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Fireclay vs Stainless Steel Sink: Which One’s Better?

fireclay vs stainless steel sink
Written by Jenny Molin

Kitchen sinks come in various materials and choosing the right one can seem incredibly difficult. Most likely, you’re looking for a material that will last, be practical, and allow you to create a decent-looking kitchen.

Steel and fireclay are two materials commonly used in sinks.

There are so many options on the market that it can be difficult to choose. We can help with that!

Fireclay vs Stainless Steel Sink: What Differentiates Them?

A Quick Look

Comparing factors  Fireclay  Stainless steel 
Attractiveness More attractive Less attractive
Look Vintage Traditional
Color Plenty of color varieties Only comes in silver
Versatility Less versatile More versatile
Weight Heavy (weigh around 100 to 200 lbs) Light (depending on the size weigh around 100 lbs)
Installation Difficult Easy
Crack resistance No Yes
Scratch resistance Yes No
Chip resistance No Yes
Stain resistance Low High
Noise resistance Yes No
Maintenance  Needs regular cleaning to keep bright Needs constant wiping to remove water spots
Reuse Not recyclable Fully recyclable
Price Expensive Cheaper

1. Design

Fireclay vs Stainless Steel Sink - Which One's Better

Fireclay

There is a timeless and attractive appearance to fireclay sinks that make them a good choice for people who want durability and a vintage look at the same time.

Stainless steel

A single-bowl sink is ideal for washing oversize cookware, whereas double-bowl sinks offer quick clean-up and multi-tasking. Colors, sizes, and shapes are all available, so there are no style limitations.

Winner stainless steel sinks are actually the most popular among the home-style trends

2. Versatility

Fireclay

Clay makes for an extremely durable material, so it can be embedded with textured designs in the sink as well to make a powerful impression.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel sinks are available both undermount and top-mounted due to the versatility of stainless steel.

Winner

Stainless still is more versatile in the kitchen and laundry. It offers so many designs and can even be recycled when no longer needed.

3. Installation

Fireclay

Fireclay installation

The process of installing this style can sometimes be difficult. Fireclay is heavy and moving and placing it can be hard. In addition, under-mounting is sometimes needed to support the weight of the sink.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel sink installation

It is easy to install stainless steel sinks, and as they are light in weight, they do not require particular positions for weight support

Winner

Stainless steel comes out on top due to the easy installation and not needing as many requirements as fireclay.

4. Resistance

Fireclay

Cracks can also occur in fireclay, although they are less frequent than in other materials

By installing and maintaining properly, this risk is minimized.

Stainless steel

In terms of heat and stain resistance, stainless steel is excellent. It handles heat and resists stains and minor scratches.

Winner

Stainless steel is the better option for resistance as fireclay is prone to cracking whereas steel is not. You also limit the stains on stainless steel as it repels most.

5. Weight

Fireclay

It’s true that both are heavy, but fireclay sinks weigh around 100 to 200 lbs.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel sinks depending on the size weigh in a 100lbs.

Winner

Stainless steel is lighter than most fireclay sinks.

6. Maintenance

Fireclay

Fireclay sink cleaning

You only need a clean cloth or a sponge to clean the sink. If you have a white one, bleach may be required to brighten the white.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel cleaning

Stainless steel sinks will show water spots, and they need to be wiped over often to remove them.

Winner

Both are equal here. Fireclays that are light colored will need special cleaning to keep them bright and stainless steel needs constant wiping to remove water spots.

7. Price

Fireclay

The fireclay kitchens run a bit pricey and can cost between $400 to $500 for a small basic bowl. For a designer model expect to pay over $750.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is quite cheap for a basic brand you expect to pay about $200 for designer brands, they can start upwards of $300.

Winner

Stainless steel is cheaper to purchase than fireclay sinks.

Fireclay sink

Benefits

  • Most elegant looking on the market
  • Sleek finish
  • Plenty of color varieties to match in with your kitchen
  • Resistant to heat
  • Noise intolerant
  • Smooth uniformed texture
  • Easy to clean
  • Maintain their shine
  • Resistant to alkali and acid
  • Almost scratch resistant
  • They are not porous
  • Somewhat stain resistant

Disadvantages

  • Very heavy to lift
  • Requires more than one person for installation
  • Needs strong base to support the sink
  • Fireclay is fragile
  • Vulnerable to breaking and cracking
  • Expensive to purchase

Stainless steel sink

Benefits

  • Easy to install (can be done DIY)
  • Most trendy sinks on the market
  • Compatible with most kitchens
  • Effortless to clean and maintain
  • Works in with most budgets
  • Long-lasting
  • Resistant to breaking
  • Very versatile

Disadvantages

  • Can scratch easy
  • Not sound resistant
  • Only comes in silver, painting doesn’t last
  • Can have a buildup of watermarks

When to Choose a Fireclay Sink?

When to choose a fireclay sink

Sinks made of fireclay are just one of the most sturdy materials available. The durable material resists dents, scrapes, dings, and scratches.

Your kitchen sink will inevitably get a lot of use. The material should not be too precious and resilient enough to stand up to the challenges you’ll throw at it.

When to Choose a Stainless Steel Sink?

When to choose a stainless steel sink

Aside from being easy to install, stainless steel sinks are ideal for high-traffic areas.

A stainless steel kitchen sink is an affordable, easy-to-maintain option. Sinks of this type come in a variety of shapes, configurations, and styles, and they are compatible with most modern appliances. Stainless steel can be used in kitchen or laundry settings.

Other kitchen sink materials

Composite

You can find any color in composite sinks to match your kitchen design. They last for a long time and look good on any setup. They are also heat and scratch-resistant.

Copper

One of the most important features of the copper sink is that it naturally has antibacterial properties, which can help to keep your kitchen clean.

Copper is highly versatile as it is possible to turn them according to a lot of styles. Copper sinks also come in different and excellent designs.

The drawback is that their maintenance is not easy because they are prone to stains and thus need regular cleaning.

Enameled cast iron

Enameled cast iron sinks are not only beautiful but also scuff, stain, and scratch resistant as they have a porcelain finish. They also last for a long time without getting damaged.

The downside is that they are heavy in weight and look imperfect as glue is used to install them. But if you do the installation with an expert then there can be fewer imperfections.

FAQs

1. With a fireclay sink, what colors are available?

Ans. These days, blues, blacks, and grays are popular choices. You can paint them to suit your home if you do it correctly.

2. How easy is it to scratch or chip fireclay?

Ans. An extremely high temperature is used to combine clay and glaze to make fireclay. A hard, durable material is formed by this process, which resists scratches and cracks

3. Does bleach work on fireclay sinks?

Ans. It is possible that fireclay sinks lose some of their luster over time. If you want to prevent this, you can apply bleach diluted with water every few days to the surfaces.

4. Do I have to worry about pouring boiling water down my fireclay sink?

Ans. If you have a fireclay sink, you should avoid pouring boiling water into it. Run cold water while you pour boiling water into the sink if you have to dump boiling water in it.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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