How Long Do Sinks Last? [Answers By Sink Material]


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Sinks

Nothing lasts forever; this quote pretty much applies to everything, and it most definitely applies to home furniture and fixtures. The sink is among the most used household fixtures and will need to be as durable as possible to deliver the longevity required. In this article, we will discuss how long sinks last and the longevity of each sink type based on material. 

Generally, a sink will have a lifespan of up to 50 years on average with everyday use. A well-maintained washbasin made from top-quality material can last for up to approximately 100 years at maximum. Of course, the keywords there is well-maintained and high-quality material.  

Speaking of sink materials, each has its strengths and weaknesses, which will be discussing down below. However, if you want to know which basin material type offers the utmost longevity, you have come to the right place.

How Long Does Each Type of Sink Materials Last? (with Pros and Cons)

Ceramic Sinks – Around 50 Years

Wooden wall public restroom interior side view

The most common type of sink is made from ceramic. Not only are ceramic sinks affordable, but they are also quite durable. Ceramic basins are made via pottery procedures and are placed within a kiln and subjected to extremely high temperatures. This method helps give ceramic sinks enhanced durability.

Pros:

  • Ceramic sinks provide excellent durability and longevity.
  • While ceramic basins are not as thermal proof as other materials, they can still handle having a piping hot kettle placed on its surface with no issues. 
  • Ceramic sinks are economical and affordable. 
  • You can find ceramic washbasins in different colors and designs/shapes for that added aesthetic variety. 
  • Seamless installation to the countertop or vanity helps significantly reduce mold and mildew buildup.
  • The material itself is known for being easy to clean.

Cons:

  • While ceramic sinks are pretty much dent-proof, you can accidentally chip or crack the surface, which compromises the integrity of the sink.
  • Since ceramic basins are made from natural materials and minerals mined from the Earth, it isn’t precisely the most environment-friendly option. However, it is recyclable, which somewhat balances out this inefficiency. 

Porcelain Sinks – 50 Years or More

Another popular type of sink is one made from porcelain. Similar to the ceramic sink, porcelain basins are considered to be the most durable type of clay. Other than the impressive level of durability, porcelain sinks also have top-notch longevity, with some easily lasting for up to 100 years with proper maintenance. So if you have a porcelain fixture in your home, chances are you won’t need to replace it in your lifetime.

Pros:

  • Similar to the ceramic sink, porcelain washbasins also offer excellent variety with different designs, shapes, and colors available to choose from. 
  • Longevity is one of the key qualities of porcelain sinks, making it an excellent investment.
  • Porcelain basins are incredibly low-maintenance and easy to clean. 

Cons:

  • The porcelain sink’s surface tends to be susceptible to chipping and even stains if proper cleaning and maintenance are not applied. 

Natural Stone Sinks – More than 100 years

Decorative stone sinks. Modern bathroom with selfmade granite sinks

Natural stones feature a variety of rocks from granite, marble, sandstone, onyx, and travertine. These types of sinks are handmade and carved from solid blocks of natural stones. As you would expect, this type of basin tends to be quite expensive. However, that extra cost equates to top-tier durability and longevity as you use a stylized slab of rock as a sink. 

Pros:

  • Natural stone sinks are highly durable and are virtually impossible to cut, chip, crack, dent, or break. 
  • A quality natural stone sink that is properly polished and sealed is relatively easy to clean and maintain. 
  • Natural stone washbasins are thermal and chemical proof. 
  • Since natural stone sinks are handmade, you can expect various designs, shapes, and size options. 

Cons:

  • Natural stone sinks are expensive and can cost an average of $1,000 per standard unit. 
  • As you would expect, this type of basin is hefty, with a standard natural stone basin weighing up to 300 lbs. on average. Installing it will require additional reinforcements to support the weight. You will likely need to hire a professional as well.
  • Natural stone basins need regular resealing. A stone sink with a degraded seal is most likely susceptible to staining. 
  • Certain natural stone basin materials, like soapstone, are vulnerable to discoloration over time. 

Stainless Steel Sinks – 15 to 30 Years

Stainless Water Tap and Wash Sinks

One of the most affordable and popular sink types is the stainless steel unit. With its more modern aesthetic, cost-effectiveness, and balanced durability and longevity – it is no wonder why this is among the most popular sink options today. In addition, stainless steel sinks are easier to disinfect as well. 

Pros:

  • Stainless steel sinks come at a reasonable price. While a bit more expensive than ceramic and porcelain sinks, it is also considerably cheaper than natural stone while providing decent durability considered to be in the middle ground.
  • The steel surface is highly resistant to scratches, rust, and chemical. You can also expect stainless steel sinks to maintain their polished aesthetic for years. 
  • The neutral aesthetic quality of stainless steel makes it compatible with almost every décor. From modern to even rustic, a stainless steel sink won’t visually clash with its surrounding. 
  • As the surface of stainless steel sinks is non-porous, bacteria buildup is pretty much impossible.

Cons:

  • Stainless steel sinks are loud. From accidentally dropping a spoon of water from the faucet splashing on its surface, you can expect it to generate a lot of noise. You can use dampening pads underneath the sinks to reduce the noise, though. 
  • While stainless-steel sinks are indeed resistant to many things, scratches included, we refrain you from using highly abrasive cleaning tools. With continuous use, abrasive cleaners can steadily chip away at the stainless steel sink’s luster. 

