Cultured stone or cultured marble lavoratory sink (C) Daniel Friedman Sink Choices & Materials
Photo guide to types of sinks & sink materials used in baths, kitchens, laundry or other areas

  • SINK TYPES & MATERIALS - CONTENTS: Photo guide to the types of sinks used in buildings, their history, appearance, composition, durability, and features.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the the types of materials used to make bath sinks, lavs, kitchen sinks, laundry or utility sinks used in buildings
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Photo guide to types of sinks & their composing materials:

Here we provide a photo guide to sinks used in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry or utility areas in buildings. We describe the different materials used to make sinks for various purposes and we include research on the use and history of sinks.

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Material Choices for Bathroom, Kitchen & Laundry Sinks

Sink aboard a Soviet Submarine, San Diego CA (C) Daniel Friedman Here we illustrate the wide variety of materials used to construct kitchen, laundry, and bathroom sinks and we discuss the typical age of each sink type.

At left, an aluminum sink aboard a B-39 Soviet Submarine docked in San Diego, CA. Aluminum was used to reduce weight in the diesel and electric-engine powered Soviet Foxtrot class submarines produced from 1958-1984 and serving Cuba, India, Libya, and the Soviet Union.

[Click to e large any image]

Article Contents

Aluminum Sinks

The aluminum sink shown above at our list of Article Contents was photographed by the author [DF] aboard a Soviet Submarine. Below is a modern aluminum sink provided by Sia Thai Yew Hardware. The company's name for the product is a bit confusing: Delux, Star, S/Steel Aluminum Sink.

Aluminimum sink from Sia Thai Yew Hardware - at


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Bowl & Ewer Sinks

Bowl and pitcher or ewer sink  (C) Daniel Friedman

Shown above, a simple and traditional bowl and pitcher or bowl and ewer sink. This bowl and ewer sink is in use in a cabin in northern Minnesota, as the cabin has no indoor plumbing.

Castle Wall Sinks

Goodrich Castle carved sink, Ross_on_Wye_Herefordshire, UK (C) Daniel Friedman

The castle wall sink shown above is actually a special form of stone sink: it was carved directly into the walls of Goodrich Castle, Ross on Wye, in Herefordshire, in the U.K.

Ceramic Tile Sinks

Constructed on site and in-situ by hand, ceramic tile sinks are typically built by installing ceramic tiles to form a rectangular basin with a sloped bottom.

[Photos needed]

Copper Sinks

Copper sink, el Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico (C) Daniel Friedman

Copper sink, installed at el Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Concrete Sinks

Cast concrete laundry sink with and wringer, Akaroa New Zealand (C) Daniel Friedman

The cast concrete laundry sink with a hand-wringer for clothing shown above is installed at a national park building in Akaroa, New Zealand and is still in active use. In North America cast concrete sinks have been in use for more than 100 years. In the U.S., Erwin O. Warndorff, assigning to the Concrete Fixtures Company, patented an improved metal rim for concrete laundry tubs in 1925. The wide use of these fixtures led to a plethora of patented improvements in sink production, features, and components. (Stoddard 1933). The sink shown above has a metal rim.

As with toilets and bath tubs, often a look at the materials and style of sinks used in a bath, kitchen, or in a laundry area can give clues about the probable age of the building as well as of the plumbing fixture. Lucas (2012) traces the history of kitchen sinks in Canada and illustrates various of these fixtures beginning with galvanized wash tubs used in homes where plumbing was not yet installed.

Custom built concrete sink (C) Daniel Friedman

The custom-formed concrete sink shown above takes a one-off approach to using concrete to build plumbing fixtures. This attractive sink using colored or stained concrete is located in a private home in Atontonilco, Mexico and is less than 25 years old.

In some countries concrete laundry sinks, tubs, basins or utility sinks made of concrete have been supplanted by fiberglass or plastic molded substitutes that are considerably lighter in weight. But in many older homes the concrete laundry basin is still installed, a testimony to its durability.

Cultured Marble Sinks

The cultured marble type sink shown below is a late 20th or current 21st century product.

Cultured stone or cultured marble lavoratory sink (C) Daniel Friedman

Galvanized Washtub Sinks & Tubs

Author having a bath in a galvanized washtub  (C) Daniel Friedman

Above, assisted by his mom, the author is having a bath in a galvanized wash tub that was also used indoors as a kitchen sink. Dunnsville, Virginia, 1944.

Glass Sinks

Glass sink basins such as the New York City Mansfield Hotel's glass bath sink shown below are modern. This sink is less than 20 years old.

Glass bath lav sink, Mansfield Hotel, New York City (C) Daniel Friedman

Glazed Fired Clay Sinks

Similarly, the glazed fired clay bath sink shown above, located in the same building as the stone sink above, can't be easily dated except to guess it's large size probably argues for advanced ceramic manufacture that in Mexico usually dates after 1940.

