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country home with white fireclay farmhouse sink

Fireclay or Cast Iron Kitchen Sink? (Read This Before You Buy)

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It's where you go to cook meals that keep your family nourished and happy, bake gooey chocolate chip cookies, and sit with a friend to chat over a glass of wine. And if we're being honest, it's also where you spend a lot of time cleaning.

The fact is that you and your family will spend a lot of time in your kitchen, and a large portion of that time will be at your kitchen sink. So when you have a feature like this that is so central to your home, why not make sure it looks good and lasts for years?

When choosing the best sink for your kitchen, you can't just pick any sink. You’ll want to do your homework. Consider the style as well as the kitchen sink material to ensure you're making the best choice.

The farmhouse sink is a classic kitchen sink style that has recently surged in popularity. It comes in either fireclay and cast iron sink materials. So which material is better suited to your aesthetic and lifestyle?

Here, we'll break down the benefits and downsides of each material in-depth to help you decide between a fireclay or a cast iron kitchen sink for the heart of your home.

Benefits of Fireclay

  • Highly customizable
  • Excellent durability
  • Classic appeal 
  • Low maintenance

Fireclay farmhouse sink with blue cupboards

Fireclay is made by heating a clay-based ceramic in a kiln at high temperatures. Although it is a type of ceramic, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to break. The firing process used to make fireclay fuses glaze to clay in a way that improves the overall strength and integrity of the sink.

This means that if you have children that have a habit of slamming dishes in the sink, or a dog with long nails that you have to wash in the sink, this material will hold up.

One of the best parts of this style of sink is that it is one of the easiest to shape. The clay used to create these sinks can be poured and made into any shape with ease. You can mold it into artistic and creative styles that can be custom-made into your dream sink. Many people prefer this style because it allows them full creative freedom for the design of their kitchen.

Many fireclay sinks also offer a luxury look for a fraction of the price of many expensive kitchen sinks. This is because of the use of fireclay as the kitchen sink material.

With its durable surface, the fireclay sink is one of the better options of the two for those who want a more unique style in their kitchen and less up-keep.

Disadvantages of Fireclay

  • Limited color palette
  • More expensive than other porcelain options
  • Can sustain scratches from strong impact
  • Susceptible to staining


Fireclay is often more expensive than other porcelain options. Quality and strength come at a higher price.

The material also tends to only come in different shades of white. The lack of color options with fireclay can be offset, however, by its ability to be shaped in different ways. This is a strong point for many sink-buyers. If you are looking for more color options we recommend the Bocchi Fireclay sinks

Although it is quite a bit stronger and more resistant to breaks and nicks than many other ceramics, it is still susceptible to scratches from strong impact.

It may also pick up stains after years of use. For example, some designs of fireclay can pick up water stains. This means that after years of wear and tear, your sink can begin to look rough without proper care. Luckily, you can prevent this by wiping down the sink after each use. Most families have no problem with the up-keep of these sinks.

Overall, with care and regular cleaning, this material is an excellent option for farmhouse kitchen sinks.

Benefits of Cast Iron

  • Heavy-duty enamel coating
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Customizable in a range of colors
  • Resistant to staining

kholer cast iron kitchen sink with grid and apples

One of the biggest advantages of cast iron material is that it can handle heavy use for years. The cast iron material for kitchen sinks begins with the casting of the iron. During this process, the makers coat the iron in durable enamel. This style of sink is perfect for those who need a sturdy and reliable material that withstands years of use and damage.

The enamel coating also allows for greater customization. You can customize the enamel with different colors to suit your style. However, while you can choose the color that your sink will be, you cannot customize the overall style of your sink.

Many cast iron kitchen sink users also like the fact that the enamel coating has greater stain resistance. It doesn’t stain the way that ordinary acrylics do.

This means that even with pasta sauce and paint in the sink, you don’t have to worry about your enamel staining over time. This is a problem that many families struggle with when choosing a sink for their kitchen, and a cast iron kitchen sink provides a great solution.

Disadvantages of Cast Iron

  • Expensive upfront investment and installation
  • Material is heavy
  • Requires under-mounting support
  • Susceptible to rusting if enamel wears off or chips

Cast iron sinks are among the most expensive sinks to buy and to install. This means that these sinks are not suitable for many of the typical kitchen renovation budgets.

However, many families save a lot of the kitchen renovation budget for the sink. That means this option is still one of the most popular for those looking for strength and style.

Another disadvantage of this style is that installation is sometimes a difficult process. Cast iron is heavy. As such, it can be difficult to move and place. In some kitchens, it's necessary to install under-mounting to support the weight of the sink.

The additional installation materials make this option more expensive. However, cast iron also ensures the strength and durability of the sink. This material will last much longer than others sink materials on the market.

Also, with prolonged use, the enamel can wear or chip away, causing the iron to rust. These chips are often more noticeable due to the iron color underneath. However, you can avoid chipping the enamel by avoiding the use of abrasive cleaners.

As long as you care for the sink well, this is a great farmhouse style option.

The Takeaway

Whatever option you choose, a farmhouse sink is a great purchase. Besides the obvious convenience and style of the sink, it is also an excellent investment for your home. Your property value will increase!

The choice between fireclay and cast iron should depend on your budget and specific needs as well as lifestyle and home design preferences. Make sure you take these benefits and disadvantages into account before you make your decision.

For more on farmhouse sinks, check out our other related articles!


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