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Are Fireclay Kitchen Sinks Durable?

By Brittany Rycroft July 26, 2019 0 comments

Modern kitchen design

Fireclay Kitchen Sinks: Durability, Price And Are They Right For You? 

Remodeling your kitchen? We know how much goes into the process. As you probably know, your kitchen sink is one of the most important elements to consider.

You’ve done your research. You’ve scoured all the information out there to find the sink that’s right for your new kitchen. So how do you choose the right one?

Odds are you’ve heard of fireclay sinks. The material is very “in” right now. It’s especially popular as a material for classy farmhouse sinks.

Stainless steel, ceramic, and porcelain have met their match. What’s so great about fireclay? Why are people choosing it over more traditional materials?

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about fireclay. Read on to help you decide if it’s the right material for your new kitchen sink!

What Is a Fireclay Kitchen Sink?

Maybe you haven’t heard of fireclay kitchen sinks yet. Here’s the breakdown…

The material is a unique clay glazed and fired at scorching temperatures. The process results in a durable, heavy-duty material.

Sinks made from this material aren’t just known for their practicality. They are stylish, timeless pieces. You won’t find them in just cottages and farmhouses anymore.

They make great additions to modern homes. Fireclay sinks often serve as strong focal points and conversation pieces.

What Is a Farmhouse Sink?

Farmhouse sinks are typically made of fireclay. Also called apron-front sinks, they have a large, deep basin. Overmount or undermount, they are attached to the counter on three sides.

The front features an “apron.” This smooth surface is stylish and makes the sink practical to use. Because of its design, you’ll have easy reach and access into the sink.

Farmhouse sinks are designed for heavy use. This is why most are made with fireclay material. This style became popular over two centuries ago. In London, they were common in industrial settings and real farmhouses. People depended on these sinks because of their durability and longevity.

Is Fireclay the Same as Porcelain? How Is It Made?

What makes fireclay different from porcelain? Is it just a fancy name for its less-expensive cousin?

We understand your skepticism. For years, porcelain has been a popular material for kitchen sinks.

So why are people turning to fireclay? The two materials are actually very different.

Fireclay kitchen sinks must be handmade. The artisan uses a special white clay that is only found in specific regions of the world including:
  • France
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Limoges

They mix the clay with water and pour it into molds. It dries in a humidity-controlled area. Afterward, artisans hand-glaze and fire it at extreme temperatures.

During the process, the glaze and clay fuse together. The result is a new material that is strong, dense, and non-porous. It makes for the most damage- and heat-resistant sink material on the market.

In many cases, porcelain looks similar to fireclay. The former, however, is less durable. Manufacturers heat porcelain at low temperatures. This makes it more susceptible to chips and discoloration.

If you’re looking for a colorful sink, porcelain might be the way to go. Fireclay only comes in white and off-white. Some manufacturers like Bocchi provide alternate finishes (blacks, blues, etc.).

2 Bocchi grey fireclay sinks in modern kitchen

Fireclay vs Cast Iron

Cast iron is another common material. It’s made from, well, casting iron. Manufacturers heat the iron at high temperatures. Once it’s liquefied, the iron is poured into a mold to cool. A heavy porcelain enamel finish protects against rust.

Cast iron is cheaper and shows fewer water spots. It is also available in different colors. Fireclay, however, is more durable. It can withstand heavy use and won’t rust.

Installation Options for Fireclay Kitchen Sinks

Fireclay is most common in farmhouse styles. This option has many advantages. For one, you don’t have to lean over a counter. They are comfortable to use and hold lots of dishes. If necessary, you can mount them under or over the counter.

Not set on the farmhouse style? Fireclay is available for regular top-mount or undermount sinks.

With any drop-in sink, ensure that your counter can handle its weight. Also, keep in mind the extra depth. You may have to lean over to reach the bottom. This can contribute to extra splashing. The extra depth also means less storage space underneath the unit.

Garbage Disposals and Fireclay Kitchen Sinks

Can you use a garbage disposal with this unit? Yes! Just keep in mind that the system must be compatible with fireclay. The material is thicker and requires special accessories as such. You may need to install specific drain inserts and faucets.

Does Fireclay Chip and Scratch Easily?

In rare cases, the finish on these units can chip or scratch. However, the material is durable and built to last.

It is much less prone to chips and scratches than porcelain. Especially when you choose a high-quality brand, the damage is less likely.

To prevent wear and tear, don’t use abrasive cleaning materials. Use a rubber spatula to scrape food away.

Discoloration can also happen without proper care. Dry off the basin to prevent water spots. Don’t use harsh cleaners or stain removers.

Bocchi sotto undermount fireclay sink with light cabinet installed  

How Much Are Fireclay Kitchen Sinks?

This is the big question. The price is what stops many people from choosing this kind of unit.

They tend to be more expensive than other types. They can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. This will depend on factors such as the brand.

Keep in mind that you are paying for quality. The material is durable and can withstand the elements. When people purchase this unit, they are making a big investment in their kitchen.

 

What Brand Should I Get?

This answer is different for everyone. It depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Our personal favorite brands include:

Is a Fireclay Sink Right for Me?

This style might be for you if you’re looking for any of the following:
  • Style
  • Practicality
  • Durability
  • Longevity

Fireclay kitchen sinks are among our top sellers. Most are handcrafted by master artisans. The material is imported from Europe. The quality is superior. It just doesn’t compare to cheap “Made in China” products.

If you are interested in this style, browse our collection at Annie & Oak!


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