Among the wide variety of kitchen sinks available today few materials have earned a top spot like Cast Iron. Cast Iron sinks have been around for some time, because they're long lasting and attractive. And today they're available in a wide variety of colors, styles and price ranges. Self Rimming cast iron sinks are DIY-friendly, but may require more caulk to seal the gaps between the countertop and the sink. A drop-in cast iron sink installation will cost less than an undermount cast iron sink installation, which is more labor-intensive.
The Basics: Cast Iron kitchen sinks are composed of two layers. The foundation layer is a heavy, durable iron alloy, which is then coated in a thick enamel top layer. Together the layers create an impervious surface with a lustrous finish.
Advantages: When it comes to durability and attractiveness, a Cast Iron sink certainly fits the bill. A heavy foundation means these sinks can take a lifetime of use. The material retains heat well, which is a benefit when washing a lot of dishes by hand. In addition to their durability, these sinks also boast an attractive finish. The thick enamel top layer has a beautiful glossy sheen. It's most often white, but it can be done in a range of colors.
Sustainability: Most Cast Iron sinks are made from a high percentage, often 80 percent or more, of recycled and reclaimed iron, making them an excellent choice for the ecology responsible consumer.
Maintenance: The polished enamel surface is nonporous, making for a stain resistant and easy-to-clean sink. They are very easy to clean and their smooth, glossy finish helps hide water spots and streaks. A thorough rinsing and wipe-down with a soft cloth is recommended after each use. Avoid abrasive cleaners and tools, which can dull or scratch the finish.
Self-Rimming (also called Top Mount and Drop-In Sinks)
Self-rimming sinks are commonly produced out of cast iron, stainless steel, solid-surface resin or porcelain. They can be easily identified by their rounded edges and rest against the top of the countertop. These sinks are designed to accommodate counter-mounted faucets or sink-mounted faucets. A common criticism of the self-rimming style is that water and crumbs on the countertop cannot be easily swept into the sink because of the rolled edges.
• Easiest to install • Often used with laminate countertops • Sink rim extends above countertop surface
Undermount sinks are installed into a solid piece of countertop material (granite or marble). They have a lip edge that mounts to the bottom of the countertop. This design is to allow you to wipe water and crumbs into the sink without them getting caught between the sink edge and the countertop.
• Mounted beneath your countertop • Used with solid-surface, granite, marble, stone and quartz countertops • Easily sweep debris off countertop and into bowl
Tile-In Sinks (also called Tile Edge Sinks)
A Tile-In sink is specially designed for installation into tile countertops. They sit in a cut-out in the countertop and have a flange that frames the sink in the countertop. The flat edge sink has square corners, not rounded which allows the installer to butt the tile flush against the sink and grout the sink as if it were another tile.
• The tile butts against the sink edge for a clean look similar to that of an undermount sink • The sink edge has square, not rounded corners
Apron-Front Sinks (also called Farmhouse Sinks)
Apron-Front sinks large sinks that fit into the countertop with the front edge of the sink being exposed. Also known as farm sinks, apron front sinks were designed to be added to a space cut out of the kitchen counter. This sink is traditionally quite large and is designed to be used for multiple functions catering to the needs of a large family. There are no holes in this type of sink for fixtures and faucets making the sink easy to install or replace.
• Notable for its attractive front panel or apron • Short apron option lets you install with conventional cabinetry • Available in both enameled cast iron and stainless steel • Available in under-mount, top-mount and tile-in models
Integrated Sinks are integrated into the actual kitchen cabinet. They are specifically shaped custom) to fit right in to a countertop surface, creating a very custom look. Counter-integrated sinks can't be replaced without also replacing the kitchen countertop.