We have a stainless steel sink and the bottom has been scratched from pots and pans. Are lower gauge stainless sinks harder than higher gauge stainless and can the scratches be removed?
— Glenn, Prescott
I phoned a “friend lifeline,” Kim Gagnon owner of The Plumbing Store, and Kim said that all stainless steel sinks, regardless of the gauge, will scratch. And once scratched, a stainless steel sink will forever and always be scratched. Kim recommended that homeowners with stainless sinks should be using the rubber protective grids that fit into the bottom of the sink and for that matter, homeowners with porcelain sinks should also using protective rubber grids. Now porcelain sinks can be repaired and scratches removed.
A stainless steel sink’s gauge is its thickness; the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Consequently, a 16-gauge stainless steel sink is made of stainless steel that is thicker than that used to make an 18-gauge sink.
Stainless steel is an obvious choice for a kitchen sink because it cleans up quickly and has a great pro look. But once you get past the key design questions, such as one compartment or two, under-mount or over-mount, you should then base your buying decision on other, less obvious factors that affect quality and value. We talked with several local plumbers and asked for tips.
Every plumber we called said you should not lose sleep over 16 gauge vs. 18 gauge; however when you get up to 20 gauge and higher, the metal is more prone to denting and vibrating, and less able to handle a garbage disposal.
Another word of caution is that high-gauge drop-ins can be especially thin around the edges, making them ill-equipped…
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