Kitchen Sink Materials
1) Stainless Steel:
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are made to last. Stainless kitchen sinks are the most used home kitchen sinks and commercial sinks because they offer quality, durability, a low price and ease of cleaning. Stainless steel kitchen sinks won't be damaged by hot or cold objects and resist damage caused by impacts.
One disadvantage of a stainless steel kitchen sink is that they tend to be noisier than most other sink materials due to the stainless steel being thin (although better sinks apply a heavy coating of vibration-damping material to the underside of the sink).
Most stainless steel kitchen sinks are made with a die. A sheet of stainless steel is drawn over the die then pressed. (Some very deep sinks are fabricated by welding.) Look for the highest-grade stainless, which is known as Type 302, or 18/8. This grade of steel contains 18-percent chromium and 8-percent nickel for a durable, rust-resistant finish. Also, look at the gauge, or thickness, of the stainless steel kitchen sink. With stainless steel sinks, the heavier the gauge, the better; the lower the gauge number, the thicker the steel. A thicker sink is less likely to dent and it won't be as noisy as a thinner stainless kitchen sink. Most sinks come in 18 to 20 gauge; sinks in 14 and 16 gauge steel are available on the high end as well as 24 gauge steel on the lower end.
2) Porcelain or Enamel over Cast Iron
Porcelain or enamel over cast iron is a popular material for kitchen sinks. Not only are they heavy and durable, these kitchen sinks can also be very stylish, since they are manufactured in a very wide range of shapes and colors. They are resistant to hot or cold objects, just like stainless steel, however, porcelain can be damaged by sharp impacts. Cleaning aggressively will dull the surface, leading to more dirt accumulation.
Enamel over cast iron is similar to the porcelain. However, these sinks are a far less rugged and less costly alternative. Easy-clean enameled cast iron does provide the most color choices and a hard finish.
3) Integral Solid Surface
Integral solid surface kitchen sinks form part of a solid-surface countertop. The beauty of an integral solid surface kitchen sink is that it's seamlessly joined to the solid surface countertop, forming one seamless piece. This means no little crevices for moisture and grime to build up. What does this mean to you? Easy cleanup and low maintenance!
Composite sinks are often made from quartz or granite mixed with an acrylic binder. These sinks are fairly hard, scratch-resistant and a good value for the money.
a) Granite Composite: These are the most durable sinks on the market today. The high density of rock particles at the sink's surface cause this kitchen sink to be scratch-, chip- and heat-resistant. Hot pans will not mar the surface since these sinks offer heat resistance to 535° F.
b) Quartz Composite: Quartz composite kitchen sinks are a step below granite composite when it comes to their durability and wear. Quartz composite is usually a combination of 70-percent quartz and 30-percent resin filler. Quartz composite kitchen sinks can resist everyday cuts, scuffs and dents. These sinks can easily stand up to harsh cleaning materials and liquids. Quartz composite sinks are available in a variety of colors, and since the color is uniform throughout, this kitchen sink will never lose its original color. This sink is heat-resistant up to 446° F, and pots and pans can usually go right from stove to sink without damaging the sink.
c) Soapstone: Soapstone is a popular, high-end sink. Soapstone sinks are created by joining slabs of soapstone with epoxy to form the sink basin. The only drawback seems to be the perfectly flat bottom. Anything on the bottom of the sink, such as crumbs, must be manually swept toward the drain. Soapstone is stylish and ages wonderfully.