Whether you’re upgrading your existing kitchen or splashing out on a brand new one, the sink is often not the first thing on your mind. After all, a sink is a sink, right? It might surprise you to know your sink is one of the most hardworking appliances in your kitchen, you need to make sure it’s up to the job.
We offer sinks in three materials, Stainless Steel, ROK® Composite and Ceramic, it is worth taking a few moments to understand the "pros and cons" of each material to choose the right sink for your kitchen.
Astracast was founded in 1984 as the world's first specialist manufacturer of coloured composite sinks. It was part of the Spring Ram Corporation's group of companies specialising in home improvement products and based in Leeds, Yorkshire.
In June 1999, Spring Ram Corporation was purchased by US Industries (USI), an independent public based in New Jersey, USA, with Astracast a key part of its UK operation, Jacuzzi UK.
During the 1990's Astracast grew to become the UK's largest sink manufacturer by market share, and one of the largest sink manufacturers in the world producing in excess of one million kitchen sinks, kitchen taps and accessories per year. Stainless Steel and Ceramic sinks were added to the product portfolio in 1991, supported with the purchase of SSP Malta in 1994, a manufacturing plant specialising in the manufacture of stainless steel sink products.
Over the years Astracast has focused on innovation and design to produce market leading products from the world first coloured composite sink products in 1984 to the addition of our ROK® material in 1997, a composite material with 85% real quartz to give unrivalled resistance and performance. In 2010 saw another world's first, a textured composite sink finish, ROK-TEX - a textured natural slate finish as featured on our Contour sink range.
In 2007 Jacuzzi was purchased by American private equity firm Apollo Global Management which lead to the 2008 merger of Astracast with the Jacuzzi UK bathroom business and the move to a new Head Office and composite sink / bath manufacturing plant in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Astracast along with the bathroom business now offered a multi-channel product offering selling into over 40 countries worldwide.
In December 2012, Astracast sink and private label bath business was acquired by private investment company HLD Capital forming Astracast Ltd. In March, 2013 HLD acquired Reva Industries Limited. This latest addition to the group sees Astracast Ltd become both market leaders in the UK in kitchen sinks and acrylic bath manufacturing.
Astracast is recognised as a market leader in the manufacture of kitchen sinks, taps and accessories, manufacturing for over 29 years across all three sink materials including Stainless Steel, Composite Granite and Ceramic. We are proud to design, develop and manufacture in the UK, creating stunning innovative designs with industry leading quality that will take pride of place in your home for many years to come.
Innovation - We strive to drive the market with new and innovative manufacturing processes to develop products that not only look incredible but offer real attention to detail and always keep the end user in mind. From developing the first coloured composite sinks to a material that looks and feels like natural slate, Astracast have always been at the forefront of product innovation.
Design - We believe that good design isn't just about creating a product that looks beautiful but one that works for the user, from clever pop-up wastes that work with a simple push to hidden overflows and large spacious bowls, we design our products around their function not just their form.
Performance - Our commitment to design and investment in manufacturing has been acknowledged with the award of ISO9001:2008. This international standard reflects high levels of design, development, manufacture and quality assurance, guaranteeing consistent high standards throughout the entire range to provide our customers with a sink that performs to their highest expectations.
Astracast Guarantee - All Astracast products have a comprehensive guarantee which covers the sink against the unlikely event of any material or manufacturing defect. This guarantee is just one part of Astracast’s commitment to total quality, assuring you that all products will give you the highest level of performance and lasting good looks for years to come.
Responsible - As a manufacturer we understand it is our responsibility to ensure that the environmental impact of each product we manufacture is as low as possible, whether it is made from natural resources, like the wood in our chopping boards or synthetic ingredients such as in the acrylic in our baths or the resin in our granite sinks. In 2012 we switched all our packaging to sustainable cardboard from certified FSC approved sources.
Your kitchen sink is one of the most hardworking appliances, so you need to make sure it’s up to the job. That’s why the right composite material is so important. With ROK®, quartz crystals are concentrated at the surface, making it tougher, stronger and more durable. ROK® keeps on looking good, no matter what you throw at it.
Quartz is the fourth hardest element and that makes it a natural choice for a kitchen sink. Take a look at the magnified image of ROK®. As you can see, ROK® is made from an intense mass of 90% quartz crystaline particles, forced together within a smooth bonding agent to give it its superior strength. And unlike standard granite composites, ROK® has a greater concentration of quartz crystals at its surface, because this is where you want the real durability. It creates an impenetrable barrier, which makes it resistant to stains, intense heat, scratching and every day knocks and bumps.
Astracast uses only high quality 18/10 stainless steel in the manufacture of its sink products - 18 / 10 refers to the chromium (18%) nickel (10%) content in the steel which gives it the high level of stain, corrosion and rust resistance we associate with the material.
Stainless steel sinks are available in many shapes, sizes and installation types. All our Studio sinks are 0.7mm gauge or greater, this is the thickness of the steel used in the sinks construction. The higher the gauge, the more rigid the steel and the less flex the sink will have. Some manufacturers use thinner steel that has the potential to dent or scratch more easily.
This manufacturing process involves drawing a sheet of stainless steel over a die to shape the sink. It creates a seamless sink with no welding required and is the most cost effective way of producing a sink. Single piece sinks offer great value because they require no additional manufacturing processes.
As the name suggests, two pieces (sometimes more) are welded together to create the sink. This is often used on sinks with deep or multiple bowls and allows for more complex sink designs. The steel can only be drawn over a die so far before it becomes too thin, this is why single piece sinks often have shallow bowls in comparison to a two piece sink. During manufacture, the sink drainer and frame are pressed as one process, and the bowl/s as another, then they are welded together and polished to a seamless finish.
A fabricated sink is by far the most manual and labour intensive way of producing a sink, but this does allow for intricate designs with precision angles, premium heavy gauge steel and luxurious brushed finishes. These sinks often feature square bowls with tightly radiused corners because the steel is bent using a press and each corner is individually welded and polished. The sink is fabricated from many separate components, each one precisely cut, shaped and welded to build the sink. Our Profile, Vantage and Vantage Sio sink ranges are example of the fabricated sinks.
Ceramics have been used in the manufacture of sinks for well over 100 years, in a world of changing tastes and technology, ceramic sinks still offer all the durability and charm of their Victorian counterparts. There is something unmistakeable about the timeless beauty of a ceramic sink, they offer character to any kitchen, both modern or traditional, and with modern technology and new innovative manufacturing techniques we are able to create bolder designs that preciously thought possible.
A common misconception with ceramic sinks is they are brittle and impractical, yet every chemistry lab around the world uses a ceramic sink? In fact ceramics offer unparalleled resistance to stains, chemicals and heat, and modern glazes offer a hard and durable surface.