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Sink Materials Fact Sheet

by Paul Sanders

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Copper vessel sink in a granite counter

Using different materials in your kitchen and bath fixtures can produce pleasant textures and color contrasts. Sinks for the kitchen and bath come in a variety of materials and styles. Below are some facts about different materials for kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks, as well as information on care and maintenance.

Sink Materials:

  1. Stainless steel: Stainless steel kitchen sinks are made to last. Stainless steel sinks are the most used home kitchen sinks and commercial sinks because they offer quality, durability, a low price and ease of cleaning. Stainless steel kitchen sinks won't be damaged by hot or cold objects and resist damage caused by impacts.

  2. Porcelain or enamel over cast iron: Porcelain or enamel over a cast-iron sink is a popular material for kitchen sinks. Not only are they heavy and durable, these kitchen sinks can also be very stylish, since they are manufactured in a very wide range of shapes and colors. They are resistant to hot or cold objects, just like stainless steel; however, porcelain can be damaged by sharp impacts. Cleaning aggressively will dull the surface, leading to more dirt accumulation. Enamel-over-cast iron is similar to the porcelain, but these sinks are a less rugged and less expensive alternative. Easy-to-clean enameled cast-iron sinks do provide the most color choices and a hard finish.

  3. Integral solid surface: Integral solid-surface kitchen sinks form part of a solid-surface countertop. The beauty of an integral solid-surface kitchen sink is that it's joined to the solid countertop, forming one seamless piece. This means there are no little crevices between the sink and countertop where moisture and grime can build up, so integral solid-surface sinks are easy to clean.

  4. Composite: Composite sinks are often made from quartz or granite mixed with an acrylic binder. They are are fairly hard, scratch-resistant and a good value for the money.

  5. Granite Composite: Granite is possibly the most durable material on the market today. The high density of rock particles at the granite sink surface cause this kitchen sink to be scratch-, chip- and heat-resistant. Hot pans will not mar the surface since granite sinks offer heat resistance to 535 degrees Fahrenheit.

  6. Quartz Composite: Quartz composite kitchen sinks are a step below granite composite when it comes to their durability and wear. Quartz composite usually has a combination of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler. Quartz composite kitchen sinks can resist everyday cuts, scuffs and dents. Quartz can easily stand up to harsh cleaning materials and liquids. Quartz composite sinks are available in a variety of colors, and since the color is uniform throughout, there is no surface color to wear or fade with cleaning.

  7. Soapstone: Soapstone is a popular high-end material. Soapstone sinks are created by joining slabs of soapstone with epoxy to form the basin. Soapstone is stylish and ages beautifully.

  8. Copper: Copper sinks are usually made of hammered copper, which gives them a very old-fashioned feel. Copper sinks come in a number of shades and are usually sealed to prevent corrosion. Without sealing, copper requires periodic polishing and can be protected with wax.

  9. Glass: Glass is a common material for vessel sinks. A glass sink can contain a beautiful array of colors, and it catches the light when water runs through it. Tempered glass is also very durable, easy to clean and won't stain.

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