Wood Sinks – 10 Years to 100 Years

Luxury bathroom vanity cabinet with vessel sink

Wood sinks have certain similarities to stone sinks in that both utilize natural materials and all the advantages that come with them. Also, wooden basins tend to be quite expensive as well as these are typically handmade or custom made. Along with their unique aesthetic charm, wooded sinks are also long-lasting and bring a certain level of luxurious appeal. 

When it comes to longevity, this type of sink will depend on the type of wood used and how it was processed. Because of this factor, wooden sink’s longevity tends to vary wildly from a decade to almost a century. 

Pros:

  • A distinct aesthetic charm that other materials will not be able to replicate.
  • Wooden sinks can be refinished if damaged, making them look good as new once again.
  • Wood basins are also eco-friendly and highly sustainable. 
  • This type of basin is customizable to fit your personal preference and specifications.

Cons:

  • Wood sinks are often quite expensive due to being handmade. 
  • Certain types of wood offer different levels of durability, with some being extremely prone to water damage if not sealed and maintained correctly.
  • Wooden washbasins also tend to require the highest level of maintenance among the other sink types. 

Resin Sinks – 10 to 40 Years

Modern faucet and sink in bathroom

Resin sinks or acrylic sinks are known for their budget-friendly price tag, durability, and aesthetic versatility. This type of sink is made from plastic (polycarbonate), or to be specific, a blend of resin and polymer. Resin washbasins are ideal for highly active households with their low maintenance and solid toughness. You can also find resin sinks in various colors and shapes and is a perfect companion fixture in a modern and practical home design.

Pros: 

  • Due to resin sinks utilizing a polycarbonate plastic base can be molded to any size and shape specifications. As a result, resin basins offer the broadest selection of sink designs in the market. 
  • Scratches that appear on the surface are easily treatable with a car-buffing compound. 
  • Resin sinks improve their durability by having reinforced fiberglass embedded into the mold. 
  • Resin basins are also natural noise dampeners. 
  • The lightweight structure of resin sinks makes installation relatively easy.

Cons:

  • Resin sinks are durable with proper maintenance, but they still can’t match other sink materials such as ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, etc. 
  • Polycarbonate plastic degrades when exposed to petroleum-based chemicals, so make sure to avoid pouring those types of chemicals on your resin sink’s surface. 
  • Resin sink surfaces are incredibly susceptible to scratches, so refrain from cleaning them with abrasive materials such as steel wool. 
  • Resin basins attached to steel frames are subject to vibration, which can cause screws to loosen over time.   

Bronze Sinks – Around 50 Years

Copper hand basin on brass plinth

Bronze feature a rather distinct and old-fashioned charm that quickly makes it a focal point in any bathroom or kitchen. Bronze basins are also handmade and can have a highly intricate design in the hands of a talented artisan. One of the most significant advantages of a bronze sink is that this alloy is naturally anti-microbial. 

Bronze basins are susceptible to scratches and dings. Bronze sinks also tend to develop a visible patina (greenish-brown color) over time, either a pro or con depending on your preference.

Pros:

  • Incredibly eye-catching aesthetics that can add a considerable level of refinement to your bathroom or kitchen. 
  • Bronze is an alloy with a naturally high anti-microbial surface. 
  • This type of basins is also eco-friendly and recyclable. 

Cons:

  • Cleaning and maintenance can be tricky as cleaning products such as lemon-based cleaners can gradually reduce the patina on the bronze sink’s surface, lowering its anti-microbial properties. 
  • This type of sink requires high maintenance to retain its positive qualities. 

Glass Sinks – Around 30 Years

Modern bathroom interior with two vessel sinks

Glass sinks, or to be precise, tempered glass sinks, offer a unique modern appeal with their see-through property. Glass can be pretty flexible when it comes to its shape, which means that glass sinks are available in a wide variety of designs. 

Despite being made from glass, these types of sinks are generally robust and well-made. However, required extra care is a must for maintaining this luxury-style basin. We recommend avoiding exposing it to extreme temperature changes as this can cause the glass (even-tempered) to expand and shrink.

Pros:

  • The modern, sleek, and low-profile design of glass washbasins perfectly complements contemporary luxury homes. 
  • Glass sinks are versatile in their design, and you can find various glass basins that feature different shapes and colors. 

Cons:

  • Repairs are possible but can be costly. Scratches on the glass sink’s surface will require a professional touch. Cracks, to a certain degree, are still repairable. 
  • Glass sinks require professionals to install due to the somewhat tricky process. 

Sink Maintenance 101

Different factors can affect the overall longevity of your sink, regardless of the material used in its construction. 

Side Effects of Hard Water

Most U.S. households have hard water flowing from their faucets. Its high mineral content defines hard water. While typically safe to drink, hard water can cause damage to plumbing and sinks over time, mainly in the form of leaving hard water stains. To reduce this problem, use water softeners when cleaning the surface of your basins.

Clean the Sink Properly

After cleaning, we recommend you dry off the sink with a cloth as water droplets left on the surface is an open invitation for molds to grow. We also highly advise you to avoid leaving unwashed dishes overnight as the leftovers will be a hotbed for bacteria.

The Correct Cleaning Product

Depending on the material of your sink, be sure to research the correct type of cleaning product to avoid damaging the integrity of your basin. 

Extreme Heat Can Damage Your Sink

You should also avoid directly placing hot pots, pans, or kettles on the surface of your basin, as it can cause irreparable damage over time. 

Prevention is Better than Full-On Repairs

If you see cracks or dents on your sink, no matter how small, it is best to have it repaired asap. Clipping the problem before it can start being a real headache will help save you on possible astronomical repair costs in the future. 

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