Anyone who has built a new home or renovated their kitchen knows how stressful it can be to make so many decisions throughout the process. Educating yourself about your options beforehand can help cut down on some of that stress. Here, we take a look at kitchen sinks — specifically the seemingly endless amount of choices you have when it comes to the materials.

The material of your kitchen sink can impact the way you interact with it. Different materials require different types of daily care and maintenance. If you are a busy household and you’re constantly rotating through dirty pots and pans, a material that is more durable and easy to clean might work best for you. For other families, creating a show-stopping kitchen is worth a little more daily care and cleaning. Similarly, every material offers something different in terms of style and design. Some are strikingly unique like copper, while others offer a more mainstream look, like cast iron or fireclay.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular and affordable materials for kitchen sinks. This choice comes in a range of styles and finishes, so it can fit almost any style you’re going for. Stainless steel is also a popular because it’s very durable, heat and stain resistant, and easy to maintain. Since these sinks can be a but loud we recommend adding a sound-absorbing pad to help with the noise.

So, what should you be worried about with stainless steel? Water stains and scratches can develop over time if you don’t properly clean and maintain the sink. Selecting a brushed and satin finish can help hide watermarks and scratches. 

Copper

Copper is strong but easy to shape, so copper sinks are available in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. The charming handcrafted look of copper sinks is part of their appeal, but unfortunately handcrafted sinks can also mean there is a wide range of quality on the market. Be sure to do your research and ensure the manufacturer stands behind their product with a straightforward warranty.

Copper sinks also happen to be rust-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a great choice for the kitchen. You should choose a high-quality copper that is at least 99 percent pure copper (a small amount of zinc may be added for strength). 

Copper is highly reactive, so your sink will develop a distinctive blue-green patina over time. While there are ways to slow down the patination process, it’s difficult to stop it entirely so it’s best to embrace this quality of copper rather than trying to fight it.  If you choose copper, you should avoid harsh chemicals. Copper is easy to clean in that it only requires a daily rinse and mild soap.

Cast Iron

Cast iron sinks covered with porcelain or enamel are very durable. Similar to stainless steel sinks, temperature changes don’t affect this material much, but carelessly tossing dishes into the sink can lead to chipping. When you buy a cast iron sink, we recommend you coat it with a sealant and avoid using abrasive cleansers that can dull the finish. Sealant prevents dirt, oil, and stains from penetrating the porcelain, which means you can merely wipe away dirt and keep the porcelain pristine.  

Soapstone 

Did you know soapstone sinks are is the go-to choice for science labs? This stone also has many qualities that make it a good choice for the kitchen too, it’s non-reactive and naturally resistant to staining and bacteria. With a soapstone sink, you will not have to worry about scratches, heat, or chemicals. Soapstone sinks are hard and dense and can resist all but the most serious abuse. Their resilient nature makes it easy to clean because the surface won’t be damaged by abrasive cleaners.

Unlike marble and granite, soapstone is non-porous, and as such it does not need to be sealed. However, regular applications of mineral oil will help enhance its overall appearance, and ensure that the stone will darken evenly. If it’s not kept sufficiently oiled, it can lose its distinctive color and appearance or turn a duller gray.

Composite Sinks

Composite sinks are durable, easy to clean and gorgeous to look at. Composite sinks are typically made with granite or quartz with a resin filler.  The end result is a material that has the look and feel of a natural stone without the difficult maintenance. This is a long-lasting sink that can work in almost any kitchen décor.

Quartz

If you’re going with a quartz countertop, you might also consider a matching quartz sink. Keep in mind with quartz that the darker and more solid colored quartz tend to show scratches more than lighter colors that have more aggregate or patterning to them.

Granite 

Granite sinks are good-looking, durable, heat resistant, and don’t show water marks or scratches the way stainless steel sinks do but they’re also not as durable as stainless steel. Granite comes in a variety of neutral hues, we recommend darker grays, browns and black because they help camouflage daily dirt and buildup. 

High-quality granite composite forms a durable material that is also non-porous. Although these sinks are durable, they can crack if mishandled. Always inspect your sink thoroughly before installation to make sure it wasn’t damaged during transit.

Concrete

The look of concrete works with a wide range of design styles from rustic to contemporary. But the most important thing to know about concrete is that it’s a fairly porous material, and although sinks will have a sealer, it will show wear. Another drawback of this material is that no matter what you put in your concrete, it will never be as hard as granite or engineered stone. This means the surface prone to nicks and scratches.