An outdoor sink is one of the elements of an outdoor kitchen which truly elevates it above the luxury BBQ. A sink and running water enables people to wash salad or vegetables, cook freely without heading indoors, wash up (if you want to!) and make up fresh drinks outside. We asked CENA Director Jacques Shelton to share some of his outdoor sink expertise so that you can decide if they are something you want to add to your outdoor living area. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Where do they drain?
In order to safely and correctly drain a sink you will need access to a mains drain. There are three three types of these; surface or storm drains, foul or grey water drains or where the two systems are combined. Where soap and other contiminants such as grease are introduced you will need to access a grey or foul drain. This ensures the water will end up in a sewage treatment plant and will be properly processed. Please remember that even just cooking oils can be toxic to aquatic life so sending contaminated grey or foul into a storm drain may result in harming your local environment.
When planning your outdoor sink, I would recommend speaking to a local contractor before choosing a location as the cost of installing drainage may impact on your decision. The ideal time to install water works is during a landscaping installation while ground works are taking place and before cover such as decking or paving are laid.
How do you winterise an outdoor sink?
When water freezes it expands which means any pipes which are full or water are prone to bursting. To prevent this, you need to drain the water system before any freezing conditions. A local plumber can provide expert advice, but essentially you require a cut off valve to stop the water before it enters the system and allow you to drain what remains in the pipes. Be aware of water heaters and the need to prevent damage to them. Manufacturers may provide guidance or have specific devices to overcome the risk of frost damage so check your manuals.
How much does it cost to install an outdoor sink?
Sinks start at £100 in a small stainless steel hand wash basin. From there, you can chose composite sinks to match the worktops, such as corian. Ceramic sinks such as the Belfast style can be very useful when you have large grill items to clean. You’ll find a wide variety and the prices to march, so it will depend greatly on your taste.
You can use a normal indoor kitchen tap but, be aware constant exposure to outdoor elements may shorten the life of components not designed for temperature extremes. There are also taps specifically built for outdoor sink use which have more stainless steel components. Their warranty will provide peace of mind should anything fail. Indoor taps can cost from £200 for something quite stylish and outdoor taps are around £400.
You may want to start with a budget of £500 for the sink and tap and related pipework, but make sure you bear in mind the labour costs to install it which can range depending on where you are in the country.. The larger cost is likely to come from laying water pipes and drainage. Speak to a local contractor when you are first considering your options. The further from your mains drain and water feed the greater the cost. The most cost effective way to undertake this is during a landscaping project where the ground may already be exposed.
If you would like to chat to Jacques or the rest of the design team about outdoor sink or kitchen design or book your free design consultation, make sure you get in touch. CENA creates bespoke outdoor kitchens for customers across the UK, and we’re committed to helping you get your dream kitchen.