A kitchen remodel requires homeowners to make a ton of decisions – cabinets, counters, appliances, and flooring. Another decision that is no less important is the type of kitchen sink to install. Long past are the days of shallow stainless steel sinks with a black pull-out hose. Today’s sinks come in a variety of materials, colors, sizes, mount types, and more – all factors you’ll want to understand before deciding on the best sink for your new kitchen. Here we take a look at the most popular sink materials and the qualities that define them.

• Stainless steel – Stainless steel is a highly affordable – and popular – sink material. These sinks are seen most often in older homes, though they continue to be installed in many of today’s new homes, where they add a sleek, contemporary look. Stainless steel is well-known for being resistant to heat and stains; however, these sinks can scratch more easily than other sink types, so you’ll want to take care with knives and other sharp items.

• Composite – Composite sinks combine crushed granite or quartz with an acrylic resin to create a high-quality sink that is both non-porous and durable. Composite sinks come in various colors, usually neutrals that complement the coloring or design of the counter.

• Cast iron – Anyone who has a black cast iron skillet in their kitchen is already well familiar with cast iron’s strength. But unlike a cast iron skillet, sinks receive a covering of strong porcelain enamel, which is often white, though other color options are available. The enamel covering is quite durable and resistant to scratching and staining. One caveat: the enamel can chip and , if the iron underneath is exposed, the iron will rust.

• Copper – A copper sink is an attractive option that offers a handcrafted look that works well in certain style kitchens. But, you should also know that the natural finish of copper – the patina – changes over time, becoming darker, just like a penny coin does over the years. Even with this characteristic, maintaining a copper sink is no more difficult than cleaning it with soap and water the way you would clean any other sink.

• Fireclay – Farmhouse (or apron) sinks are often made of a material known as fireclay, which is ceramic clay that has been molded into the shape of the sink and dried at a high temperature. After that, porcelain enamel is applied and the sink goes into a specialty kiln where the high temperatures fuse the enamel to the clay. Fireclay sinks have the same caveat as cast iron sinks: dropping a pot into the sink can cause it to chip. And, if not properly installed, the fireclay material can crack.

Kitchen sinks also come in other materials that are not as common as those discussed here. While no option needs to be off the table, when selecting your new sink, the most important factors to consider are durability and maintenance. Other factors to keep in mind are the sink depth and mounting, the number of bowls (one or two), the faucet type and, of course, cost. Visit a kitchen or home design website for ideas. Then, when it comes time to make your final selection, you’ll know exactly what you want. If you would like to learn more about sink materials and sink mountings, DC Complete can help.