Friday, April 12, 2013

Sunk by a sink, Part 2

In this post from about six weeks ago, I declared my eternal disgust at having to cope with a builder-grade kitchen sink which seemed to be warped beyond recovery, and certainly beyond water-tightness. 
Do you see that white glow between the sink and the countertop?  That's the warp being back-lit by a flashlight shining in the cupboard underneath.  It was a substantial gap. 

Here's a photo from my original post on this subject.  By "substantial gap", I mean half a centimeter!  We couldn't make this thing sit flush with the top of the counter and so the best we could do was try to stuff this gap with silicone caulk. 
I also explained in that post that I never wanted one of those trendy under-mount sinks because I've seen too many chips in the granite countertops into which they've been set, and also because they remind me of outhouses.  I do too much intensive kitchen work to worry about chipping a granite edge with banging pots.   

Six weeks ago, I wasn't really sure if we were going to replace this danged thing or not.  I had always intended to have a good top-mount sink here - but I wanted a modern sink, a square one, rather than the traditional curvy thing the builder installed.  But the problem with modern-style sinks is that most of them are hellaciously expensive.  This Vigo model was $419.40 on Overstock as of the date of this post.  This Blanco was $821.25, and this Houzer was $909.55.  I wanted a decent sink, but I didn't know if I wanted it badly enough to pay that much partly for style. 

Then we found this one which is apparently sold exclusively through Home Depot.
Elkay Signature Plus Universal Stainless Steel 33x22x8 4-Hole Double Bowl Kitchen Sink in Satin, written out for the sake of the search engines.  Screengrabbed from this Home Depot site
There was just one problem, though: according to League City Home Depot personnel, there was only one of them remaining in stock anywhere in greater Houston, and that was in Lake Jackson. 
For the geographically-challenged, that's about 50 miles southwest of League City.

Screengrabbed from Googlemaps.   
I like to check out the merchandise before buying, so I was reluctant to order this over the internet.  It took several weeks before my life's travels took me down to that area, but when I got to the LJ Home Depot, that one sink was still there, and I noticed something curious:
Not only was it still there, but it was also on clearance.  This tag suggested it had originally been shipped in May of 2012 (I bought it in April 2013).  Other stickers and yellowed sealing tape on the carton suggested it had remained unopened and unsold on the shelf for a long, long time. 
If there's anyone reading this who has spent any time south of Angleton, you might be starting to crack a wide grin right about now as you connect the anecdotal dots on this one. 

Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but why might this particular sink model have sold out everywhere in greater Houston except Lake Jackson? 

Why in that one place would such a modern style of sink have experienced so little demand that the stock sat on the shelf and collected dust for about a year before this one intrepid blogger bought it? 

Might it have anything to do with the fact that south Brazoria County is arguably the most conservative enclave in greater Houston, where both moral values and personal tastes tend to run fiercely traditional rather than modern?  It was, afterall, the exact area that gave rise to Ron Paul (if you stood in the parking lot of the Lake Jackson Home Depot, you could almost hit his former Congressional office with a rock). 

Maybe it's just a coincidence - we'll never know.  But I find it fascinating.  I almost felt like I was re-balancing the universe by purchasing this sink down there.  Spiriting a functional incongruity out of that environment and taking it up to north Galveston County where it more rightfully belonged.

Anyway, amusing anecdote thus explained, here's our install and its aftermath:
There's my husband removing the world's largest silicone snotsickle remaining from our attempts to plug the gap under the original sink.   
Dry fit, and it looked divine, like this counter was meant to have a modern top-mount sink.  Installing a sink is a laborious process, but we had no trouble with it, except for the fact that it only came with clips designed for a three-quarter inch countertop.  We have one-inch granite so my husband had to go back out and get one-inch clips at the League City Home Depot. 
But alas, apparently one must pay more than $250 to get a sink of sufficiently high quality so as to have no warpage because it, too, didn't fit exactly flush with the countertop (see light shining through the crack, similar to the first photo above).  However, its gap was much narrower than the builder-grade blasphemy.  I loaded it down with a few of my husband's free weights while the silicone set up. 
Here is what really has the potential to make this purchase worthwhile:
Do you see how much ROOM is in that BASIN?! 
Compare with the original sink now removed:
The same wire dish draining rack is shown in both.  A sink with a conventional curved bowl forfeits a lot of real estate to those curves.  The modern square sink made for the same standard-sized countertop opening has substantially more useable space, and in my opinion, is a much more efficient design.  After the first two days of use, I said to my husband, "I now regret not ripping out the builder-grade sink the first week we moved in here."
Generally, the consumer reviews on this thing were positive, noting that it was a very good value for the money when compared to other brands of the same style (such as those I listed above).  A few of the reviews for this Elkay product report problems with rust spots.  If that happens to us, we'll be pooched, because I would have to say damn the financial torpedoes and get one of those expensive comparable sinks if this one proves to show that kind of a defect.  Having now used this square style with its extra space and more efficient shape, there's no way I'm going back to a less-efficient traditional model like the one shown immediately above.  So fingers crossed that we don't experience any rust. 

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