Ask the plumber: New kitchen sparks 'Battle of the Bowls'

By Ed Del Grande
Posted5/5/2013 3:01 AM
  • A smart-divide sink can be a good choice for any new kitchen.

    A smart-divide sink can be a good choice for any new kitchen. SHNS photo courtesy Kohler

Q. We're going to remodel our outdated kitchen and plan to install a cast-iron kitchen sink. I want a single-bowl sink that will be open and large for me to work in. My husband wants a double-bowl sink. He says it will be better for the garbage disposer and, later on, for resale value. Can you help us solve this disagreement?

A. One style of sink comes to mind, and I believe it can be a good choice for your new kitchen ... and marriage. This special sink is called a "smart-divide" kitchen sink.

Smart-divide sinks are double-bowl cast-iron sinks that feature a divide that's only half the height of those in standard two-bowl kitchen sinks. By dropping the height of the divider, many features and benefits are opened up for the user, giving you the best of both worlds.

For instance, you can fill up the sink past the low divide to completely soak large baking sheets. For large pots, the handle for the pot will usually sit higher than the divide so the pot can sit flat on the sink bottom.

Finally, since the sink does have two shallow bowls, you can use one dedicated drain for the disposer. This can keep wasted food separate from the dishes.

So when you add everything up, a smart-divide sink can be a very intelligent choice for your new kitchen!

Q. My husband and I are planning to remodel our bathroom by changing all the fixtures, but basically we're leaving the existing floor plan the same. My question is about choosing the new bathtub. Do they make heated bathtubs? I enjoy taking long baths, but do not like to keep adding hot water to the tub. We would need this tub to fit our existing space and we plan to install a tile-wall enclosure. Is this possible to have all these features in one tub?

A. Yes. First, let's talk about the heating question. Yes, new-style bathtubs should be available in your area with heated surface options. You will need to check your local codes and work with a licensed electrician and plumber to have this type of tub installed, since it does have a built-in heating element.

When soaking in the tub, the heated surface can warm your back and neck with adjustable temperature settings. These tubs are usually made from acrylic materials and are available in different styles and sizes, along with different installation features.

For instance, in your case, you would want a tub with a built in "tile flange" so you can use wall tiles for the tub enclosure. Some heated tubs are even available with a "curved apron" feature that will fit the space of a standard tub, but will give you a little more soaking area.

When you add up all these features, I bet that a lot of people reading this will "warm up" to the idea of installing a heated bathtub!

• Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV and Internet shows. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.

Scripps Howard News Service

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.