Materials in the Restroom: Sinks

7 minute read | August 1st, 2016


Lovair considers the durability, maintenance and safety of modern materials in the restroom in order to effectively combine quality, beauty, low-maintenance costs and functionality. The choice of materials used for the sink fixture and drainage system is essential to a sustainable relationship between durability, cleanliness and aesthetic experience. The inquiry ends with confidence in Lovair’s choice of customizable Corian sinks with concealed stainless steal drainage.

 


Quartz:
Quartz, the “engineered stone” feels a strong ally to solid surfaces like Corian. Nonporous and resistant to stains, it stands up to the daily spills that marble cannot face, and might even hide present germs and messes given its dark texture. It doesn’t chip or crack easily, and is certainly low maintenance, but what is left is the weight and mounting capabilities for large-scale, ADA compatible installations. All these stone surfaces give a weight to the desire to breathe easy.

Marble: Marble is even more expensive than quartz, and yet it can be permanently scratched. The daily ware of visitors spilling even the slightest drop of coffee or citrus can permanently stain, etch or scar the surface, leaving that familiar gauze of blemishes over a failed attempt at luxury. Even some common cleaning products can do abrasive damage. All this, and it still will need a seal more than a few times a year depending on amount of traffic, so account for closures to ensure the effectiveness of the tedious maintenance.

Granite: Granite is durable; it doesn’t scratch and is resistant to stains. Though it needs a regular sealing, it is high quality material. But given its heavy weight, its rising price and unclean look when the slightest bit wet, it would be hard to justify the aesthetic for a lovair mission dedicated to a refined and functional simplicity that allows for the individual’s positive, unconscious experience to remain in the foreground of the restroom environment.

Paper Composite: Paper composite is a very cool, ecofriendly and relatively affordable combination of resin (similar to solid surfaces) and recycled paper fibers. It’s light, non-porous and resistant to stains and scratches, too. Another ally to Corian! Regular seasoning and hands-on maintenance is recommended, a little more so than for Corian, since the surface is susceptible to scratching, and while the matte finish isn’t the most attractive when wet or dirty, paper composite slabs are certainly a strong, reliable and responsible addition to the restroom.

Soapstone: Slightly heavier than granite, Soapstone has a soft, but full feel. Still, its weight, and proclivity to cracks and nicks with a need for consistent sealing and maintenance doesn’t make it a strong candidate for frequent use. It develops a natural roughness to its surface, acquiring a calloused look and feel.

Enamel over Steel or Cast Iron: The glossy finish of an enamel-dipped steel or cast iron sink is attractive, but inevitable chips and stains in the porcelain enamel leaves too much risk for high traffic areas, while the weight of the interior body is often too much weight for installation. When it is installed, a proper caulking is essential. Abrasives and routine cleaning can wear away the coating, leaving more and more room for stain and germ build-up. 

Tile: Tile is affordable, easy to install and clean and moisture resistant, but everyone has seen the build up around grout, and everyone has cringed at poorly cut tile to fit the backsplash. Too much is at risk when working for seamless customization. The tiles become uneven, scratched, surrounded by stained grout.

Cast Concrete: Pros: Heat- and scratch-resistant, smooth, very strong, lots of texture and color options, pretty durable, can seamlessly integrate sink and backsplash. Cons: Can get cracked, somewhat porous, must be sealed and waxed, needs to be custom cast (can be pricey to fabricate). Around $80-150/foot.

Concrete: Concrete can be beautiful, but it is porous and as we know, cracks. For high traffic sinks, stain and trapped residue is guaranteed. It is definitely durable, but heavy, relatively expensive, inconvenient and a definitive, cold style, not ideal for an effortless and enriching experience.

Laminate: Easy to install, easy to damage. Laminate dirties quickly and becomes old and gross fast, especially with use. 

Corian (Solid Surface): The Corian slabs deliver a smooth, seamless surface that cleans easily and sustains ware. Lighter than most other surfaces of competing quality, it is favorable for safe, efficient installation. Because it is nonporous, there is no sealing or special maintenance needed. It inherently protects against the usual build up of mildew, mold and bacterial growth common to most every other restroom surface, and as a one-piece installation, there is no possibility for unwanted cracks or ugly dirt traps. While it can imitate the appearance of any other desired surface, usually at a fraction of the price (as little as a quarter of the price of quartz, and even less when compared to marble and granite) it is, like most surfaces, susceptible to scratches. Only, unlike a marble, tile, soapstone, enamel or the irreparable and increasingly popular laminate, these damages can be easily sanded or buffed out, restoring the surface to its original quality. No need for replacement or expensive restoration or cleaning, and no initial sealing or primary maintenance required. Most of all, the whole of the sink is customizable! It’s shape, it’s build, depth and height. The sink bowls, the back splash the design of multiple sinks across the slab. This kind of ability to customize is easy to get excited about.

Recommended Care for Corian (from Dupont): Start with Common Household Cleaners

For most residues, all you need to clean your Corian countertops is warm soapy water, ammonia-based household cleaner, or a dedicated countertop cleaner. Do avoid window cleaners, however, as they can leave a waxy build-up that dulls the surface.

Keep Your Countertops Dry

Film will build up on countertops if water is left to dry on the surface. This film will dull the countertop surface, making the finish appear blotchy and uneven. To prevent film build-up, it is very important to wipe the countertop completely dry immediately after spills and cleaning. 

Inspired by our intimate work with the materials we choose, the Ribbon Collection was born to collaborate with Corian. As seamless as Corian itself, the transition between soap, water and air leaves the environment as clean and pleasurable as when it was installed. The staff, engineers, creatives, craftsman and architects of lovair and its collaborators and clientele are hardly just materials.

PUBLISHED BY
Justin Lovell

Justin Lovell

Managing Director, Lovair

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