How To Buy A Kitchen Sink: Choosing Stainless, Porcelain, Concrete Or Fireclay Materials

by | Jul 6, 2018 | Signature Kitchen & Bath Blog | 0 comments

Here is a great article on countertop material Granite vs Quartz by Bryan Sebring. Interesting read. SRB Signature Kitchens and Baths is a full-service, one-stop shopping design center.  We have over 25+ years’ experience in this industry.  We have general contractors on staff and all of our subcontractors are fully licensed and insured. Servicing LunenburgFitchburgLeominsterWestminsterAshbyAshburnhamLancasterHarvard, Ayer, ActonShirleyTownsendGroton, PepperellBolton. Enjoy the article.



Well, after 30 years in the plumbing business I do know a little about this. When I first started selling sinks for kitchens you had a choice of “Cast Iron Enamel” or “Stainless Steel” that’s it and it was easy to choose just by the aesthetics.

Now we have more choices of material so let’s break this down with pros and cons of each.

Types of Kitchen Sinks

Top Mount Sink

Drops in from above and has a rim edge that overlaps the counter. These types of sinks are usually installed in Formica or any other counter material.

They can be tougher to clean. The rim of the sink sits on the counter and food and dirt is caught around the edge of the sink. If you have Formica counters you have no choice but a top mount sink.

Undermount Sinks

Mounted from underneath a solid countertop (granite, marble, Corian, and any composite material).

What I like about the undermount sinks is the easy of cleaning. You can wipe the counter down and go right into the sink because it doesn’t overlap the counter.

The sink is hidden under the counter and adds a sleek modern look to the kitchen. It also accentuates the counters.

Farm House Sinks 

Sits on the cabinet base and does not require support for the counter. They do require custom cabinets and countertops as they are pretty heavy.

They are also deeper so if you want to use a disposer you will need a deep flange because the thickness on the sink will not hold a normal disposer without the flange.

These sinks are best in Fireclay and also available in Stainless Steel.

Best Kitchen Sink Materials

Cast Iron


  • They are very heavy duty made from iron and enameled finish…been around for hundred plus years
  • The finish is glossy (like your nails after you get a new manicure) and beautiful
  • They come in colors from white to red to black and more


  • They are extremely heavy and need a strong enough cabinet to hold the weight
  • They will stain easier than some other materials
  • You could lose a wine glass or 2 as they are a brittle surface with no forgiving
  • The enamel can chip and then discolor

Stainless Steel

I could write an entire blog on Stainless Steel but I will try to keep this under control.


  • They are easier to sterilize (used in hospitals where that is paramount) so imagine how clean your fruits and veggies can be
  • They will scratch and the more they do the less scratches you will notice (in other words not to worry)
  • They are forgiving with fine china, glassware
  • They do not stain
  • Easy to clean with most polishing compounds (like Bar keepers friend)
  • They match your new appliances
  • Comes in endless sizes, styles, shapes, depths…you will always find just what you need


  • They scratch
  • If certain chemicals are left on the surface for extended period of time it could cause a reaction that will topically discolor surface, but can be cleaned easily with elbow grease
  • Some can sound tinny if you get one with no undercoating
  • They can look dull if you buy one that has a lower ratio of nickel vs chromium. You want to buy 16 to 18 gauge


What is Fireclay? It is a ceramic-porcelain material that is, in appearance, much like cast iron enameled but with a stronger finish. This sink is fired, in a kiln, at double the temperature than enameled sinks which gives them a nonporous surface and everlasting shine.


They come in a variety of styles and sizes from under mount single, and double sinks or the more well-known Farm sink.

Fireclay is available in white, biscuit, or black and the color is solid all the way through.

We have found nothing to permanently stain this sink material (not even a permanent Sharpie).

Clean then with almost anything, no need to “be careful” of cleaners like scrubbies or abrasives.

It is a wonderful alternative to the stainless for people who want a durable colored sink.

If the unthinkable did happen you can repair the surface with a kit (only once in 25 years have I sold a repair kit when the electrician dropped his tool from the ceiling into the sink).


  • They are very heavy, so your cabinet must be prepared to hold the weight
  • They come in fewer sizes and shapes than other materials
  • They tend to be on the costlier side of sink