CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

CSI Kitchen & Bath Studio

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sinks: Stainless Steel, Granite, Porcelain--What Are the Differences?

When purchasing a new sink for the kitchen, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the many different materials and choices available.  Should we choose stainless steel?  Granite?  Fireclay?  Porcelain?   Let's look at the pros and cons of some very popular options.
  •  Stainless Steel:  The most popular material for kitchen sinks, stainless steel is durable, hygenic, rust free and will last a long time. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and depths to suit any situation.  There are even stainless steel apron sinks. One can choose between very straight lined designs with sharp, crisp edges which blend well with contemporary looks, or curvilinear designs with radius edges for a softer look.  For a good quality stainless steel sink, look for one that has at least 18-gauge thickness and with at least an 18/8 percentage of chromium and nickel in the steel.  The chromium provides the luster, and the nickel gives the strength.  A thicker gauge stainless steel is also quieter. The best stainless steel sinks will also have sound-deadening material on the bottom.  Stainless steel can scratch, however, and will develop a patina of tiny scratches over time.  A sink grid can help minimize scratches.  Stainless steel is very easy to clean, but harsh chemicals should be avoided, and the sink should be wiped dry after use to prevent water-spotting.  Some manufacturers are offering water-spot and fingerprint resistant finishes on some of their top-of-the-line models.
    Blanco #516213 Precision

  •  Granite: Granite sinks are available two ways--one can have a sink made out of granite slabs, which are beautiful, but very heavy, and expensive--or one can have a composite granite (or quartz) sink made of granite dust, combined with acrylic resins in about an 80/20 ratio and molded under high pressure in one piece.  They are very hard and durable, heat, stain and scratch resistant and are available in many different shapes, sizes and colors.  
    Blanco IKON 30" Silgranit apron sink
  • Fireclay:  Fireclay sinks are molded from china clay under high pressures, dried, then coated with a porcelain glaze under very high temperatures (1600-2000 degrees) to make a hard, non-porous surface.  They are resistant to acids and other stains, and resist scratching and chipping (though they can be chipped).  They are not available in as many sizes and colors as composite granite sinks.
    Franke Orca sink, white
  • Porcelain:  Long a classic in the kitchen, porcelain sinks have a cast iron core and are covered with a porcelain glaze and fired under high temperatures.  The result is a smooth, glossy finish and a timeless look.  They are available in drop-in and undermount models and in a wide range of colors.  Porcelain sinks are very durable, and with proper care last a very long time.  Harsh abrasives and chemicals should never be used to avoid wearing away the glaze, and care should be taken in placing objects in the sink to avoid chipping.  The sinks are very heavy and do require additional support for their weight.
    Kohler Riverby equal bowl, white



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