Porcelain is a white clay baked at high temperatures to create a strong and hard material. Less dense and less porous due to the nature of the clay and manufacturing process, porcelain produces an elegant material.
Vitreous China sinks are created from porcelain clay and coated with enamel made from powdered glass that is baked at high temperatures to produce a non-porous, high gloss, stain-resistant surface. Better at withstanding stains and spills, the surface is also more sanitary as the enamel is non-porous.
Fireclay sinks are produced from a unique clay that is baked and then glazed at high temperatures to create a new, fused material. Fireclay is non-porous and resistant to acids as well as alkali; strong and durable, it resists scratches and dings. Only available in white, but the styles should fit any design. Fireclay sinks will last a long time.
Cast iron sinks are manufactured from an iron alloy that is glazed to produce an easy-to-clean surface. Available in a variety of colors and finishes, including high gloss, cast iron resists stains and fading. Cast iron is heavy and may require additional structural support. If the enamel surface chips, and the iron underneath exposed, the iron may rust.
Glass sinks are created from tempered glass that is treated to increase its strength and durability. Non-porous, the glass is easy to clean but has been found to shatter if a pointed heavy object is dropped into it. Glass sinks are produced in a variety of colors and shapes, most frequently installed as vessel sinks.
Metal sinks add beauty to the bathroom, but will require regular cleaning to eliminate water spots.
• Stainless steel bathroom sinks resist stains and are easy to clean.
• Copper sinks demand special cleaning products to maintain the beauty of the surface. Most frequently created as vessel sinks.
• Brass sinks, also most often used as vessel sinks, offer a bright surface that will require regular cleaning to protect the color and maintain its beauty.
Solid Surface bathroom sinks are manufactured from the countertop materials used on the vanity. May be integral to the counter, or installed as undermount, the sinks are easy to clean, non-porous so they resist stains, mold and mildew, but acids such as nail polish remover may damage the surface. Colors, sizes and styles abound, which can match the countertop or contrast to produce the desired aesthetic.
Natural Stones can be carved and molded into bathroom sinks.
• Quartz is a man-made material of crushed quartz stone mixed in a resin. Created in a variety of colors and designs, quartz sinks can look like stone without the need for sealing and maintenance. Quartz is nonporous and easy to maintain and clean. Quartz can be heavy and may require additional support.
• Granite is a natural stone with warm colors that may contain veins. Granite will be sealed and will require resealing to maintain its stain and water resistance. Heavy, granite will require professional installation.
• Marble is a natural stone often used for sinks. White is the most popular color. As a soft stone, marble will require sealing and resealing to provide moisture and stain resistance. Marble provides a warm, generous feeling to the bathroom and may require professional installation.
• Soapstone is a natural stone that is ideally suited for use in the bathroom. Nonporous, it will not require sealing, but it is softer so scratches or nicks will show if not sanded out. Soapstone is available in a range of colors and patterns; professional installation may be required.