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What The Heck Is A Fireclay Sink?

Apr 18, 2008
Choosing a new sink is a difficult task to say the least. Should you order one basin or two? How about three? Deep basin or shallow basin? Is a built in drainboard really necessary? How about a ledge? Those are just a few questions you should ask yourself before you order your new sink. Another question that must be answered is the type of material your sink will be made of: Stainless Steel, Fireclay, Composite, Soapstone, or Slate? The choices are many when it comes to sink material. We are going to discuss five of them.

Stainless Steel - the old standby for the kitchen sink, and for good reason. Hands down, Stainless is the most durable form of kitchen sink available. The steel never fades and the high-tech look of Stainless always appears current with modern design. Stainless is easy to install (and likewise easy to remove) and easy to keep clean. Also, extremely hot pans can be placed directly onto its surface without cause for worry. You can never go wrong with a Stainless Steel sink unless you insist on a warmer look and feel for your kitchen - the cold steel often presents a cold atmosphere along with its practical attributes.

Fireclay - these sinks are made from a natural material and are fired in extremely hot temperatures using an unusual technique. The firing temperatures are so hot that the glaze fuses with the clay, resulting in an exceptionally strong, hard surface that is resilient to chips, stains, scratches, and dings. If you are worried about chipping your Fireclay sink from the occasional dropped pan, you can purchase a wire grid to guard against such an occurrence. Fireclay sinks are the new trend in today's kitchen design. They are available in a variety of colors and designs.

Composite - the thicker the design, the more durable your Composite sink will be. These types of sinks come in a wide variety of colors and are made from an even larger variety of materials. They do scratch and are much less "hot pot" friendly when compared to Stainless. All things considered, Composite sinks are less durable than Stainless but can offer a more customized look to your kitchen.

Soapstone - these apron sinks diminish storage space under the sink but are easy to clean and can handle hot pots almost as well as Stainless. The Vermont Soapstone company has been producing these sinks since 1850. These types of sinks are not widely known or widely distributed. They are available in a soft, whitish gray with a lighter quartz marbling. Stain resistance increases with the sink's age, and these sinks blend equally with both modern and traditional designs.

Slate - these types of sinks lean towards difficult for general cleaning and can be particularly hard on dropped dishes. These are custom-order only and are available in reddish, blackish, and purplish tones. Care should be taken when sealing otherwise staining can occur. Despite the few shortcomings of this type of sink, no other sink material offers the texture and organic beauty that can only be found in a true Slate sink.

When choosing your sink material, you should ask yourself the following: how much time do you spend using the sink everyday? Do you prefer an easy-to-clean sink or a beautiful sink that requires more daily maintenance? Will your new sink experience mild or heavy usage? Will dropped dishes be common place or rare? Are you worried about chipping and staining? Is your new sink going to last a lifetime or is there a possibility you could be replacing it in five to ten years? Are you on a budget or is the sky the limit when it comes to pricing? By answering the above questions and taking into consideration the benefits and liabilities of each sink material, you should be able to make a more informed decision when choosing your new kitchen sink.
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