While sinks are certainly still utilitarian in nature, they have come a long way from being just convenient and useful. In today’s world, sinks come in thousands of different shapes, sizes and colors. The sink is often the visual focal point of many kitchens and bathrooms and for some people, quite the financial investment. Aside from finding a sink that matches the aesthetics of your design and decor, functionality and practicality must also be considered. With all these variables, choosing which sink material best suits your lifestyle can quickly become an overwhelming process. Being armed with the right information and knowledge can make all the difference.
Copper and Brass
Copper and brass are eco-friendly, natural and recyclable resources and as environmental impact concerns have increased, so has the common use of copper and brass as sink materials. With their rust-resistant and antimicrobial properties, they are ideal materials for kitchens and bathrooms where water and bacteria are most commonly found in homes. Both copper and brass are living metals and produce a natural protective shield called patina. Patina finishes are known for their deep, rich and weathered luster and contribute to the allure of owning a copper or brass sink. Copper and brass sinks are often chosen for their ability to become the focal point of any room. If your preferred design style is rustic and weathered with striking aesthetics, copper or brass might be a good fit for you. Some things to consider when purchasing a copper or brass sink:
- Depending on the manufacturer and finish, copper sinks can be either one of the highest or the lowest maintenance sinks on the market. Most require a regular wax treatment and need to be dried after each use to prevent water stains.
- Varying grades of copper and brass offer different grades of strength. Consider which gauge and type is appropriate for your home as this will determine how durable and lasting your sink will be.
- Remember that Copper and brass are living metals and therefore very reactive to their environment. They can be damaged by harsh cleaners, alkalies and acidic liquids. It's recommended that copper and brass sinks be cleaned with only mild soap and water.
Nothing says "farmhouse kitchen" like a fireclay sink. Made of clay fired and cured in a kiln at blazing hot temperatures, these utilitarian sinks are known for their durability and resistance to scratches and chips. For good measure, an impermeable, acidic and alkali resistant glaze coating is applied that prevents staining and makes for easy, hassle-free cleaning. If durability and low maintenance are your main concern when choosing a sink material, fireclay may be a good option. Also consider the following:
- Fireclay sinks are substantially heavier than others and may require professional installation as well as reinforced and modified cabinetry.
- Recently the process of creating fireclay material sinks has become environmentally friendly, and the vast majority are made of lead free and recyclable materials.
- Traditionally fireclay sinks are apron-front and stark white, however other colors are available as well as customized embellishments.
Granite sinks, or more commonly known as granite composite sinks are manufactured with a mix of crushed granite dust and acrylic resin that is formed under extreme high pressure into molds. Preferred by many for their modern style, granite sinks are available in several shapes, sizes, colors. These sinks are typically paired with marble, granite and quartz countertops to obtain the sleek and modernized look that is prevalent in many homes today. If a sophisticated streamline look sounds appealing to you then granite may be the right choice. Further considerations:
- Granite sinks typically cost between $200 and $500, a measure of affordability when compared to similar models on the market.
- Conveniently available in both drop-in and undermount installations.
- Resins are only heat resistant to a certain degree before warping and blemishing occurs, causing irreparable damage to your granite sink.
By far the most common sink found in modern kitchens are those that are made of stainless steel. Affordability, practicality and the ability to blend into virtually any space make this material a staple of any kitchen renovation. The stainless steel material option is widely available not only in sinks but in most other household appliances as well, making it ideal for those who prefer uniformity. It's known for its heat resistance, durability and resilience to general wear and tear. If your budget is tight but you're unwilling to negotiate on quality and appearance, stainless steel is a popular choice.
- No longer exclusive to only kitchens, stainless steel bathroom sinks are steadily becoming popular.
- It's important to decide which gauge of stainless steel works best for you. Gauge determines how thick your sink will be and subsequently, how durable and noisy it will be.
- Look for sinks with sound-absorbing pads or adhesive sound absorbing spray. Stainless steel is known for its loud drum like sound under running water when sound absorption hasn't been addressed.
- Stainless steel is by far the most affordable sink material option on the market.
Glass sinks are typically available in the vessel style. Arguably the most versatile of all sinks, you can find glass vessel sinks in endless shapes, designs and colors at a price that is shockingly low for such a trendy look. Many people choose glass vessel sinks for their ergonomic design, as these sinks tend to sit at a substantially higher level than other sinks, making bending over the sink less of a daily strain. Many vessel sinks come ready to install with their own faucets, making them perfect for anyone looking for an affordable option with little fuss.
- Cleaning glass vessel sinks can be an ordeal when you consider that you're working with almost double the amount of visual space when compared to a normal mounted sink.
- Because of their exposed rim and generally fragile nature, they tend to chip and crack more easily than others.
- Glass vessel sinks tend to allow for excessive splashing but a faucet equipped with an aerator will address this issue.
Vitreous China and ceramic
It is difficult to go wrong with vitreous china sinks or ceramic sinks. Made from raw materials like clay, glass and quartz, they are a durable, non-porous and easy to maintain material option. Vitreous china goes a step further and is made by coating porcelain or ceramic with an enamel made from powdered glass, giving it a glossy look. This special coating makes it only marginally more durable than ceramic and porcelain. Most commonly used in bathrooms, vitreous china and ceramic are often found in the kitchen as well, typically in farmhouse apron-front style. Vitreous china and Ceramic sinks are admired for their timeless and elegant appearances and their straightforward style makes them a great choice for any room and any decor.
- While it's certainly more durable than other materials, vitreous china is far from indestructible and has been known to chip and crack when not handled carefully.
- The nature of their construction allows for a large variety of shapes and styles. Vitreous china and ceramic can be bought in many styles, including vanity, pedestal, and vessel.
- Virtuous china and ceramic are both equally affordable with prices ranging from less than $100, making them one of the most cost effective choices on the market.