our brand new cast iron kitchen sink just... self destructed... help!

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by SmallSea, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    Our kitchen sink just started self destructing... what did we do?!? We're remodeling our kitchen and installed an Aqualux brand Bayou model sink from ******* a couple weeks ago. It's cast iron with a white enamel finish. It's a double bowl sink; one bowl is larger and deeper than the other bowl. I couldn't find much online about Aqualux, except that it was made by whirlpool, so we figured it was OK, but maybe that was mistake #1.

    We finally finished the kitchen and were busy emptying boxes and "moving back in" when we heard a strange popping noise. We thought it was electrical, and ran to the light switch, then discovered that the enamel was popping itself off the edge of the sink. It started on the back right corner, near where the counter meets the sink lip. As we watched, almost all the enamel popped itself off the edge of the sink, beginning in that back corner and working its way around all four edges of the sink. Some pieces were tiny but some pieces were several inches long. I have a photo and video that I can post...

    we weren't doing anything weird... we had some soapy water in the bottom of the sink, but that's obviously a standard use, and we weren't standing anywhere near the sink when (or prior to when) the popping began.

    Has anyone seen this before? We've been working on this kitchen for ten months and were so excited to be "done"... famous last words. All my research said cast iron sinks are the "best", but maybe we need to consider another brand. Does anyone have a brand recommendation? Is there something we did to cause this? Nothing was dropped on the sink, we've barely even used it - we filled a few glasses with water over the last week or two, and just today started rinsing dishes as we were unpacking our stuff... It's installed on a new laminate countertop...

  2. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Marin Co. Ca.
    Is this an undermount??

    If so what material is the top of the sink against.

    My guess with little to no info is The sink is torqued down way to tight.
    This blew out the enamial
  3. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    No, it's a drop-in sink. There's a silicone seal under the lip of the sink, but that's it - no screws or clamps to torque or anything. Let me get some photos... be right back...

    OK, here's a photo showing the corner where it started... it started on the upper part of the damaged area, right on the corner, then worked it's way sideways, all the way to the next corners. So frustrating... This is from one big box store; we went to the other big box and they didn't carry this particular brand in sink but did say the aqualux faucets they carry are pretty low quality and crappy. Did we do something wrong, or was this just a defective sink? The second big box carries Kohler... I assume that's a reputable brand for cast iron sink, but can anyone confirm? Thanks.

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  4. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Marin Co. Ca.
    I'm confused ,You stated it popped off all the way around the rim!
    Yet the picture doesn't show this
  5. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    You're right, I took the photo above when it first started happening. I just took a couple new photos - below. Most of the damage occurred within the first 10-15 minutes, but it's still popping off (we vaccuumed all the pieces, and each time we go back there are new pieces of debris.) The damage has worked it's way to each of the next corners. Some of the damage is on the surface - little white divots that still have white underneath them; this damage is hard to see in the photo. And some of the damage goes all the way through to the cast iron. It's hard to see, but the original corner damage now extends past the faucet; each of the next two adjacent corners are damaged as well.

    This photo is taken looking at the same corner as the photo above.

    This photo is of the opposite back corner. It's hard to see, but the enamel is chipped off all the way to the middle of the sink.

    I wish I could tell you that we were hammering the sink or something obvious, but we weren't. We were rinsing dishes on the left, stacking them to dry on the right, and hadn't gone near the sink for a good thirty minutes when this started happening... So frustrating.
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Maybe the coating is too thin, or maybe not all the temperatures were right during its application, or maybe ... who knows?!

    You might give the manufacturer an opportunity to explain and replace, but I would be inclined to either move away from cast iron or switch to porcelain.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    This is something which just should not happen. I say it is obvious from the pictures that it was NOT cause be accident or abuse, but just lousy quality. I would take it back to the store and demand your money back. Certainly you cannot leave it like that, and it cannot be suitably repaired.

    You could call the manufacturer....if they have a US representative. They might be interested, but most likely will just tell you to take it back to the store.

    Kohler is a premium brand. Maybe a little overpriced, but the quality of Kohler cast iron has never been questioned.
  8. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    thanks, I feel better knowing that this wasn't something we did... we didn't think it was, we couldn't imagine what we could've done to cause this, but who knows. We will be taking this back and demanding our money back. We're probably going to have to buy new drains, too, unless we can get them out cleanly - I'm going to put up a stink about that as well. And we'll probably be buying a Kohler. I can't find any other cast iron sink brands except Eljer, and the Eljer looks suspiciously like this Aqualux. We don't want to risk this happening again... ugh. I should post the video of this happening on utube or something, it's so odd...
  9. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Marin Co. Ca.
    Bring it back ,They have a serious problem. Any balking on their part pull out this thread pix. We want to see how this is handled.
    Do not take a replacement from same Manuf. There could be 1100 of these failures ,and they'll never admit it.!
  10. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    Thanks everyone. I'll let you all know what happens. We bought this from a big box that shall remain nameless for now, and they better take it back. They don't sell this anymore, but still... we need to special-order the Kohler sink from a different big box and it'll take a week to get it in, so we'll probably keep using this sink through the week. I'll let you know what happens next weekend when we disconnect everything and take it back... what a royal PITA...
  11. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    If you're curious or skeptical, I posted the video on youtube...

