In your search for kitchen sinks, you may have come across fireclay sinks. You may be asking what they are and whether you should buy one.
If this, in any way, describes you, you will find this article timely. We will explore the salient points you need to know. Let’s dive into it.
What are Fireclay Sinks?
Fireclay sinks comprise clay exposed to very high temperatures. The result is a glazed, very unique outcome.
Some people tend to confuse it with porcelain and ceramic. The confusion is understandable because they tend to look alike.
It is also not uncommon for other people to think that they are cast iron.
However, Fireclay is stronger because of the reinforcing and molding process.
Production requires the use of handmade molds. Artisans mix pre-fired clay with natural clay to form a wet paste.
There is a specific type of clay that the artisans use. You will typically find it in France, Israel, Italy, and Limoges.
The paste is then poured into the mold and allowed to set. For two days, there will be the application of low-level heat to help with the drying process.
The now dry mixture gets a coat of enamel before going into the kiln. For the next 24 hours, it will bake under extreme temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The enamel fuses to the ceramic resulting in a solid yet smooth finish.
Now here is surprisingly good news for the environmentally conscious. Fireclay sinks do not contain lead. All the material is natural, eco-friendly, and recyclable.
Are Fireclay Sinks Durable?
When shopping for a kitchen sink, you want one that will last for years. After all, it is not a fixture that you want to go through the stress of replacing from time to time.
So, are fireclay sinks durable? The answer is YES!
Fireclay kitchen vessels are the top contenders for some of the best kitchen sinks.
The advanced glazing technique makes them very strong. They have a nonporous finish, so no stains or odors.
Look for those that have hypoallergenic qualities so that you do not have to deal with bacteria.
Fireclay sinks are also impacting and heat resistant. It frees you from worrying about scratches, chips, or cracks.
You will also love the fact that maintaining them is very easy. A simple wipe after use with a piece of cloth is all you need to do. Avoid using grinding products such as steel wool or baking soda.
As much as fireclay sinks are scratch-resistant, over time, you will chip away at the enamel. Use non-abrasive products like sponges, liquid cleaners, pads, and all-purpose powder.
Think about investing in a sink grid so that the pots do not knock against the rim or sides. You get additional functionality by having a place to keep your cutlery as they drain.
What is the Difference Between Porcelain, Cast Iron, and Fireclay Sinks?
As we have hinted above, it is possible to confuse porcelain and fireclay sinks. But, porcelain does not have the strength or durability of fireclay sinks.
Some of the production processes mimic that of Fireclay.
The difference is porcelain does not sit in such extreme temperatures. The production process is, therefore, a little bit quicker.
It will also chip and discolor if you do not take good care of it.
But, porcelain does have an advantage over Fireclay. With Fireclay, the colors available are minimal. You will often find them in off-white or white.
There are, however, some manufacturers who have managed to incorporate some color.
You may have to buy around a little, but you can find some in black, blue, or other colors. If you are leaning towards more colorful vessel sinks, you will want to go with porcelain.
The production process for cast iron includes liquefaction of iron at very high temperatures. The artisan then pours the resulting liquid into a mold and allows it to cool. Like in the case of Fireclay, they will coat it with enamel to prevent rusting.
What are the Best Places to Install Fireclay Sinks?
You do not have a limit on where you can install fireclay sinks. You will find both the top mount and the under-mount.
You can apply them in the kitchen, laundry, or vanity sinks. Let a professional do the installation for you. You may need to reinforce the counter to take on the weight. You must also be aware of the depth to ensure maximum comfort when using it.
You can also install a garbage disposal with the fireclay sink. Installation is another job for experts because there are some accessories you will need. Such include unique faucets and drain inserts.
Is there a Downside to Fireclay Sinks?
1. Cost Factor
One of the things you must be aware of is that fireclay sinks are more costly. There are more affordable options in the market, but it really depends on how you look at them.
There are so many positive qualities that could make the investment worth every cent.
The most significant of them all, of course, is durability.
Once you make the initial investment, you don’t have to think about maintenance, repairs, or replacements.
It can serve you for years without showing any signs of wear and tear.
The only time you may need to change it is if you decide you want a new look.
2. Weight Considerations
Fireclay sinks are heavy. If you are building, it is all right because you pre-measure the space for it before buying. But if remodeling, you may need to reinforce the area around the sink. It could drive up the total cost for you.
But, look at it this way. The weight gives it more stability. There will be no shifting or dislodging it from the position you set it in.
Also Read: 8 Best Ways to Maximize Bathroom Storage
Fireclay sinks are durable, making them an excellent investment. They fit well in any decor style and will serve you for years. The production process ensures they will not chip, scratch or crack. Finally, keeping them clean is easy so forget about odors or discoloration from stains.