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Advice on natural stone sinks.
Natural stone sinks can me made in a variety of styles and stones to suit your needs.
Made from a purely natural material.
Some stones are incredibly robust and hard wearing.
They can come in a variety of unique finishes.
Many stones are extremely resistant to chemical attack.
They can usually be repaired if they get damaged.
Advantages of natural stone sinks
Disadvantages of natural stone sinks
Natural stone sinks can be costly compared with some other materials.
Some sinks can be very heavy and requiring additional support.
They can be chipped with hard impact damage requiring a specialist repair.
Like all hard surface sinks, they are unforgiving to crockery or glassware.
Many stones readily absorb the heat from the dishwater.
Marble and Soapstone for instance need to be guarded from some harsh chemicals.
Granite is an incredibly hard and durable material and comes in a wide variety of vivid colours. In geology, granite is a clearly defined rock, in the stone industry generally it is taken to mean any volcanic rock and will include some metamorphic rocks which are the surrounding rocks changed by the resulting heat and pressure. It is a very difficult material to both work and polish and this may add to the cost. Granite sinks are usually hewn from a single block of stone although they can be successfully fabricated from sheet granite using specialist adhesives. Your granite worktop manufacturer may be able to make up a sink out of the same material as your worktop. Granite can be polished to a high gloss finish if required. Many granites have near zero water absorpsion making them virtually stain free.
Although like granite, Soapstone has an exact geological definition, for carved items, the term is often used for any other soft rock that is soapy to the touch such as Alabaster or Serpentine. Soapstone is has a very high resistance to both heat and chemical attack. You can put your hot pans on to a soapstone drainer or pour your wine, bleach or vinegar into the sink without risk of damage. On the downside it is very soft and a soapstone sink will easily scratch. In time these scratches become part of the look of the sink. Oil is often applied to the soapstone to make the scratches look less pronounced.
Marble comes in a variety of unique colours. Unlike granite, marble colours are generally more softer and commonly pastel in shade. This makes them ideal for bathrooms or where you are looking for more muted tones. Marble is susceptible to acid attack and care is needed when using the likes of lemon juice or vinegar which could etch the surface. On a plus side, marble is resistant to alkaline chemicals such as bleach and ammonia. It is prudent to periodically seal marble sinks with a quality sealer/ impregnator as it is micro porous and can stain easily. It is relatively soft and can be scratched if roughly used. After a period of time the scratches soften as the marble surface is slightly soluble with water. Marble takes a good polish however a fine honed , satin finish will understate any scratches but will make it slightly more susceptible to staining if not properly sealed.
Limestone and Travertine sinks
Some limestones can be granular to look at whereas others have more akin to the properties of marble. For this reason some limestones for building purposes are even called marble. These dense limestones can generally be treated as if they were a marble for the purposes sink construction and care. The less dense limestones are often mistaken for sandstone as their appearance to the naked eye may look very similar. Like marble, limestone will scratch readily but there is an element of self healing wherby the appearance of the scratches will soften when in contact with water. They also have a very similar chemical make up. Travertine is a limestone and is effectively fossilised limescale.
Sandstone was formed as sediment from the grains of other rocks that were eroded away. As only the toughest, less chemically reactive grains survived to make up sandstone, notably quartz and feldspar. The grains therefore which make up sandstone are hard and almost inert to chemical attack. The factors affecting the characteristics of sandstone are the size of the grains, how the grains are bound together and as it has been formed in layers, if the distance between the layers is thick enough to extract a suitable rock. This will determine the suitability of the sandstone for making sinks. Some sandstones are fine grained and strongly bound together. This makes the stone very tough and the stone will absorb very little water. The result is a tough sink with excellent resistance to household chemicals. Sandstone however will not take a good polish.
Slate is made up of very fine grained layers bonded very close together resulting in its quality of very low water absorpsion. This property combined with its readiness to split means it has historically been in use where water resistance is needed. This use extended to making sinks. traditional slate sinks, due to the layered nature of slate. were relatively shallow sinks and makers offset their shallow nature by being long and wide. At one time slate sinks were the choice of butchers and other food preperation businesses. Slate is pastel in tone and can be blue, grey, plum, green or black.
A honed, solid natural granite twin bowl sink and drainer designed by Living Roc.
Twin corner bowl sinks, fabricated from natural granite to match worktop material.
A one piece, solid granite, rock dressed butler type sink.
A fabricated, black granite, Belfast sink.
A fabricated Soapstone double butler sink.
A solid soapstone sink carved out of a single piece of stone. From Vermont marble.
A corner sink fabricated from Soapstone by Soapstone Werks.
A traditional style, Italian white marble sink with ornate edging and splash-back.
A double bowl butler style sink in red marble from GHY stone.
A fabricated, modern style, Carrara sink with incorporated drainer area.
A cream limestone, double farmhouse sink. Hand carved in Portugal.
A shallow, single bowl, travertine sink.
A blue limestone , bowl and half bowl sink hewn from a solid block.
A single bowl sink, hand made in Italy from Pietra Sienna sandstone.
A pale brown, modern style, single bowl sink with a hand chiselled detail.
A Chinese, beige sandstone, bow fronted, farmhouse sink with an ornate carved apron.
A natural slate, double butler style sink with a natural cleft apron.
A large, Belfast style sink fabricated from smooth, honed black slate with a granite worktop.
These days slate sinks are more likely to be fabricated than carved from slab.
A beautifully crafted Welsh slate sink from Cerrig granite and slate.
Traditionally sinks were hewn out of a single piece of slate and were large but shallow.