Drainboard sinks are not the most common sink around, but perhaps they should be.
Long popular in Europe, this staple of budget kitchen remodels, apartments, condos, and other diminutive homes has made a comeback in recent years, and for good reason. Drainboard sinks, with their built-in tilted draining areas, do a fantastic job at keeping countertops dry and clean.
Drainboard sinks are sinks that have an attached apron usually on one side but sometimes on both sides. The apron overlaps part of the counter. This apron (the drainboard) is grooved and slightly angled down so that water drains directly into the sink.
Drainboard Sink Basics
Drop-In vs. Undermount
Most drainboard sinks are drop-in or self-rimming. The reason is that drainboard sinks are inherently self-rimming. In order to create the drainboard or apron section, it must extend above counter level.
Though most drainboard sinks are self-rimming, a few undermount sinks with attached drainboards can be found.
Most drainboard sinks are constructed of stainless steel, though a number can be found in ceramic or acrylic.
Drainboard sinks tend to be either small, shallow drainboard sinks for apartments, condos, and RVs or large, expensive premium sinks for high-end homes or restaurant kitchens. Not many mid-range drainboard sinks are available.
Pros and Cons
Allow full use of double-basin sinks
Eco-friendly dishes drying
Keep countertops clean and dry
Can be used for transitory food waste
Uses countertop space
More expensive than conventional sinks
Lower resale value
Drainboard grooves harder to clean
- Drainboard sinks free up the second side of twin-basin sinks. Instead of using up one perfectly good basin of a large or double-basin sink for a plate dryer, you can locate the dryer on top of the drainboard.
- Since electric dishwashers are energy vampires, it makes eco-sense to avoid using them whenever you can. With a neat and orderly place to set wet dishes, you will find yourself hand-washing dishes more often.
- Drainboard sinks keep your countertop clean and dry because they contain the water and channel it straight into the sink and down the drain.
- The drainboards can even be used for collecting food scraps. As long as the adjoining basin has a garbage disposal you can push the scraps straight into the basin.
- Though drainboard sinks free up a sink basin, they gobble up valuable countertop space. And unlike other items that take up counter space, like microwaves or blenders, drainboard sinks are permanent fixtures.
- Because drainboard sinks are a specialty item, they tend to cost several times more than conventional sinks. Plus, they are more difficult to find in stock and on the shelves of major home centers.
- Since they are so unique, drainboard sinks do not always return the best resale value. Subsequent homebuyers may not be interested in a drainboard sink.
- Grooves on the drainboard surface are necessary because they channel water into the sink. But they do collect dirt and food grime, and can be more difficult to clean than a flat countertop.
Drainboard Sink Manufacturers and Brands
Not all sink companies manufacture drainboard sinks. Absent from the inventories of some major sink companies such as American Standard and Moen, drainboard sinks can be found with these manufacturers.
Elkay Blanco Axis and Elkay Gourmet
The Blanco Axis series sink, with its attached cutting board, solves the problem of lost prep space. Another collection of note is Elkay's consumer-level sink with attached drainboard, in the silky stainless steel finish that Elkay calls Lustertone. Lustertone sinks are found at Home Depot and other major retailers. Swanky and modern, Elkay Gourmet series drainboard sinks for premium residential or commercial properties include drainboards on both sides.
Some manufacturers merely dabble in drainboard sinks. Australia-based Oliveri practically specializes in these products. An overwhelming majority of their sink collections include drainboard sinks.
Most drainboard sinks are made of stainless steel because this material is strong when thin. Translated, this means that the apron section can lay flatter on the countertop when made of stainless steel than when made of other materials.
However, if you do not mind a higher drainboard, there are a number of ceramic products. The Dutch company Reginox has quite a few sinks of this type, one being the Reginox RL304-CW (also available in black). In addition, Reginox carries a stainless steel series called Lyon.
CorStone Wakefield and Shoreham
Are there any drainboard sinks that are reasonably priced? CorStone, based in Greenville, Alabama, offers drainboard sinks that are moderately priced and well within the reach of the average homeowner.
Constructed of acrylic, these self-rimming sinks range from their big 48-inch Wakefield model, down to their 33-inch wide Shoreham model with a built-in recessed shelf. If you want the look of ceramic with the ease of acrylic, CorStone drainboard sinks might be the right fit for you.