Pros and Cons of Drainer types and GroovesWith so many reports of water sitting in grooves, it is prudent to have everything explained about drainer grooves in one place. The following article should be informative enough to provide an insight into three drainer types, with the aim to guide decision to the most suitable for a quartz worktop. Drainers that are cut into a quartz surface are only suitable for undermounted sinks, where the water can run off over a lip and fall into the sink bowl.
Drainer TypesThe big dilemma when choosing is working out why you have a preference for a draining board or drainer grooves in the first place. Maybe its for aesthetic reasons, practical reasons or more than likely a combination of both. When you are aware why you have a preference, the information provided in this full article will help you with your decision. Choose wisely, as the cut out for an overmounted sink is much larger, later deciding that an undermounted sink with drainer grooves or recessed drainer is better, will require replacement of your quartz worktop.
Drainer GroovesAlso known as flutes, drainer grooves can come in various patterns, although, none are more efficient than the most common straight fluted grooves. Five evenly spaced grooves of average 350mm in length are cut into the surface approximately 0.5mm at the shallow end to around 5 to 7mm at the drop. Aesthetically, drainer grooves in a quartz worktop are a good idea, but are they practical? Drainer flutes do drain excess water, however, water always sits at the end of the grooves due to water tension.
Recessed DrainersAlso known as a sunken drainers, recessed drainers are designed to contain water draining from washed dishes in a recess of an average of 450mm. There are two ways that a recessed drainer can be fabricated into a quartz surface, both have positive and negative outcomes. The impact on cost includes additional quartz worktop material and extended CNC machine time, nonetheless, both methods will require time and additional labour to fabricate a 'recessed' drainer.
Milled:Milling the area of recess down to 3mm to 7mm on average, giving a moulded appearance with no joins. However, achieving the same polished finish as the surrounding worktop is extremely difficult and should not be expected. Without diligence on keeping a flat milled drainer free from water, will also see a build up of limescale over time.
Inset:The area of recess is cut from the worktop and from the same quartz material, a new piece is cut to the size of the recess. With colour matching polyester glue, the drainer piece is fixed into position, inset to the required depth of the recess. Although this is the preffered method of fabricating a recessed drainer, the sharp angle of the join allows for scale and bacteria to build up unless thoroughly cleaned on a regularly basis. Without diligence on keeping a flat inset drainer free from water, will see a build up of limescale over time.
Sloped DrainersSloped drainers are recessed, angled slopes cut into the quartz surface and fabricated using the same methods as reccessed drainers. The difference, however, is that they are either milled with a sloping angle or cut and fixed inset at an angle. The gradient of the slope is slight, with depths varying from 2 to 3mm at the shallow end to 5 to 10mm over an average length of 450mm. As with drainer grooves, water will always sits at the end of the sloped drainer due to water tension.
CombinationsOccasionaly, drainers are fabricated in combinations, recessed and sloped drainers with the addition of grooves. With the increased angle of a sloped, recess and drainer groove combination, water will still rest in a state of tension. The angles required to prevent water resting in grooves or on a slope are much too large to be accomplished with standard worktop thickness's of only 20mm and 30mm.
Care and MaintenanceCalcium hydroxide Ca(OH)₂ is added to tap water to stabilize pH and improve taste. Calcium precipitates as limescale from water as it dries. Removal of limescale that has formed requires a substance that is more acidic, it is best practice to resort to more natural methods prior to hard and abrasive chemicals. Squeeze a lemon or add vinegar over affected areas or into a cloth and leave for around 10-15 minutes, for heavily affected areas, it may take several applications. Ultimately, best protection of your worktop and to keep drainer grooves in perfect condition is to clean and dry them after every use.
Surface TensionLiquid shrinks into the minimum surface area possible when at rest, the edge of a steep angled surface increases the surface area. Only when the body of water is able to retain itself under tension, will the liquid come to rest, leaving water sitting in the flutes of the drainer. As the undrained and standing water dries, calcium hydroxide in the water will preciptiate leaving behind limescale (hard water). Ironically, cutting grooves into a quartz surface actually increases the surface area, further increasing the tension. Unless the tensioned water is wiped from the drainer grooves after every use, limescale will start to form.
SolutionsIn all honesty, there are no solutions for quartz drainers when it comes to limescale build up, unless, habitual wiping and drying is performed after every use. Why have drainer grooves? Recently, many quartz worktops with undermounted sinks have been fabricated void of drainer grooves in favour of additional working surface, which is especially helpful in a smaller kitchen. Use of a drainer mat is also a viable option as it can be cleaned and cleared away.