I two more questions for some kind person: What are the pros and cons of
cleaning/maintaining a porcelain or acrylic or stainless steel sink? I'm
trying to decide on the best looking, but practical type of sink for a
granite countertop. I was told that acrylic is easier to maintain than
porcelian, but has anyone had experience with it? Thanks for any insight at
Both clean well. What you really need to avoid is abrasive cleaners,
especially with the porcelain. Once scratched, all types become dull
and stain easily. It's about personal preference. I like the
porcelain for appearance, but the stainless steel for easy clean up.
Porcelain can be cleaned with bleach, just like a toilet. There are
various gauge thickness of the stainless, the heavier is less likely
to get dented. Unlike porcelain, acrylic is less likely to chip if hit
with an iron skillet. Have you thought about having a sink made from
granite to match the countertops? Another option (my favorite) is
soapstone if cost is no concern.
Each type of sink has its strengths and weaknesses. A porcelain coated cast
iron sink is very heavy and durable. The thickness means it will be very
quiet when you are running water. The down side is that if you drop a heavy
object into the sink, the porcelain will chip, exposing the cast iron which
will subsequently rust. That said, porcelain cast iron sinks have been used
for decades and in some respects are considered upscale due to their cost.
There are porcelain steel sinks that are quire cheap and are in my opinion a
very bad choice as they are loud and can dent and chip quire easily.
Stainless comes in various thickness and finishes. The heavier the gage of
steel, the more durable and dent resistant. Stainless sinks can be loud
when you run water in them and don't retain heat very well. This is
mitigated somewhat by choosing a quality, heavy gage sink that is
undercoated to deaden the sound and insulate the sink. The highly polished
stainless sinks are very beautiful in my opinion, but will show scratches
and abrasion with use. A satin finished sink isn't as good looking
initially, but shows less wear and tear.
Acrylic sinks fall somewhat in-between in most respects including cost.
Plastic is a good insulator, so your water stays hot longer than with metal.
They tend to be quieter than stainless. The color is uniform throughout the
products, so if they get scraped it doesn't show. Plastic has the advantage
of being polishable. If you are talking about a sink made of solid surface
material like Corian or Swanstone, then you can sand and polish the surface
back to like-new condition with a series of sandpaper and Schtochbrite pads.
I have a Swanstone, self rimming sink in their desert sand color and my
mother has a Swanstone sink that is integral to her counters. My only issue
with my sink is that it stains somewhat with coffee. However, you can use
Softscrub with bleach and the stain instantly disappears. The manufacture
also recommends letting a solution of bleach and water stand in the sink to
remove food stains. I haven't felt the need to buff or polish it in the
last 7 years.
I think your choice of sinks is somewhat dependant on the style of your
kitchen. I would consider a large porcelain cast iron farm sink in a very
traditional kitchen. In a sleek contemporary design, I might go with an
undermount stainless sink. As much as I like acrylic, I'm not sure I would
combine it with granite. I like the idea of having the sink fabricated from
granite. You might also look into soapstone.
In any event, make sure that your sink will accommodate large sheet pans and
roasters if you use them. I choose a sink with a very large bowl on one
side and smaller bowl on the other side. I find this much more functional
than two medium sized bowls.
Thanks very much for all of your advice! One silly question though; many
people mentioned that some sinks don't retain heat as well as others- what
is the purpose of a sink retaining heat? for dishwashing? I wasn't sure.
Something to think about!
Why are ALL commercial kitchens done in Stainless?
What you have to watch for is there are low and high end stainless
sinks. The high end sinks are thick and a much higher quality
stainless, heck you can even get 360 stainless if you want and can
afford it. High end stainless is as quiet as cast iron and retains
heat as well as polycarbonate sinks.
Porcelain over cast iron is also an excellent choice provided you
never use an abrasive type cleanser in it. Stick with cleaners like
Delete or Bar Keepers Friend, never let Comet touch it and it will
look new for 100 years.
Various plastic and fiberglass sinks are often gel coated and have a
very low lifespan. Easily damaged. Even solid polycarbonate is prone
to easy scratching and developing pits.
I've seen soapstone mentioned in a few posts, WARNING, Don't Do It!
We had a soapstone bathroom sink. Soapstone is an easily carveable
product used by sculptors. Thus it scratches very very easily!
I also had a Woodstock Soapstone Stove, loved it, but it too scratched
very easily. And when they stain, the stain goes clear through!
The only two I would recommend staying completely away from are
fiberglass and porcelain over stamped steel. You'll be replacing them
in short order.
As an aside: When I redid my kitchen in my last house, I used a
medium/high end very deep bowl twin stainless and placed a garbage
disposer on each side (kids never get the garbage on the side with the
disposal, a disposal on each side cured that problem and was handy).
After 15 years the sink still looked brand new. I also installed a
water spigot that could be pulled up, high enough to fit under a 5
gallon mop bucket. It looked like a normal kitchen faucet set in the
down position and it was a single lever faucet as well, with sprayer.
I've had applied food service sanitation and at one time held a
certificate for same.
You can even use sealed wood in a commercial kitchen if you wanted to.
Commercial Stainless is easy to keep clean and looks good for years
Although with energy costs going through the roof, there is a trend
now to use a stainless frame with a drop in polycarbonate sink because
of the longer heat retention.
How about a vitreous china sink? Or a fireclay sink? Hugely expensive,
but beautiful and very durable. We have a stainless sink in the
kitchen, but vitreous china sinks (and toilets) in the bathrooms. They
are now 22 years old and still look new, whereas a porcelain sink in a
guest room is rusting in spots after 8 years. However, at the time the
china sinks cost about as much as my car was worth.
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