop in front of the sink causes you to lean slightly to use the sink. That slight lean can cause back strain in people with back problems. The best solution is to buy an apron front sink. The apron front sink is right up against the body, so no lean needed. Since you said you are building a new house, you can change your sink configuration to apron front instead of undermount.

Regarding the sink depth, you will actually have it easier than others who are taller. Taller people have to bend more to reach the sink bottom, creating back strain. But many apron front sinks are quite deep. The Kohler Whitehaven is a bit better at 9", and the Franke Manor House is even better at 7-1/4" deep. If you want stainless steel, the Elkay ELUHFS2816 Gourmet Lustertone apron front sink is 7" deep. These are all expensive sinks, but you've had back surgery, so you need to weigh the advantages of these apron front sinks against the cost. You will be using the sink every day, several times a day, for years.

Other things that cause back strain at the sink which you should be aware of when building your new house, since you have the opportunity to fix them ahead of time:

- I recommend against a high-arch pull-down faucet for you. That style faucet is quite close to the rear of the sink. It means you will be bending and reaching slightly in order to rinse under the faucet. A pull-out faucet instead reaches several inches more into the center of the sink, so you don't have to reach as far to rinse things under a pull-out.

- a tile floor is hard on some people's backs. Either install a cork or wood floor, or buy one of those mats to stand on in front of the sink.

- get a sink grid for your sink to raise the bottom another inch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread about Kohler Whitehaven

This post was edited by alwaysfixin on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 8:51

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Consider having a custom sink made. Julien and Rachiele are two companies that come to mind. In my mind I would pay more for comfort than anything else.
Best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Thanks so much . I am so much to think about now


    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:32PM
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My husband is really pushing for a granite sink. So now I really don't know what to do

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Welcome New2CA!

If you have back problems and you've had surgery, then I think a heart-to-heart discussion is needed with your DH (Dear Husband) - unless you will not be using the sink much (e.g., if you have a second sink that you will be using and he'll be using the larger sink).

All good points were brought up for you to consider:

  • Be aware that the depth of the sink is another 1" to 1.5" deeper if you have an undermount sink - b/c the sink is attached to the counter from the bottom so you have the additional thickness of the counter material to add to the depth.
  • If you get a deeper sink, consider one that has a sink grid that raises the sink bottom (and raises dishes off the floor of the sink so you can rinse the sink or drain pasta w/o the backwash into the colander.) If you can get one that's split - with one side shallower/higher than the other - that might help long as you don't need to use the deeper side!
  • Seriously consider a farm/apron sink. I'm not sure if they are available in silgranite (which is what I assume you meant). That strip of counter b/w the counter edge and the sink can be a killer! We have a bit more than I would like and it occasionally does bother me - but I'm 5'10" so I have lean over and then reach down farther than you would have to. (We have just shy of 4", I think). Farm/apron sinks have only the thickness of the sink wall for you to lean over.
  • Placement and type of faucet is going to be important. If you have to lean over to reach the faucet, it will bother your back. So, the longer the faucet's reach (toward the front of the sink), the better. Try to place the faucet as close to the front as possible. (I would think a wall-mount faucet would be the worst.)
  • You might think about raising the counters - as long as they aren't too high for you for other work.... If you raise the counters, it would bring the sink up closer to your chest so you wouldn't have to lean over so far. BUT, if you roll out dough or similar, it may not work...OR...have counters at different heights - taller where the sink is; shorter (standard height) elsewhere - maybe even lower than standard elsewhere.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Silgranit sinks do not come in apron front style.

Sorry, I am taken aback that your husband's desire for a granite composite sink is more important than your extensive back surgery.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Before I asked this question, he really wanted the composite granite sink. I can get any sink that I want and will be good for my back. What does the Orca sink take to maintain the finish?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:40PM
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I have been looking at orca sinks and the small second bowl I can only find in black.

Do the sinks come in black?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:46PM
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I originally wanted a granite sink but none came in the size I wanted to be sure to check that.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:50PM
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The Orca sink is a nice sink. But given what you've said about your back, and the advice so far in this thread, I think for your back's sake, you should choose an apron front sink. That Kohler Whitehaven mentioned above is nice because it is enameled cast iron rather than fireclay. Fireclay is beautiful but can get hairline cracks, and has a natural slightly irregular shape so it is harder to install. Note that the Kohler Whitehaven has a corner drain which is a great advantage. I have a Silgranit sink with a corner drain (not an apron front though), and now I will never have a sink without a corner drain. It allows you to have stuff in the sink without blocking the drain, and leaves more room under the sink for storage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Whitehaven Apron Front Sink 30 inch

This post was edited by Mrs_Nyefnyef on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 22:19

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:14PM
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I'm not as wise in the ways of sinks as some others here, but I will advise you not to go with your original inclination to go as deep as possible. I also am short, and I hate the super-deep sink in the break room at work!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:02PM
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We chose a Blanco Silgranit Performa 1 3/4 with a low divide. We went to a kitchen showroom today and saw all of the sinks that have been discussed here. That was the best advice . The saleswoman was very informative and as the store was not very busy , we spent about 2 hours there. She helped us select a bathtub with features that should help my back and neck.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:39PM
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