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Bathroom sinks come in many sizes, shapes, and colors--along with a plethora of different materials as well. The material that makes up your bathroom sink can affect its maintenance, durability, and style. From clay to glass, and everything in between, it’s important to understand the benefits of the different types of materials available for your bathroom sinks.
Entirely dependent on your priorities for a bathroom sink, the best material is a personal answer. Between durability, maintenance, style, and cost, each material has qualities that some may view as pros that others view as cons. While ceramic and porcelain sinks have remained in popularity due to their lasting quality and timeless appeal, sinks today are made from a wide range of unique materials that truly offer something for everyone.
Ceramic is a type of pottery that is made of clay and hardened by heat. Ceramics are normally made by taking mixtures of clay, powders, and water, shaping them into form and firing in a high temperature oven, or kiln.
Is ceramic durable?
Ceramic sinks have an extremely strong surface that is resistant to scratching, chipping, and impacts, which makes them able to withstand the rigors of everyday use. These features make ceramic ideal for items that will be used repeatedly.
Ceramic is particularly hard, smooth, and completely sealed. Because of these characteristics, dirt is unable to penetrate the surface of the sink. This makes cleaning and maintenance extremely easy; simply wiping off dirt and dust with a soft dry cloth is adequate for daily cleaning. For a more thorough cleaning, we recommend using a gentle all-purpose cleaning product and a soft sponge or cloth.
If you have a hand-painted or glazed ceramic sink, clean with a non-abrasive cleaner. Do not use bristle brushes or abrasive sponges, as they may damage the decorative surface. Do not let cleaners soak on the surface of your sink. Rinse and wipe with a soft dry cloth after use and cleaning to prevent soap buildup.
Porcelain is the hardest clay available. This ceramic material is heated in a kiln at an extreme temperature, causing the clay to become less dense and porous. Porcelain is tough in durability and soft-looking in appearance.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic made from refined clay and fired at temperatures between 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Porcelain is commonly used in sinks because of its low moisture absorbency and ease of cleaning, but is also used for trim on items such as faucet handles, inset buttons, bath hardware, and shower heads. In older homes, porcelain sinks are very common, but are usually a porcelain coating over a base of cast iron or other metal.
All porcelain sinks are made from fireclay, a special kind of clay that can stand up to extremely high temperatures, but can be manufactured in many different ways. The “old method,” which used porcelain as a coating over cast iron, was popular in the first half of the 20th century, but is rarely used today. A more modern method is to use stainless steel in place of cast iron, where the porcelain is fused to the metal with extremely high heat.
Is porcelain durable?
Porcelain is extremely durable. There are many porcelain sinks still in use that are 50 to 100 years old. The porcelain material used to make sinks has glass and metal mixed in with the clay to give it extra strength and resistance to heat and chemicals. However, porcelain sinks can chip and are susceptible to stains. Avoid dropping heavy or sharp items into a sink made of porcelain.
Although porcelain is typically white, porcelain sinks can be made in any color or pattern of colors to complement your decor.
Maintenance and Care
Use a gentle soap, such as dishwashing liquid or an all-purpose cleaner, and avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage your sink. Clean your porcelain sink every day to prevent a buildup of soap scum, grease, and dirt, and wipe the sink dry with a soft cloth to prevent water stains. Do not clean a porcelain sink with vinegar. Although it is useful for cleaning many other items in your home, its high acid content can damage the sink’s surface.
Stone sinks are individual works of art, carved from a single block of stone. Each block of stone has its own distinctive traits including color variation, veining, minor pits, and flecks of minerals such as copper, silver, or gold.
Natural stone sinks range in color and characteristics. Some sinks are completely shaped and polished, while other stone sinks are left with unfinished features for dramatic contrast. Each stone sink is created under natural conditions, making it entirely unique.
Because most stone is porous, it is important to take special care of your sink to protect against harmful substances. Upon receiving your sink, seal with a product such as StoneTech Heavy Duty Sealer. To retain your sink's natural shine, reseal your sink once or twice a year. When installing your sink, carefully use silicone to seal the drain and use extra caution to keep the silicone away from the exposed sink area. Oil-based sealers or plumber's putty should never be used on a natural stone sink. These products will stain the stone if applied near the surface of the polished basin. If staining does occur, use a standard stone and tile stain remover. For more difficult stains, apply a poultice product from StoneTech directly to the stain.
We recommend that you regularly clean your natural stone sink with a mild dish detergent or stone cleaner. After each use, wipe the basin dry with a soft cloth. Do not allow mineral deposits such as iron, salt, lime, or soap to build up on your sink. Refrain from using acidic household cleaners, wipes with harsh chemicals, or abrasives, as these will damage stone.
Granite forms as molten rock slowly cools deep underground, allowing crystals to form. These crystals create speckles, flecking, and larger flakes depending on the mineral and temperature at which the granite forms. Granite is very dense and tough, making it an excellent stone for everyday use. The word granite comes from the Latin word granum, literally a grain, which refers to the coarse-grained texture of the stone.
Marble is a result of the metamorphosis of limestone. The swirls and vein patterns of marble are caused by minerals that were originally grains or layers in the limestone. Marble has long been used as a sculpture medium due to its ability to be shaped and its resistance to shattering.
Travertine forms when carbon dioxide-rich waters experience a significant change in temperature or pressure and are forced to release their calcium carbonate. This chemical compound then re-crystallizes, often encasing debris which causes the stone to be somewhat porous when dry. The striations and bands of color are due to various minerals that are present when the stone is formed.
Sandstone is created when sand is compacted under great pressure for long periods of time. It can take hundreds of years for sandstone to form. Sandstone is composed primarily of quartz, but can also contain various other minerals, resulting in a vast variety of colors and designs and making every sandstone sink a one-of-a-kind creation. The various coloration of sandstone is due to other minerals that are present during the creation. Iron oxide is a common colorant which produces red tones.
Onyx is formed from carbonate minerals that are dissolved when dolomite sediments or limestone have contact with hot water. Heat from volcanic activity often helps onyx to form. Honey Onyx is made up of an incredible depth of warm, gold and yellow colors with soft white streaks all throughout the basin. The natural shades will add a sophisticated style to your home.
Jade is metamorphic gem formed by heat, pressure, and interaction with solutions. Jade has been used since prehistoric periods for hard stone carving, and has about the same hardness as quartz.
Stainless Steel is a type of steel alloy containing a small amount of chromium, which makes it more resistant to rust and staining than other types of steel. Because of its durability, stainless steel is usually used where both the properties of steel and corrosion resistance are required making it a perfect material for sinks. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable; the average stainless steel object is composed of about 60% recycled material.
What are the benefits of stainless steel?
Although stainless steel sinks are often used in kitchens, they are a great option for bathrooms as well. Stainless steel resists bacteria and germs, and are able to withstand the tough scrubbing. Additionally, this type of sink can be paired with most countertop materials because of its sleek color and look.
Stainless steel sinks are handcrafted from heavy gauge stainless steel and are extremely durable. Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and staining, but can be scratched or scuffed when not cared for properly.
To maintain the condition of your stainless steel sink, simply clean daily with mild soap and warm water, and wipe the entire surface dry with a dry, clean, soft cloth after each use. Keep sink free of any standing water to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits that can affect the appearance of your sink. Because iron particles often develop rust spots in stainless steel surfaces, do not leave steel cookware or utensils on the surface of the sink for long periods of time. Do not use cleaners containing acids, harsh chemicals, or abrasives. Use a Stainless Steel Scratch-B-Gone Kit to remove minor scratches and maintain the beauty of your stainless steel fixture.
Prized for its beauty and strength, teak is a versatile hardwood and can be used in the bathroom, thanks to its moisture-resistant qualities. It's a great option for those who want a more natural or unexpected material for the bathroom, creating a warm and inviting environment.
Teak is a type of tropical hardwood tree that has been used in shipbuilding for hundreds of years. Teak contains natural oil that makes it resistant to water and keeps it from warping, cracking or becoming brittle. Teak wood is naturally resistant to fungi, mold and mildew, making it an ideal choice for the moist, wet environment of a bathroom.
