It's blog time again and, as I have worked on quite a few kitchen remodels this year, I felt like following up last month's countertop blog with one about sink choices. (Which made me think of Norah Jones' song "Sinkin' Soon", so give it a listen while you read this and let me know what you think!)
There are a lot of different sinks to choose from in many different materials and styles, but I will be focusing on two specific ones: cast iron and fireclay farmhouse sinks.
They are both good options and often people are torn between the two, not knowing which to pick. Just like in the battle between quartz and granite counters, each material has its own pros and cons, so here's a quick overview.
And in the left corner, weighing quite a bit is our first contender, Caaaaaast Iroooonnnn!
A lame joke, yes, but true nonetheless. Cast iron sinks are lovely, but heavy. They are made of iron that is heated until it has liquified and then that liquid is poured into a mold. After it cools, a heavy porcelain enamel finish is added while hot, which is fuses it to the metal underneath. Due to the weight of these materials, undermount sinks often need special bracing. If you are redoing your entire kitchen, it isn't really an issue, as the contractor will know to adjust accordingly, but DIY projects will often have problems with the weight.
On the positive side, cast iron sinks are fairly tough. They are generally resistant to scratches, light, staining, and fading. Plus, water spots show less. The porcelain enamel can be mixed into many different colors, it is fairly easy to clean, and it is less expensive than the alternative.
There is one other thing you have to watch out for though. If the enamel chips, it can reveal the iron underneath, which makes the coloration of your sink uneven and exposes the metal to rust. Luckily, cast iron sinks have been around for years and deal well with the everyday wear and tear.
And in the right corner, weighing less than its opponent, Fiiiiire-claaaaaaaaaay!
And the joke continues. Alright, we've already established that cast iron sinks are heavy, because duh! Unfortunately, fireclay sinks are also heavy, just not as heavy. You still have to be aware of their weight, however. It is, as the name suggests, made out of clay that is formed by hand, dried, coated with porcelain enamel and fired in a kiln to fuse the two. So, a really big, really durable piece of china.
On to the pros! Fireclay is all handmade, allowing for a lot more freedom in regard to size and shape. That also mean that you can add decorations to it, just like if you were commissioning a ceramic vase. It is easy to clean, just like the cast iron, and can generally withstand heavy use. It is resistant to scratching, chipping, fading and discoloring.
As for cons, well it is very expensive. Most handmade objects are. In fact, that is one of the other issues, it is handmade. That means that there will be imperfections. Sometimes the drain will not be low enough, allowing for water to pool in other areas. Other times, there may have been an issue during the manufacturing process that leaves the sink weak to breaks in specific areas, something that wouldn't be obvious at first. Luckily for you, TLN Interiors only works with the most reputable of manufacturers, ones who guarantee their products! For those who are obsessed with color, it really only comes in white or off-white and the coloration may crackle a bit over time. Finally, care must be taken during installation to not over tighten anything, as it will damage the sink and can cause cracks.
Weight is the big one. As stated earlier, they both have quite a bit of weight and may need special accommodations because of it, though the fireclay seems to need less. Another is how you clean them. Most people agree that fireclay sinks are less fussy, but in general abrasive cleaners are a no. This includes, but isn't limited to, steel wool and baking soda. Both can scratch the finish of your sink.
Again, it is a tie. Just like with my granite v. quartz blog, it really comes down to preference and usage. Both are lovely products that would enhance any kitchen they found themselves in, but it is up to each person to decide which option is best. Or their interior designer. You know what? Scratch that last part and just ask me. Safer that way. ;)
...'Til next time!
If you want to find out more about these two products, check out these sites: