Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 2: Materials and Maintenance

Sink with running water
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In this part we will cover common material choices for your sink as well as some recommended maintenance. If you missed Part 1: Style, you can learn all about the different configurations of the bowl as well as mounting options. Next week we will continue with Choosing a Kitchen Faucet and discuss why it is important to choose the faucet on conjunction with the sink.



The biggest concern when choosing a sink material is longevity. Since most countertops are cut specifically for your sink, it is important to choose a sink that will last until your next remodel. There are many materials to choose from, but not all are suited to every lifestyle. We will discuss the pros and cons to each material so that you can make the decision that right for you.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the most popular option when it comes to sinks. It is used in the most basic sinks to very high end. It is often chosen for the fact that it is really hard to destroy and will last a lifetime with very little maintenance.

The biggest thing to look for in a stainless steel sink is the gauge. An 18 gauge stainless steel is industry standard for a good quality sink. The gauge is the thickness of the stainless steel and the higher the number, the thinner the material. It is best to avoid a 21 gauge sink, for example. That being said, anything past a 16 gauge is not necessary and atypical.


  • Extremely durable
  • Very heat resistant
  • Classic or modern styling available
  • Can be inexpensive for a more basic model


  • Scratches easily, although after about a year of use, the scratches blend and are not as noticeable
  • Hollow sounding, although this is typically corrected with sound deadening padding applied to the underside of the sink
  • Can be hard to clean if made with sharp corners (more modern or commercial styling)

Cast Iron

Cast iron sinks are another great option. They are typically coated with a high quality porcelain, which allows them to come in many different colors. They are typically found in white, cream, or black, but can be found in a rainbow of colors.


  • Pretty durable
  • Very heat resistant
  • Many color options


  • Porcelain can chip, would not recommend if you use a lot of heavy cast iron pots and pans
  • Can stain
  • Shows scratches easily depending on color
  • Typically only available in more traditional styling
  • Heavy, may require additional support, especially when undermounted
  • Typically mid to high cost


Acrylic sinks have become a popular choice of you want color, but don’t want to worry about chipping porcelain or the weight of cast iron. It can mostly be found in white, cream, and black, but I have seen red as well.


  • Many colors available
  • Light weight
  • Typically inexpensive


  • Can scratch easily and shows
  • Typically have heat limitations
  • Often only available in traditional styling
  • Usually only found in top mount option

Solid Surface

This type of sink, with a few exceptions, is usually available through countertop manufactures and would be installed as part of the countertop fabrication process. They are typically white or cream in color, although other color are available. Their biggest advantage is that they can be installed seamlessly into a solid surface countertop eliminating seams to clean. They also can be found undermounted in laminate, granite, and quartz countertops.


  • Seamless when installed in solid surface countertops
  • Repairable. Scratches can be buffed out with fine grit sand paper (Follow manufacturer instructions)


  • Can have heat restrictions
  • Colors limited to white, cream, and sometimes light grey. Dark colors are sometimes available, but should be avoided due to very visable scratches
  • Typically expensive when accounting for the installation charges
  • Usually only available from countertop manufactures
  • Scratches show due to light color, but can be repaired (see above)

Granite / Quartz Composite

Granite / Quartz sinks are made of bonded, crushed stone. They have become a popular choice due to their durability. They are typically available in grey, black, brown, and cream colors.


  • Extremely durable
  • Heat resistant
  • Both light and dark color options
  • Scratches do not show due to matte texture


  • Matte surface texture
  • Darker colors can show haze from cleaning supplies and soap residue


Fireclay is a true porcelain sink that is very durable. It has similar properties to cast iron, but is fired at a higher temperature so is more chip and scratch resistant. It is often used in farm or apron style sinks and is usually white in color.


  • Pretty durable
  • Very heat resistant
  • Can be found in traditional or modern styling
  • Decorative elements are often available (See above)


  • Can still chip and scratch. Avoid if using a lot of cast iron cookware
  • Can stain
  • Limited colors, usually white or cream
  • Heavy, may require additional support, especially when undermounted
  • Can be expensive


Copper is more of a specialty sink and is on the expensive end. The main reason for choosing copper is purely the look, as it will develop a patina with use. They can be beautiful in the right setting and often feature a design or hammered texture.


  • Will develop patina that you will not be able to get with any other material
  • Can be a focal point in your kitchen
  • Hammered look and designs available (See Above)


  • Easily dented
  • Will discolor over time. Do not choose if you do not want an aged or lived-in look
  • Can have hollow sound, but is typically corrected with sounded deadening padding applied to the underside of the sink


All sinks are made to withstand everyday use and abuse with little maintenance other than cleaning. Over the years, I have had recommended time and time again Bar Keepers Friend powder for keeping your sink looking it’s best. It is inexpensive and does a great job. I recommend pairing it with a Magic Eraser for those really tough spots.

Another highly recommended cleaning tool is the OXO Deep Clean Brush Set. It even has this soft pointed tip that you never knew you needed. It is great for getting around the edges of the sink, as well as around the faucet and drain.

The sink the powerhouse and most used area in kitchen. Being able to choose the sink that is right for the kitchen style, as well as your personal use and preferences is important to your happiness with your kitchen.

If you missed Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 1: Style, you can find it here. We discuss the options in mounting your sink as well as bowl layout choices. Next week we will discuss Choosing a Kitchen Faucet and why it is important to choose before ordering your sink.

One thought on “Choosing a Kitchen Sink Part 2: Materials and Maintenance

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  1. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!


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