What Kitchen Sink Is Right For You? A Look at Stainless, Cast Iron, Marble & More

What Kitchen Sink Is Right For You? A Look at Stainless, Cast Iron, Marble & More

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Nancy Mitchell
Sep 10, 2016
(Image credit: Miss Moss)

One of the most important decisions you'll make with regards to your sink is what it's made of. Here, we take a look at nine different materials you could choose for your sink, from the common (stainless steel) to the luxurious (marble) to the unusual (wood), and give you the lowdown on what you need to know about each one.

(Image credit: Pella Hedeby)

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel sinks are popular for a reason: they're inexpensive, attractive, and easy to maintain. You can get them in both topmount and undermount varieties to suit pretty much any countertop and kitchen.

Cast Iron

Cast iron, like the kind you use for cooking, is also used to create sinks, with a porcelain enamel coating that gives it a brilliant, shiny look. These sinks, which are available in drop-in, undermount, and apron-front varieties, may require reinforcing for their extra weight. Over time they can also chip, scratch, or stain, something you may have witnessed if you've ever seen a very old cast iron sink.

Fireclay

Fireclay is a mix of enamel and porcelain, fired at incredibly high temperatures so that the enamel fuses with the porcelain. This makes for a hard, shiny surface that's almost identical in looks to cast iron. Fireclay sinks are non-porous and incredibly durable, but can stain, chip or crack over time. This is a popular material for farmhouse (or apron-front) sinks.

(Image credit: Domino)

Marble

Marble sinks are very, very beautiful, but they're also very expensive, and they have to be babied a little. The marble needs to be re-sealed periodically, and it can't be cleaned with abrasive cleaners. Marble also stains really easily in the presence of acids like lemon juice and red wine, and even standing water, so if you're the kind of person who often leaves a lot of dishes in the sink this isn't for you.

(Image credit: Woon Stijl)
(Image credit: Domino)

Soapstone

Soapstone is just as pretty as marble and quite a bit less high-maintenance, since it is non-porous. But it does still need to be oiled from time to time.

Engineered Stone (Composite)

Lots of companies that make engineered stone countertops, like Corian and Ceasarstone, make sinks that integrate with their countertops, for a seamless look. You can also buy composite sinks, made from a blend of rock and resin, that mimic the look of natural stone with a little bit less maintenance.

Copper

Copper sinks have a beautiful shine and a worn-in, old-world feel. They come in hammered (a bit more of a country kitchen vibe) and smooth varieties, like the one above. Copper sinks are naturally anti-microbial, and, like anything made from copper, will develop a bit of a patina over time. Smooth copper sinks can show scratches and dents, and all copper sinks need to be waxed to protect their appearance.

KBH
(Image credit: KBH)

Brass

Eye-catching, but expensive. Brass sinks can scratch, and need to polished if you wish to maintain the shiny appearance.

(Image credit: Bolig)

Wood

Definitely an unusual choice. This sink, and the countertop surrounding it, are made from teak (from an old boat!), and the sink was sealed with an epoxy varnish. If you're the sort who loves to DIY, Greg from 100k Garages posted the steps he used to make his own wooden sink — you can read all about it here.

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