A new kitchen is not complete without the perfect kitchen sink, it is also the busiest part of the kitchen. From cleaning pots and pans to scratching utensils, dishwashing, and hard water stains, kitchen sinks endure a lot of damage and force.
That is why most homeowners want the most durable kitchen sink that can last for a long period. Also, they opt for a sink that is not only tough but also visually appealing and easy to maintain.
Well, it all depends on the kitchen sink material. To help you choose which is the most durable kitchen sinks, we have rounded up the top materials based on their strength, functionality, and toughness.
6 Most Durable Kitchen Sink Materials
Take a look at the following sink materials that are very functional, durable, and will look good in your kitchen too.
Stainless Steel Sinks
Image Source: Buildmat
Our topmost durable kitchen sink is constructed from stainless steel. This material is very popular for a kitchen sink because of its imperishable properties.
Stainless steel is a ferrous alloy that consists of about 11% chromium, an element that prevents the metal from rusting. It also has other elements such as carbon, nickel, molybdenum, manganese, sulfur, copper, nitrogen, niobium, titanium, selenium, silicon, and copper. Stainless steel has the following properties and characteristics:
- High-tensile strength
- Heat and temperature resistant
- Very durable
- Low maintenance
- Stylish appearance
The stainless steel is gauged on its thickness. The thicker the stainless steel, the more durable the sink is. The thicker stainless steel has a lower gauge number, whilst the thinner stainless steel has an elevated gauge number.
A good quality stainless steel sink has a gauge number of 18, which is about 1.2mm thick. A higher quality stainless steel sink such as what we use on our Buildmat sinks would have a gauge of 16, which is around 1.5mm thick.
If you're on the market for high-quality stainless steel kitchen sinks, consider Buildmat's kitchen sinks, where all their stainless steel sinks are 16-gauge and are also hand-welded, meaning they are carefully crafted by hand rather than using a machine to press the sheet of material into the shape of the sink.
One drawback that we see in stainless steel kitchen sinks is the visibility of water spots and scratches. The nature of stainless steel is that it does scratch but that's just part of having such a versatile material.
Stainless steel sinks can also be prone to scratches especially when the sink is new. However, as you continue to use the sink, the scratches will usually fade and be less noticeable over time. Although, scratches can be reduced by using one of our sink protector grids, we generally recommend that you should use your sink and allow it to scratch, but some love maintaining the brushed finish.
Water spots can also be annoying but this can be prevented by regular cleaning maintenance such as wiping your sink dry.
Granite Composite Sinks
Image Source: M. Vakhtbovych
Next on our list is the granite composite material, which is a combination of stone dust, crushed quartz, and acrylic resin. It is lighter than solid granite, but it is a more durable stone-like material and low maintenance. Most top-quality kitchens have granite composite sinks. You can find good quality granite composite sinks from BLANCO.
The advantages of choosing high-end granite composite kitchen sinks are the following:
- Very scratch-resistant
- Will not discolour or fade
- No water spots visibility and staining
- Resists acid, and other chemicals
- Has the strength of natural stone and durable
- Variety of matte colour options
Some cons to granite composite sinks that have light colours is that they may stain in time if not cleaned thoroughly. Another con is that because the material is heavy, they require additional installation costs and support. Furthermore, since granite composite sinks are quite scratch and chemical-resistant, you may have to pay a premium price for these sinks.
Copper Kitchen Sinks
Copper kitchen sinks have this rustic and country-style look. A high-quality copper sink is made from 99% genuine copper and 1% zinc. These components make this sink strong and tough. Also, copper is a malleable and soft metal. Keep in mind to opt for a copper sink that is lead-free and mercury-free certified.
It is also found that copper can kill bacteria. Experts have said that the molecules of copper can punch holes into the membrane of bacteria, which prevents the growth of bacteria. This is why copper is one of the best kitchen sink materials that will keep your sink and countertop sanitary.
Choose a copper sink that has a gauge between 14 and 16. However, this can be quite costly and may range from $600 to $1,200. Lower-priced copper sinks may have thinner gauge metal. Also, keep in mind that copper sinks can be more difficult to maintain compared to other sink materials, and can be sensitive to heat, acid, and powerful cleaning agents.
Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
What makes cast iron sink durable? This type of kitchen sink has two layers. The first layer is foundational, which is made from a durable iron alloy. Then, the second layer is a coat of porcelain enamel that is treated at a high temperature resulting in a glossy and smooth surface.
The foundational layer of the cast iron sink may last long. It also retains heat which is beneficial when washing dishes with your hands. Meanwhile, the porcelain enamel is nonporous and stain-resistant. This makes it easy to clean and maintain. On the other hand, avoid using abrasive cleaners because these may scratch the coating.
Compared to fireclay sinks, cast iron sinks have more colour options and are generally less expensive. However, a disadvantage we see in cast iron sinks is that it is heavy. It is about thrice the weight of a stainless steel sink. So, you must have durable support to sustain the cast iron sink.
Stone Kitchen Sinks
Image Source: M. Vakhtbovych
Stone kitchen sinks are either constructed from granite, slate, or marble. They are made from ground granite dust and acrylic resin and shaped into a sink mold then cured. Once done, it is polished into a high-gloss or matte finish. Each stone sink has a unique look as they are made based on its natural formation of blended minerals.
They do not rust or dent, which makes them a durable material for the kitchen sink. If you have a marble countertop, getting a sink made of matching natural marble can give your kitchen a seamless and visually appealing look. With proper cleaning and maintenance, these stone sinks can last for a lifetime.
A con to stone sinks is that they are on the expensive side of kitchen sinks. You may find that pure granite material will typically start anywhere from $1,000. You may also need to be careful when handling glassware as it can break easier when dropped compared to other sink materials such as stainless steel.
Another thing to keep in mind is that since stone sinks are quite heavy, they require strong support. And with their porous material, they can be prone to damage if in contact with strong cleaning agents.
Fireclay Kitchen Sinks
Image Source: S. Elizabeth
Fireclay kitchen sinks are another one on our list of most durable kitchen sink materials. This is also referred to as a farmhouse sink because of its farmhouse style and material. It is made from ceramic clay shaped into a sink and dries for about 40 minutes at an elevated temperature. Then, it is coated with porcelain enamel at a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 hours. This makes the sink very durable with superior strength.
Fireclay sinks are also more lightweight and harder to chip compared to cast iron sinks, although they are more expensive. The cost of small fireclay kitchen sinks ranges from $400 to $500, while the bigger size may cost around $750 and above. Another drawback we see is that it can crack during installation. To avoid this, the sink must be handled and installed carefully.
So which is the best?
All of these materials mentioned above are the most durable kitchen sink materials that can last for a long period of time depending on care and maintenance. Our top choice would be stainless-steel sinks, as this material has the advantages of being the more affordable, visually appealing, long-lasting, and durable option amongst the others mentioned. You will also be able to find it in both undermount sink or topmount sink options so it's a lot easier to find the perfect sink in Stainless Steel.
But of course, it's up to you to decide which of these durable sinks is best to have in to go with your functional needs and kitchen design.