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Fireclay Vs Cast Iron Sink: What Is The Difference

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Fireclay Vs Cast Iron Sink: What Is The Difference

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Choosing the perfect accent piece for your home can be tricky, especially when there are so many options on the market. Clay sinks and cast iron sinks are both great options, but each brings its own pros and cons.

If you’re looking to purchase a farmhouse-style or apron-style sink, you may be wondering what options are available. Today, we’ll take a look at cast iron vs clay sinks to better understand the differences and help you make an informed decision.

What Is A Clay Sink?

For a charming, classic farmhouse appeal, a fireclay sink is a perfect choice. Fireclay sinks are made up of clay that is resistant to high temperatures. This clay is a common clay that contains more aluminum. Its color is much whiter than other types of clay.

Fire clay is molded at very high temperatures and then solidifies as it cools and dries. Porcelain enamel can be used to help strengthen the sink.

Are Clay Sinks Durable?

Although clay sinks are made of a clay-based ceramic material, they are extremely durable. The searing heat at which the sink is fired makes it stronger. Clay sinks do not scratch or chip easily, especially when compared to other types of sinks.

Will Fireclay Sinks Crack?

Although unlikely, clay sinks can crack. There are several different conditions that can cause this failure. If a sink is poorly made, it is more likely to crack. This is also true if a plumber over-tightens the drain or sink collar during installation.

If you accidentally throw plates and other heavy cookware or utensils into the sink, chances are the sink will crack in multiple places.

Can I Pour Boiling Water Into A Clay Sink?

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As a general rule of thumb, it is best not to pour boiling water into a fireclay sink. If boiling water must be poured into the sink, put cold water in while pouring the boiling water into the sink. A grid or basket placed at the bottom of the sink can help protect the sink from boiling pots and pans.

What Is A Cast Iron Sink?

Cast iron sinks are solid and durable sinks. They are made by melting iron and casting it into a mold. Porcelain enamel is usually applied to these sinks to help strengthen them. They come in a variety of options to provide a pop of color to your kitchen’s color palette.

Enamel coatings tend to show damage more easily, especially if the chips and scratches are deep enough to show the iron underneath the enamel. To avoid scratching or damaging the enamel, do not use any abrasives to clean the sink.

Cast iron sinks are quite resistant to stains due to their enamel coating. Whether it is spaghetti sauce, coffee, tea, or other materials that stain easily, enamel holds up well.

What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a clay sink and a cast iron sink is their composition. Clay sinks are made from a combination of clay, while cast iron sinks are made of iron, as the name implies.

Both types of sinks are very durable and can handle decades of use if taken care of properly. However, they have their own differences that can help you determine the best fit for your home.

Pros And Cons

When choosing the right sink for you and your home, you need to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of each sink. Below, we’ve compared each sink type in several different ways. Each of these materials has benefits and drawbacks.

If you’re looking for a quick list of pros and cons for each sink, skip to the bulleted list below.


Clay sinks tend to be much lighter than cast iron sinks, which makes installation much easier. Cast iron sinks may require several people to install due to their weight. Heavier components may also require additional bottom support for safe installation.


Clay sinks are typically much more expensive than cast iron sinks due to their extensive manufacturing process. Cast iron sinks range in price from $200 to $300 and up to $700, while clay sinks usually start at $600 and go up from there.

The price of both may vary depending on the size, make and model of the sink. Both types of sinks can cost thousands of dollars, but in most cases, fireclay sinks are more expensive.

Rust Resistance and Durability

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When it comes to rust resistance and durability, there is a clear leader. While both types of sinks are relatively similar in terms of durability levels, clay sinks are more resistant to rust than cast iron sinks. The enamel coating on cast iron sinks helps protect the sink from rusting, but rusting can become an issue when chips and scratches expose the iron underneath.

Clay is much more resistant to chips and scratches than the enamel coating on cast iron sinks. It tends to hide deep cracks better than cast iron because the underlying material is the same color as it looks, whereas cast iron tends to be much darker than the enamel surface.


Clay sinks tend to be easier to maintain than cast iron. Since scratches and deep cracks are evident on cast iron sinks, it’s good to repair problems as they arise. You may need to invest in a variety of repair tools, epoxy, sandpaper and other materials to help you fix and maintain your cast iron sink.

For clay, you’ll just need to give your sink a thorough wipe down at the end of the day to keep it looking good. Avoid harsh cleaners and don’t pour boiling water down the drain without running cool water so you can rest easy.


Cleaning these sinks is not complicated. However, cast iron sinks require a non-abrasive cleaning agent. Rough brushing or scrubbing may cause scratches in the enamel of cast iron sinks, so it’s best to stay away from these.

Clay sinks, on the other hand, are much easier to clean. While you should still avoid abrasive cleaners, clay usually holds up well, making them easier to maintain.

Color Availability

Cast iron sinks come in many different colors, making it easier for you to find a sink that matches your kitchen. Clay sinks are not available in many colors, most of which are white. If you are not sure if white will work with your kitchen’s color scheme, you may have a tough time getting the sink to look good.

Fireclay Sinks

For ease of comparison, here is a quick list of the pros and cons of both sink types.


  • Durable
  • Will not scratch or chip easily
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to install
  • Rust resistant


  • Can be expensive
  • Limited color palette
  • Cast Iron Sinks

Which Is Better: Cast Iron Or Fireclay?

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Choosing the right kitchen sink for your home ultimately comes down to your preferences. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which type of sink is best for you.

If you’re looking for an affordable, durable sink that will stand the test of time and heavy use, a cast iron sink is a great choice. However, if you drop a sharp or heavy object into the sink, the enamel may chip, which puts the sink at risk of rusting.

You need to be careful about what kind of cleaner you use on your sink, as abrasive choices can damage the enamel.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a high-end and durable sink, fireclay sinks are a great option. They can create a vintage farmhouse feel in your kitchen, while still maintaining a clean and sleek look.

Fireclay farmhouse sinks are usually more expensive than cast iron sinks, but they are easy to install and quite durable.

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