Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ask Architect Reena: Old Sink

Bebeng of Bebengisms asked:

"I recently moved in to a new apartment. The old sink in the dining area is now covered and painted. What could I use to cover up the whole area so it looks decent and not tacky? Thanks! :)"

Since Bebeng wasn't able to supply me a photo of her kitchen problem, I surmised that only the kitchen sink was covered by maybe a plywood or other covering material while the rest of the countertop is either tiled or   made up of another material. 

Given that situation, here are my tips to make the kitchen countertop more presentable and functional.

1.   Replace and cover up the entire kitchen counter. Why was the old sink covered? I will assume that this is probably because the users need additional preparation workspace or that the sink is no longer functional. If these were the case, then maybe it's time to just totally cover it and make the counter more useful. This may seem expensive at first but in the long run, the practicality and presentability of the counter will have added value to your kitchen.

If you are going in this direction, let me give a few suggestions on the type of materials you can use. In the Philippines, we usually just have a few options due to availability and cost efficiency of the materials: 

MARBLE. Marble is a natural stone so its length and design is usually limited to what's available. Its thickness can either be 1/2", 3/4" or 1". It's durable but over time it can crack and when not regularly cleaned and maintained it will show off some stains.   

GRANITE. Similar to the marble, granite is also a natural stone that is used as an alternative to marble. Its length, design and thickness depends on the availability in the market. And like the marble, installing it can be a bit expensive because of the layers of materials and the skills of the installers. However, using natural stones such as these will surely make your kitchen very presentable and elegant.

SYNTHETIC STONE. The use of synthetic stone has been a trend especially for the condominiums because they can be cut and manufactured according to the specifications of the builder. Since your apartment kitchen is just one counter, you may have to check the local hardware depots for the ready-made counters and check which one fits your existing counter. What's good about this material is that it can come in many colors. You may go as bold as red or as conventional as white. And since it's synthetic, it is non-porous and doesn't have the problems such as stains like in natural stones. The disadvantages? It's not as available as the other materials so it can be very expensive.

CERAMIC TILES. This is your best option in this situation. What is good about this material is that it has so many designs and colors, it is very easy to install and it is the least expensive. All you just need is to choose your tile, call a local carpenter and it can be installed over a weekend! But if you have chosen this option, just make sure that the old counter is removed first to maintain the optimum height for kitchen counters.

2. But if replacing the counter is not in your budget yet, then here's my tip:

Do not cover your old sink with a painted material. What you do is just plug the sinkhole with a rubber stopper which you may find in the hardware stores to keep the bad odors that will eventually emit from it. If the plumbing system (like the P-trap) has been removed then just keep it that way.

Buy a rack with a drip tray and place it in the sink, so eventhough there is no additional counter workspace, it is still usable and at the same time it looks nice.