Glazed fired clay bathroom sink, Las Trancas, Guanajuato Mexico (C) Daniel Friedman

Plastic Sinks, ABS, FIberglass, Other

[Photos needed]

Porcelain on Cast Iron or Porcelain on Steel Sinks

Porcelain and porcelain-coated cast-iron sinks have a still longer history [citations needed]. The porcelain bath lav sink shown below is installed in a pre-1900 hotel in Dunedin, New Zealand (South Island).

Ornate porecelain lav sink in Dunedin (C) Daniel Friedman

Below we see another small lav sink. My hand indicates just how tiny is this little lav sink that was shoe-horned into a small toilet in Monmouth, Wales in the U.K.

Space saving tiny lav sink in a bath in Monmouth Wales UK (C) Daniel Friedman

Below, this enameled cast-iron sink installed in a New York home built in the 1920's still sports its original faucets.

1920's enameled cast iron sink, New York (C) Daniel Friedman

Watch out: don't confuse high vitreous china sinks with enameled or porcelain-coated cast iron or steel. Check the sink under-side. Usually cast iron or steel will be visible on those sinks. A porcelain sink can be destroyed by impact that will chip porcelain- or enamel-coated steel or cast iron.

Below I'm cleaning rust off of the cast iron under-side of a Kohler porcelain-enameled cast iron kitchen sink in preparation for installing a new sink drain. It's easy to learn to recognize cast iron and thus to distinguish these sinks from vitreous china products. This sink was installed in 2000.

Cast iron bottom of a Kohler porcelain enameled kitchen sink (C) Daniel Friedman

Here is an older cast iron based sink.

Porcelain enameled cast iron sink ca 1940 (C) Daniel Friedman

The porcelain-coated or "enameled" cast iron sink shown above was installed in this home in the 1940's. As we describe at BLOCKED DRAIN REPAIR METHODS, when renovating this home (by the author, DF) the galvanized iron drain piping was found so blocked by corrosion that we had to replace all of that drain piping. The pink enameled cast iron sinks shown below were for sale in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico in 2014 but also probably are more than 50 years old.

Pink enameled cast iron sinks for sale in Dolores Hidalgo (C) Daniel Friedman

Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel sinks, a more recent innovation (in wide use ca 1960 North America [estimated]).

Stainless steel kitchen sink (C) Daniel Friedman

The nearly brand-new stainless sink with an interesting integrated drain board shown below is installed in a kitchen island in a guest house in central South Island, New Zealand (photo 2014).

Stainless sink and drainboard New Zealand (C) Daniel Friedman

Also see ISLAND SINK PLUMBING VENTS - island sinks are tricky to vent properly.

Stone Sinks

Stone carved sinks such at the stone sink shown just below cannot be easily dated without considering context and other building clues. The carved stone sink shown here is installed in Las Trancas in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Carved stone bath sink in Las Trancas, Guanajuato (C) Daniel Friedman

The stone sinks shown below are installed in Penjamo, Mexico and incorporate a bit of Mexican tradition by using replicas of corn grinding slab, or metate. The metate was also used to grind cocoa. Like the metate, these sinks are typically carved from volcanic stone.

Corn grinding volcanic stone grinding slab in Penjamo Mexico (C) Daniel Friedman

Synthetic Stone or Synthetic Marble or Cultured Marble Sinks

Appearing mostly under the term cultured marble sinks, synthetic stone, cultured stone, or synthetic marble sinks are man-made products that include both sinks and whole counter-tops that include a cast-in sink to provide a seamless connection between countertop and sink.

Glacier bay cultured marble sink / vanity top at Home Depot Stores - at

Above: a simple white cultured marble sink and vanity top produced by Glacier Bay and distributed through Home Depot stores.

[Photos needed]

Wooden Sinks

Wooden sinks have been used for centuries in the form of trough-like hollowed logs or carved sinks. Below are modern versions of wooden sinks in a high design style.

Wooden sinks from Van Wyck Dutch Design, at

Van Wyk, a Dutch design company, currently offers a range of modern wooden sinks carved by various artists and of various woods. The photo above illustrates some Van Wyk sinks.

Contacts for wooden sink products

[Photos needed]

Woodstone Sinks or Wood Stone Sinks

Petrified wood Woodstone sink from Eden Bath at 2016

Above we discussed stone sinks carved out of a variety of stone materials. Another specialty-stone sink is made of petrified wood, a stone material that was originally wood.

Illustrated here is a stone sink made from petrified wood and sold by Eden Bath. Stone sinks carved of petrified wood stone or stone-wood or "woodstone" sinks depending on who's talking, have been used for hundreds of years if not longer and are available as contemporary plumbing fixtures.

Eden Bath provides a natural stone sink made of petrified wood. Resource:

Research on the history of kitchen sinks


Continue reading at PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH, a guide to choosing & installing plumbing fixtures for kitchens and bathrooms, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.





Or see LEAK TYPES, WATER SUPPLY or DRAIN PIPES if you are not sure how to diagnose a plumbing system leak

Or see SINK LEAK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR if your sink is leaking

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