With the advent of the modern era and modern production methods, ceramic kitchen sinks were phased out in favour of cheaper, more easily produced stainless steel products. “Hang on steel is used in lots of applications to be bullet proof, what’s the deal with your title huh?” Well stainless steel sinks are generally thin, noisy, and scratch and stain easier than a ceramic kitchen sink would; besides, everyone’s got a stainless steel sink, who wants to be like everyone else?
OK now I may have exaggerated just a little. Chances are whatever ceramic kitchen sink you end up purchasing, it won’t be ballistics rated. HOWEVER, it WILL be extremely hardy. As any other pottery ceramic kitchen sinks are made by blending clays, fillers and fluxes during a firing process then applying white or colour glazed finishes that fuse chemically and physically to the clay. As a finished product, ceramic kitchen sinks have an EXTREMELY hard and scratch resistant surface (think of some of your best flatware), are resistant to fading, staining (ever been able to stain one of your plates?), burning, and even solvents and acids.
In addition to being manufactured in various ways, ceramic kitchen sinks also come in various designs which can be separated into two separate categories; Self Rimming (or top mount), and Bottom mount (or under mount). The two separate types are fairly self explanatory; a self rimming ceramic kitchen sink will simply drop into a roughly cut hole of the correct size or slightly larger with the lip around the outside making professional installation very easy. The installation of a bottom mount ceramic kitchen sink however would be somewhat more difficult. In this situation the countertop material will be making the lip to the sink itself, thus the cut and finish need to be very accurate and tidy. Unfortunately, no matter how accurate, a small difference between sink opening and countertop material is always going to exists, and a flush and exact match is close to impossible, thus leaving a lip or small overhang is preferable, otherwise a good helping of silicone needs to be applied, somewhat retracting from the otherwise unique and classy finish.
Some of the more common designs for ceramic kitchen sinks are; Vessel Sinks, Prep Sinks, Farmers Sinks and Trough Sinks. Usually found in the bathroom, the lip or edge of a vessel sink always sit proud of the countertop, often looking more like a large bowl on the countertop (although sometimes semi-recessed), than an actual sink, drawing a lot of attention. Prep sinks are perhaps the most modern use of an old idea. Named as such due to their specific intent of use (and extra preparation area), a prep sink is usually a half sink or smaller, but only the “bowl” itself, more similar to the size of a hand basin usually found in a bathroom. Fantastic for ultra modern kitchens where almost everything is either dishwasher safe, or all prepared meals are simple and require nothing large to be washed up by hand, a prep ceramic kitchen sink offers more counter space, somewhere to chill wine and wash your hands.
A farmers ceramic kitchen sink is usually a rectangular and deep sink that would more resemble a laundry trough for most. Usually finishing at the top with very little or no edge or lip to speak of, farmhouse sinks were named after the same type of sink their design was modeled on; a sink usually found in homes on farms. Trough sinks are named after what one might find a large number of animals eating out of; that’s right, a feeding trough. Trough sinks are very long, and often much leaner than a standard sink, allowing more than one individual to comfortably use it at the same time.
The majority of ceramic kitchen sinks these days are cast from iron or resin and then coated with a ceramic, meaning that they’re lighter and easier to mount than a solid one would be. If you do use a solid ceramic kitchen sink, make sure that the bench or countertop is in fact strong enough to hold its weight, and be dubious of the shape of the sink as they can be distorted during the firing process. One thing is certain though, a ceramic kitchen sink, modern or traditional, will add a touch of class and individuality to any kitchen.