Beyond Stainless Steel Sinks for Kitchen Design

Stainless steel sinks have graced more kitchen designs than we can possibly count. Like white kitchen designs, the stainless sink is a classic look that complements any style and is a durable and practical option.  What about an alternative to stainless if you just want something different for your kitchen remodel?

Kitchen design has come a long way and developments in the variety, styles, and durability of kitchen sink options has followed. Below, we’ll discuss the three most common sink styles, as well as several alternative materials to stainless steel and the pros and cons of each.

Kitchen Sink Styles

Undermount Sinks

Undermount sinks are installed under the countertop, offering a fresh, trendy look. With no exposed edges, you can wipe crumbs directly into the sink, making cleanups a breeze!

Drop-In or Top-Mount Sinks

A top-mount sink is dropped in from above and its rimmed edge overlays the counter. With the rim of the sink on top of the counter, these sinks can be a little harder to clean as dirt and gunk can get easily caught. Top-mount sinks are most commonly used with Formica countertops.

Farmhouse Sinks

Farmhouse sinks are a large, single basin that feature an exposed front, and they easily complement kitchen design styles that go far beyond rustic, farmhouse kitchens. Their vintage look and the fact that they come in a wealth of colors have made farmhouse sinks increasingly popular over the years.

Sink Materials

Enameled Cast Iron Sink

You’ve probably seen an enameled cast iron kitchen sink in your grandmother’s house. Coated in a porcelain enamel and fired at high temperatures, this sink is hard and durable. If you’re looking for a bright, glossy look this is a good choice for your kitchen remodel. These sinks come in a variety of colors and will fit into most budgets.

Pros:

  • Highly durable;
  • Easy to clean and maintain;
  • Retains heat longer (though it takes longer to warm up);
  • Has a beautiful finish;
  • Available in multiple colors;
  • Budget-friendly; and
  • Is a solid investment, as it can easily last a life time.

Cons:

  • Very heavy and need solid fixturing, due to the weight;
  • Porcelain can wear/chip over time, leaving the underlying iron susceptible to rust; and
  • Not compatible with abrasive cleaners.

Composite Sinks

Composite sinks are available in both granite and quartz composite. This manufactured sink is composed of resin mixed with either granite or quartz, making it incredibly durable. They offer the look of natural stone in a variety of shapes, sizes, and more importantly, colors.

Pros:  

  • Impervious to household acids;
  • Resistant to chips, scratches, and water spots;
  • Good value for money; and
  • Heat resistant, particularly the granite composite.

Cons:

  • Porous materials make it vulnerable to certain stains;
  • Only available in matte finishes; and
  • Requires more daily maintenance than other sinks.

Fireclay Sinks

Fireclay sinks are crafted from a ceramic material that is fired in a kiln at temperatures above 1800°F, which makes them incredibly durable. These sinks have tons of character and are perfect for those looking to install a farmhouse sink in their kitchen design. White and off-white are the most common colors, but can be found in blue, black, and grey.

Pros:

  • Provide a unique character and style;
  • Impervious to abrasive cleaners;
  • Durable and resistant to chips, scratches, and stains; and
  • Non-porous finish that's easy to maintain.

Cons:

  • Very heavy and need solid fixturing due to the weight;
  • Come in fewer sizes and shapes;
  • More expensive than other options; and
  • Requires careful installation of drain and garbage disposal to avoid cracking.

Copper Sinks

Copper sinks are incredibly durable, but more interestingly, they will be the visual centerpiece of your new kitchen.  Copper is a living surface that will develop a patina (a green or brown film produced by oxidation that develops on the surface of certain metals), which will allow the colors to evolve throughout the years. Your new copper kitchen sink will add supreme character and charm to the newly renovated space.

Pros:

  • Versatile option when it comes to style and fabrication; and
  • Naturally resistant to microbial growth, making it an ideal antibacterial surface in the kitchen.

Cons:

  • Thinner sinks will dent or be scratched more easily than thicker sinks;
  • Acids, cleaning chemicals, and heat will affect the patina; and
  • Requires regular maintenance.

In the end, choosing the right materials for your kitchen remodel means balancing several factors. Look for selections that suit your design aesthetic, family’s needs, and overall budget. Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to kitchen design!

For examples of kitchen design plans, visit our kitchen remodeling gallery. If you’re ready to start a kitchen renovation, contact Lang’s Kitchen & Bath at 215-968-5300 or visit our Newtown showroom today!