Maintenance and care
The cleaning of teak sinks is easy and achieved by using non-scouring products similar to those used on enamel sinks. Clean your sink with a gentle soap and a soft cloth or bush and avoid any kind of abrasive, whether in the cleaning tool or a cleaning product.
All types of wood darken over time, so you should expect that the color of your teak sink will change somewhat. Changes in color are one of the most desirable characteristics of natural products. To keep your sink looking its finest, we recommend giving it a light coating of teak oil four times per year. Learn how to care for teak.
Bamboo is a type of grass-like tree and is one of the most durable types of woods.
Bamboo sinks are made from stalks native to individual bamboo farms. Like other natural sink products, the bamboo used to construct our sinks may vary in color and no two sinks will look exactly alike.
What are the benefits of bamboo?
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It replenishes itself much faster than other types of trees, making it an extremely eco-friendly building material.
Bamboo sinks should be cleaned regularly using non-scouring products similar to those used on enamel sinks. Clean your sink with a gentle soap and a soft cloth or bush and avoid any kind of abrasive, whether in the cleaning tool or a cleaning product. Although bamboo is very strong, it is natural material and will be affected by harsh chemicals and neglect of maintenance. Dry your bamboo sink after cleaning or rinsing to avoid the risk of water spots.
Easy to clean and incredibly durable, this stone-like material is made of a poly-resin blend. Also known as "man-made stone," resin is solid and consistently colored throughout. Because it can be cast into nearly any form or size, resin sinks and tubs are available in unique designs.
Care and maintenance
Resin has a nonporous surface that makes it resistant to stains, scratches and discoloration. To maintain the condition of your new resin sink, simply wipe the surface with a dry soft cloth after each use. Most dirt will wash off with clean water. For a more thorough cleaning, be sure to a use mild cleaner that is safe for painted surfaces. Avoid any products that contain abrasives, acids or ammonia.
What if my resin sinks gets scratched?
Learn how to clean and remove scratches from resin.
A copper or bronze sink offers a unique look that will take on an aged patina depending on the type of care it is given. Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper. The addition of other metals produces an alloy much harder than plain copper. Not only do bronze sinks add a distinctive touch to a bathroom, they are extremely durable and offer antimicrobial properties.
Polished bronze is a shiny, gold-like finish that has a lustrous, glossy look. The color will change with time and normal use, creating a much-sought after living finish. This will result in a natural darkening on the bronze, which some sink owners desire to create a rustic and earthy appearance.
Satin bronze is a soft, matte finish that lets the golden hues of the bronze show through. The color will change with time and normal use, creating a much-sought-after living finish. This will result in a natural darkening of the smooth satin finish, which creates a slightly darker, rich patina that is unique to each individual sink.
White Bronze is a soft, matte finish that lets the silvery hues of the white bronze show through. The color will naturally darken and change with time, creating a slightly darker, rich patina that is unique to each individual sink.
Weathered Bronze is a matte living finish with an oxidized patina that has been chemically induced. It will have natural variations in color and patterns, making each sink a unique work of art. The bronze will naturally darken over time and normal use, enhancing the finish.
Polished Nickel is a highly reflective finish with a warm, silvery tone. Easy to care for and clean, this finish will stay looking new for years to come.
Bronze Patina is a rich, hand-rubbed bronze finish with both highlights and lowlights throughout.
Our glass vessel sinks and glass countertops are made of tempered glass for high quality results and consumer safety. Tempered glass, sometimes called toughened glass, is glass that has been specially treated by either controlled thermal or chemical methods.
For simple surfaces, thermal treatment involves heating the glass to its annealing point of about 600° Celsius, then rapidly cooling. For extremely complex surfaces, the glass is sometimes immersed in a molten chemical bath to achieve the tempered properties.
What are the benefits of tempered glass?
Tempered glass is much stronger and has better thermal resistance than regular glass. This makes it ideal for use in glass basins and countertops, where hot water is commonly used.
While tempered glass has added strength, it will still break if it is dropped, struck, or otherwise damaged. In the event of breakage, tempered glass will shatter into small, cube-shaped fragments instead of large, jagged shards, significantly decreasing the risk of injury.