Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitchen Sinks: Materials 1-3

A wide range of materials are available for the kitchen sink.  We have come a long way from stainless steel or cast iron being the only options commonly available.  Below is a brief review of some possible material options, including pros and cons of each material.

§         Stainless Steel:  Stainless steel kitchen sinks are still the most popular option.  They have broad appeal for their neutral, clean look and durability.  There are two main factors to consider in stainless steel. One is the thickness or gauge of the steel; the lower the number the thicker the steel, and the higher quality sink.  Second is the sound deadening ability.   Spray coatings achieve increased sound deadening along with special sound pads underneath the sink. 
o        Pros:
§         Very durable and long lasting, resistant to chipping and cracking, easy to clean
§         Available in under-mount or drop-in models and many innovative shapes & sizes
§         Provides a consistent look with stainless appliances
§         Affordable
o        Cons:
§         Thinner gauges may sound tinny and flex
§         May show dried water and mineral spots
§         Can scratch {less visible on brushed finishes}

§         Cast Iron:  These sinks feature an iron base coated with an enamel finish.  Traditionally white, they are available in an array of colors.
o        Pros:
§         Durable sink available in various colors, style, and quality
§         Easy to clean and maintain.
§         Have a glossy finish and nice sheen
o        Cons:
§         Can chip or scratch causing underlying iron to rust
§         Undermount installation more difficult due to weight and options are limited
§         Due to high degree of thermal conductivity hot water does not hold its temperature for very long

§         China:  Vitreous china sinks are also known as fireclay sinks.  They are made from material similar to ceramics that is fired under intense heat.  Like ceramic tiles designs and colors can be “baked in”.  Many farmhouse type sinks are made of this material.
o        Pros:
§         Repels stains, requires no special cleaning, and is scratch resistant
§         Decorative patterns and detailing can be incorporated into the design
§         Material is homogeneous; chips will not rust like cast iron
o        Cons:
§         Often expensive
§         Chips can occur from hard knocks with heavy objects

The next blog will review other options for kitchen sinks.

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