Fireclay sinks have a beautiful, timeless appearance and can be a great choice for individuals seeking a combination of rustic style and durability.
However, fireclay isn’t optimal for every kitchen. Keep reading to find out if a fireclay sink is right for you.
What is Fireclay?
Fireclay sinks are made by molding ceramic clay into the desired sink shape and allowing it to dry at a high temperature for a period of up to 40 hours.
Once the clay has dried, a porcelain enamel is applied and the sink is fired in a kiln at an extremely high temperature (around 2000 °F) for a period of approximately 20 hours. This high-heat process fuses the enamel to the ceramic while increasing the strength of both.
The result is a sink that’s tough, beautiful, and easy to clean.
Styles and Configurations
The majority of fireclay sinks feature a classic farmhouse (apron front) design with a single basin, although two-basin models are available.
White and off-white colors are the most common, although it is possible to find alternative colors like blue or black.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The tough enamel of a fireclay sink is highly resistant to scratches and stains, making it relatively easy to clean and maintain. A quick wipe with a soft cloth after use is sufficient for daily cleaning.
For deeper cleaning, use non-abrasive products to prevent scratching or dulling the finish. Many manufacturers recommend Barkeeper’s Friend.
Hard impacts from pots or dishes can chip the sink’s enamel. A sink grid can greatly reduce the risk of damaging the bottom of the basin.
Metal objects left in a fireclay sink for long periods of time can lead to rust stains. Highly acidic products may also cause staining.
Cracking and Crazing
While fireclay is a very tough material, it’s still more prone to cracking than other sink materials like cast iron or granite composite.
Careful installation and common-sense usage will go a long way towards preventing cracks, but some fireclay sink owners have mentioned feeling a need to “baby” their sink out of a fear of cracking it.
A very small number of users report issues with “crazing,” which is when the enamel develops hairline cracks. Crazing is usually just a cosmetic issue but is not repairable.
Fireclay Sinks Vs. Cast Iron Sinks
Many fireclay and cast iron sinks look very similar, which can make it tricky to decide between the two. Here are a few points to consider:
- Fireclay sinks have a beautiful “handcrafted” quality, making them ideal for those seeking a more rustic look
- The high temperatures used when firing a fireclay sink produces an incredibly tough ceramic, but fireclay is still more prone to cracking than cast iron
- Some users have reported issues with pooling in the bottom of fireclay sinks, a result of their natural variation
- Fireclay sinks can vary slightly in size, which can make for a more challenging installation (more on this below)
Fireclay Sinks Cost
Fireclay kitchen sinks fall on the expensive end of the spectrum. Small, single-bowl models start at around $400-$500, while most larger models can cost between $700 and $1000.
Professional installation is recommended for fireclay sinks due to their size, weight, and plumbing specifications.
Counter spaces are not typically designed to accommodate the large sizes nor the structural support these sinks require, so additional modifications to the surrounding structures may also be necessary.
If a fireclay sink is installed without the proper supports and too much weight is leveraged on the countertop, gaps and leaking may occur.
The size of a fireclay sink can vary slightly from the manufacturer-provided specs. It’s often a good idea to have your fireclay sink on-site to get precise measurements before cutting holes in your countertop.
- Rustic, handcrafted appearance
- Easy to clean
- Resistant to scratches and corrosion
- Somewhat limited color and design options
- Potential for cracking and crazing
- Challenging installation
Ideas & Inspiration
Below you’ll find a gallery of fireclay kitchen sinks. Clicking any image will take you Amazon, where you’ll find more information about specs and pricing.