    This is a 30-second video taken about 2 minutes after this started happening. The damage began in the rear right corner then went to the rear left corner, where this video is focused.
  12. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    I can't believe you got that on video! That's great...
  13. Old Dog

    Old Dog G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states)

    exploding sink...

    Never seen that happen before... great video.
    The silicone sealant sure puts out a stink when it's curing.Maybe some type of chemical reaction went on with an already flawed coating on the sink...
  14. like tempered glass, porcelain is made with heat. If the firing process isn't done well enough, a glass panel can just crack or shatter without any apparent immediate reason. A porcelain coating can too, in my estimation. This is the manufacturer's responsibility.

    glad you video'd it.

  15. Steel or Cast Iron??

    that does not even look like porceline in the video..

    are you sure that this is acutually cast iron???

    and not some cheap enameled epoxy or just a steel drop in sink..???

    If it is from whirlpool , it is probably something they had shipped in from CHINA and it is most likely been very
    cheaply made....

    in the Video you posted it almost looked like it was
    spraye d onto that steel and not baked on.....

    take it back to whereever and get a Kohler or Eljer in Real cast iron...

  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    It may have started because of the sink sitting on the countertop and there was concentrated pressure because it was not a flat bottom on the rim. But it should not have come off in sections like that in any case, so the obvious thing is that it was a poor enameling job and the sink has to go back.
  17. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump
    I'll almost bet money thats not real cast iron, but a knockoff of "Americast".
    It's a lighter guage steele, as Mark stated above.
    I recommend customers away from those, especially the tubs, because of what I just watched on the video...the steele is so thin that it only takes a small amount of torque and the porcelain coating cracks n' chips.
    Absolutely hilarious to see it in action...not so hilarious to have to rip it out and drive back to Home depot though.
  18. gsthong

    gsthong New Member

    One word, CHINA. Sorry about your dilema.
  19. China recalls everything and steals our technology....

    CHINA is great......

    They dont even know how to make toys that wont
    poison kids....look at all the big recalls .

    how can you expect them to know how to make cast
    iron or whatever kind of sink that is,,,
    or anything to last more than a week???

    basically they need to steal more of our technology before
    importing it all back to us....
    they have already stole most of our
    factory type jobs along with mexico...

    Perhaps if Hillory and Bill Clinton are re-elected,
    they can sell off more of our knowledge to the Chineese
    like they did back in the 90s for a nice kickback...
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  20. SmallSea

    SmallSea New Member

    Yes, I am absolutely 100% sure this is cast iron. It weighed a TON (and just as much as the Kohler sink we bought to replace it with.) It was definitely cheap construction, though. When we felt the underside of the Kohler sink (around the lip of the drains) it felt much smoother where the enamel met the cast iron; the Aqualux sink felt all jaggedy and sharp. Of course, we didn't know that was a sign of poor quality. We did all our research before we bought. Consumer Reports said Cast Iron is the best sink material, and also said a cast iron sink is a cast iron sink and brand isn't so important as the material. We learned that Aqualux was made by Jacuzzi which was a brand we had heard of, so we went with it. We've seen americast and such, and we've seen steel coasted sinks. This was not one of those - this was absolutely cast iron.

    We found the specs for the Aqualux sink on the Jacuzzi website when we originally purchased the sink. Now, if you go to that site and click on kitchen sinks, it says "page not found". I have a feeling they discontinued this due to other quality problems.

    In any case, we successfully removed the old sink without damaging the counter! Hooray! (Well, one little scratch, but we shifted the new sink a teeny bit to cover it.)

    We couldn't get the drains out of the sink, though. When I spoke to the store manager at M----- last week, he said they had tools in the store and could help us with that if needed. So we loaded the car and brought the sink with drains to M-------. They returned the old sink without any problem. The plumbing dept manager couldn't get the drains out of the sink, either, so he gave us brand new ones at no cost.

    Although it was a total PITA and a lot of stress and anxiety to deal with all of this, I am very pleased with the service we received at the store. The new sink (Kohler cast iron, from HD) is installed; DH wants to give the silicone seal a day to cure before he starts messing with the plumbing. Fingers crossed, tomorrow everything will be replumbed successfully.

    Thanks to you for your help!
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