Commercial sinks—or lavatories, as those in the industry call them—have an almost endless list of configurations: multi-station, trough, wall mounted, freestanding, ADA compatible, etc.
On top of the basic style, there are many basin shapes and materials to select. Given all these options, how do you choose the right commercial sink for your project?
Pause & Ask More Questions
First, you want to consider where it is going. Will it be inside or outdoors? Is it in a high-traffic area, or will it be infrequently used?
For example, maybe your client wants a sink for their athletic fields. In this case, you would choose a portable sink option so they can move it from field to field and even take it on the road if needed.
Or maybe you are looking for sink options for a public restroom with a lot of traffic. In this case, go with a multi-user hand washing station and a wall-mounted sink. Why a wall mount? Your maintenance crew can tell you it makes mopping the floor much simpler.
Perhaps you are specifying sinks for a public park or other publicly accessible building. In this case, you want something that can withstand vandalism and abuse, and our recommendation would be a stainless steel fixture. Vandal-resistant fixtures are also ideal for educational facilities, where student pranks may damage fixtures.
Regarding materials, you also want to understand what aesthetic the building owner or architect is trying to achieve. This will play a significant role in narrowing down your choice of material, such as a durable powder-coated stainless steel or elegant solid surface material.
Until you understand who will use the sinks and what look you are trying to achieve, you can’t get to the next step—specifying the sinks.
Choosing the Right Basin Shape
Let’s talk for a minute about basin shapes. The most standard shapes are round, oval, and square/rectangular. These common shapes are not available simply to accommodate personal preference.
Oval Basin: You probably don’t even notice, but most of the sinks you have used in your life likely have had oval basins. This is the standard shape because it takes up less counter space while still being wide enough to provide the space you need to wash up properly.
Round Basin: Like the oval basin, the round basin takes up less counter space. This is great when you are looking for a basin that fits into a small area that won’t have much counter space, to begin with. The round basin is very popular in powder rooms for this reason.
Square/Rectangle: For jobs with an abundance of counter space, for example, a restaurant bathroom or theater bathroom, and you are looking to class the joint up a bit, a rectangular or square basin is a popular choice. First, it’s different from those standard oval basins and adds a modern feel while still offering plenty of room to clean your hands. Of course, like a round basin, a square basin doesn’t require as much space, whereas a rectangle basin has space requirements akin to that of an oval basin.
That covers the most popular shapes; however, you are not limited to those. You can also get D-shaped basins, hexagonal basins, and extended trough basins. No matter what you want, you can probably find it.
Choosing the Right Material
Much of construction success comes down to choosing the right materials, especially when you’re specifying commercial sinks.
Acorn Engineering Company® stainless steel sinks are some of our most popular products. Did you know Acorn was initially known for stainless steel prison fixtures? You find stainless steel in correctional facilities because it’s vandal resistant and can handle a lot of use and abuse—features that many schools and public parks are interested in, as well.
Stainless steel is also used in the food service industry because of another quality—its chromium content. Chromium loves oxygen and will form a film of chromium oxide on the surface of the steel, allowing it to resist stains and corrosion. This ensures easy cleaning and a sanitary appearance that lasts for years. And as a bonus, stainless steel is recyclable.
Terrazzo is a solid surface material that resembles granite. Both highly durable and non-porous, it requires minimal cleaning to maintain its appearance, making it ideal for sinks and countertops. Acorn Terrazzo-Ware® products are composed of marble chips in Portland cement and have a compressive strength of at least 3,000 PSI seven days after casting.
Acorn Corterra® solid surface material, while not as strong as stainless steel, is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas because of its durability. Corterra solid surface sinks are resistant to chips, cracks, impact, scratches, heat, chemicals, and stains and are Class A fire rated.
Should someone accidentally cause damage, it can easily be repaired or refinished. For example, cigarette burns, permanent markers, and minor scratches can be removed with a sander or a non-scratch scouring pad.
Architects and designers also favor solid surface material because its customizability in shape, size, and thickness allows for unique designs; it also comes in a variety of color options and can even be custom color-matched.
Also a type of solid surface material, resin is non-porous, smooth, and easy to clean with soapy water or ammonia-based cleanser. And like our Corterra and terrazzo material, the entire sink can be cast to your specifications.
Beyond stainless steel and solid surface’s versatility and durability, many of our customers like that the sink can be an integral part of the countertop, meaning there are no seams. No seams mean no buildup of dirt that can be a breeding ground for nasty germs.
For more information on Acorn Engineering’s sink options, you can download our brochure.
Are you looking to make more of an impression with your commercial sinks and restroom fixtures? Visit our Neo-Metro® by Acorn® website to see a variety of available fixtures with a bit more pizzazz. While you’re there, why not check out our CEU course on Inclusive Restroom Design in Public Bathrooms?