In the past I have done several posts which talked about stainless steel sinks. Today I’d like to talk about an entirely different product, fireclay. Fireclay is somewhat similar to the vitreous china that is used to make toilets and bathroom sinks but with a critical difference. Fireclay contains a high amount of quartz and feldspar and is fired at 2264 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperature fuses the clay and the glaze producing an extremely durable surface. The composition of the clay makes fireclay heavier and more durable so it can stand up to the wear and tear that a kitchen sink needs to handle.
Cast iron is a common material for kitchen sinks but does have some potential disadvantages that fire clay does not. If a cast iron sink is chipped or develops a hairline crack you will eventually get rusting from the underlying cast iron. Because fire clay is ceramic throughout there is no iron source to rust. In addition fire clay can be formed into tighter corners resulting in a more spacious interior.
Here is a video showing how easy it is to clean fire clay.
Farm house (also known as apron front) sinks can be made of several materials but the
fireclay models have remained the most popular. If you are considering such a sink there are a couple of things to be aware of. These sinks are commonly installed under a solid surface countertop. A cabinet structure is needed to support the sink, including the sides and back. The floor of a farm house sink is designed flat with a slight pitch to the drain. In some cases this may require extra shimming and there may be a slight pooling of water. Finally this material does change in the firing process and no two sinks are alike; sizes can vary as much as 2%.
If you are thinking about an apron sink there are many to choose from, both in size and style. One of the best known is the Shaws sinks offered by the Rohl Company. Shaws has been making fireclay sinks since 1897 and these sinks are excellent examples of the classic style. The most popular is the RC3018, a single bowl 30” wide it is available in white, Biscuit and now matte black. This single bowl sink is also available in 24” and 36” models. We stock all three sizes in white. Rohl also offers double bowl and casement front models.
Franke offers fireclay apron sinks by Villeroy and Boch, a company long known for the expertise in ceramics. Franke farm sinks have a somewhat more modern feel with a thinner wall and crisp edges. They offer 24”, 30” 33” and 36” models as well as two double bowl sinks. Franke farm house sinks are available in white, biscuit and matte black.
Elkay has recently tossed their hat into the farm house sink arena with a 30” single and a 33” double bowl model. Elkay however has introduced a new color, “Terra Cotta” for their farm sinks. Elkay Farm Sinks are also available in Gloss White.
If you are interested in fire clay but the farm sink isn’t your style there are several drop in and under-mount sinks available. One of the best known may be the Allia by Rohl. This is a 60/40 double bowl sink which may be installed as an under mount or self-rimming sink. Rohl also offers three under mount single bowl sinks in 31”, 24” and 17”square sizes. Rohl Allia sinks are available in white or Pergame (biscuit).
Elkay offers a 31” double bowl under mount fire clay and as well as 23” and 17” models. All three are available in gloss white or Terra Cotta.
So if you are looking for a new kitchen sink and stainless steel isn’t for you please take a look at fire clay.