Sinks serve a practical function and possess aesthetic value too. In Chicago, porcelain and stainless-steel sinks are popular among homeowners. Both have their pros and cons, and because they differ in look, durability, and maintenance, it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. Underrated workhorses of the home, sinks are hard-wearing investments that require consideration. Let’s look at porcelain vs. stainless sinks in terms of characteristics and features to help you decide.
Pros of Porcelain Sinks
- Porcelain sinks offer an elegant yet traditional look and feel
- They typically have a glossy or shiny finish
- Porcelain-cast sinks are stronger than their counterparts and last for decades
- They are available in various colors and styles, like a porcelain farmhouse sink, drop-in or vanity top
- Easy to refinish if damaged
- They are quieter to use than stainless steel sinks
- It can be customized to fit specific kitchen needs
- Porcelain sinks are waterproof
- Able to withstand high loads and moderate impacts without scratching
Cons of Porcelain Sinks
- Can chip and crack upon impact, after which the chipped area’s immediate surrounding can quickly discolor
- Porcelain sinks are heavy and more challenging to install
- Items accidentally dropped in the sink may break
- Less environmentally friendly than other sinks on the market
- Can stain easily if not frequently cleaned after use
- They’re affected by chemicals and can lose luster quickly if not properly looked after
- Porcelain sinks are more expensive than stainless steel sinks.
Pros of Stainless Steel Sinks
- Matches most modern stainless steel appliances and decor theme
- Stainless steel sinks are more affordable than porcelain ones
- They’re lighter and much easier to install
- Dropping an item in the sink won’t result in breakage
- They’re easy to clean and maintain because they’re metallic sinks
- Some Stainless steel sinks contain 100% recyclable material and are more eco-friendly
- They come in many configurations and sizes
- Resistant to cracking, corrosion, and premature wear and tear
- These sinks are heat and stain resistant
Cons of Stainless Steel Sinks
- Usually only available in a single color, limiting interior design options
- Easily scratched by sharp knives and sharp objects
- Stainless steel sinks are much noisier than porcelain sinks when washing dishes
- If not properly dried, water spots can ruin the sink’s shiny finish
- The style of stainless steel sinks doesn’t typically complement traditional kitchen styles
- Stainless steel sinks are relatively uniform regarding composition and shape and can’t be combined with other materials, which can limit design preferences
Also known as ceramic of Vitreous China, colorful and white porcelain sink enamel is either smooth or undulating in appearance. Are porcelain sinks outdated? Not at all. Although typically white or cream with classic appeal, porcelain sinks can be manufactured in any color or pattern of colors to complement a home’s decor style. Homeowners tend to love their glossy appearance that brightens spaces.
Manufactured from china clay that’s kiln-heated at extreme temperatures, porcelain is an incredibly durable material, despite its soft-looking appearance. The heavyweight of these sinks can be attributed to their thick gauge cast iron or steel coated in baked-on porcelain enamel.
Stainless Steel Sink
The age-old question: “Are stainless steel sinks out of style? Absolutely not; it just depends on whether you want a colder, metal aesthetic. These sinks are made of steel that’s either pressed, folded, or welded into the shape of a sink. Stainless steel sinks can be modern with clean lines and edges or have a transitional appearance with rounded edges and a rounded bottom.
Many clients ask, “what is the best gauge for a stainless steel sink?” The lower the number, the thicker the steel. The best gauge is usually 16 or 18. Regardless of thickness, stainless steel sinks can have a bright, polished, polished, or wired-brushed finish that’s more effective at hiding scratches and water spots.
Porcelain Sink Installation
Because porcelain sinks are heavy, they require additional mounting hardware and take longer to install. They’re available in drop-in or self-rimming varieties and can be installed by running a bead of adhesive around the edge of the countertop’s edging by dropping it in. The only downside to installation is their weight when it comes to the pros and cons of porcelain sinks.
Stainless Steel Sink Installation
Stainless steel sinks have fewer mounting clips than porcelain sinks and take less time to install. Drop-in kitchen sinks, also called top-mount or self-rimming, are the easiest types to install. While both porcelain and stainless steel sinks can be installed in under-mount style, this is more common for stainless steel, mainly due to their weight and size.
How to Clean a Porcelain Sink
Almost any material can be used to clean porcelain sinks, except bleach or harsh detergents, as this can break down the enamel. If surface scratches or stains occur occasionally, you can use a mild abrasive cleanser to remove the damage. Otherwise, warm water, liquid soap, and a sponge will suffice for everyday cleaning.
How to Clean a Stainless-Steel Sink
Stainless steel sinks can scratch, so it’s best to use non-abrasive detergents. While normal liquid soap and water will do the trick, you can also use specialized stainless-steel cleaners. Any lingering stains can be removed using a combination of washing up liquid and baking soda. Sinks with a brushed finish are less likely to show scratches and water spots, while those with mirror finishes should be dried afterward to prevent water stains from showing.
Some sinks are solid porcelain, but most have steel or cast iron core covered with a baked-on porcelain finish. Heavy or sharp objects dropped into a porcelain sink can chip or scratch its surface. To preserve the finish, homeowners use silicon pads or stainless-steel racks inside the sink as additional safeguards. These sinks have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.
While thickness determines durability, stainless steel sinks don’t chip, crack, or peel. They’re stain-resistant and can withstand the most strenuous scrubs. Although stainless steel resists corrosion, prolonged contact with bleach, muriatic acid, and harsh cleaners can damage its finish, making it vulnerable to rust. If well looked after, these sinks can last between 15 and 30 years.
Porcelain enamel sinks are thicker than stainless steel sinks and naturally muffle sounds because they don’t vibrate. Stainless steel sinks are thinner and vibrate when water or items come into contact with the bottom. Much of the loudness comes from streams of water splashing against the bottom and walls of a sink. Premium stainless steel sinks are typically installed with sound-absorbing pads underneath to lessen noise, but when comparing the two, stainless-steel sinks are somewhat noisier.
Cost: Is Stainless Steel Cheaper than Porcelain?
Porcelain sinks are usually much cheaper and can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, whereas stainless steel costs anywhere from $100 to $800. Both sinks have a range of associated costs based on their size, configuration, and style. Colored porcelain sinks fetch a higher price than stainless steel sinks with multiple bowls or contemporary styles.
If you’re considering a stainless sink, then be sure to check out our range. Granite Selection is running a special on premium under-mount stainless steel sinks, including single and double sinks that can be used in commercial or residential exterior and outdoor areas.
The Bottom Line
So, what is better, a stainless steel sink or porcelain? As expert countertop fabricators and sink installers, we believe it depends on the sink’s application, your budget, and your aesthetic preference. If you’re swayed to choosing a stainless steel sink, why not check out the latest special offers?