February 21, 2014 at 1:00 am

The Plumber

Stainless steel sinks rock

You can find models that have specially treated, scratch-resistant finishes. (Kohler)

Dear Ed: I’m replacing my old and outdated cast iron kitchen sink. I’m doing the job alone, so I wanted to replace it with a new stainless steel sink to make the lifting easier on my back. But, I heard that stainless steel sinks can be somewhat noisy and tin sounding once installed. To help decide, can you please give me some advice and tips about stainless steel kitchen sinks?

Frank, Rhode Island

Dear Frank: Astainless steel kitchen sink can be a great choice, especially for a do-it-yourself project. Just keep some of these basic tips in mind when choosing a stainless steel kitchen sink: First, get the heaviest-duty type sink you can afford. Stainless steel thickness is measured by a “gauge” number. On the average, stainless steel kitchen sinks have a gauge number ranging from 18 to 23. Remember that the “lower” the gauge number, the “thicker” the stainless steel material. Also, the stronger the sink, the higher the price may be. So, it’s best to balance the gauge thickness of the sink to fit your budget. Secondly, the finish of a stainless steel sink is important. Look for a sink with a quality “brushed” finish to help hide scratches. Specially treated scratch-resistant finishes also are available. Finally, to help with your sound issue concerns, look for a sink with built-in “noise suppression” pads. These special under-the-sink pads help absorb any banging and/or disposer noises, so your new stainless steel sink won’t sound like an old steel drum!

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.