Farmhouse Sink Buying Guide
Years ago, before homes had indoor plumbing, people used water from wells, lakes, and rivers to wash dishes. Farmhouse sinks were an important part of these homes. The large basins were designed with comfort in mind. They have an ergonomic apron design, bringing the sink closer to the person washing the dishes, by eliminating the countertop, and the need to lean forward more than required.
Today, these aesthetically pleasing sinks are the focal point of the kitchen. With an assortment of materials, designs, sizes, bowl configurations, and other options, these kitchen sinks are perfectly suited for every style kitchen.
Fireclay is the most common material for farmhouse sinks. Formed using a mixture of feldspar, clay, and glaze and fired at high temperatures, causing the clay and glaze material to combine and harden. The process creates a smooth, glossy finish that is nonporous, strong, dense, and the most heat and damage-resistant material available. Fireclay kitchen sinks are low maintenance and easy to clean, making them perfect for the kitchen!
For many years, cast iron has been used to make kitchen sinks. Coated with a layer of hard, porcelain enamel, cast iron sinks are sturdy and resistant to chipping and cracking. The porcelain enamel finish provides a smooth surface that’s easy to clean.
One of the most popular kitchen sink materials, stainless steel is often used for undermount and drop-in sinks. Lately, stainless steel has been used for farm sinks. These sinks are typically constructed of 14 (thicker), 16, or 18 (thinner) gauge 304-grade stainless steel, and have a smooth, matte finish. Stainless steel is resistant to chipping and cracking and resilient to acidic materials. They’re generally low maintenance. Gauge is important, as a thicker gauge holds up better during regular use and is less likely to scratch or dent.
Copper has inherent antimicrobial properties, naturally killing harmful bacteria, and making this an excellent material for kitchen sinks. Your copper farmhouse sink won’t rust or tarnish, but because of its natural properties, it has a living finish and will patina over time as the metal oxidizes. These heavy sinks are typically constructed of 14 (thicker), 16, or 18 (thinner) gauge copper. Gauge is an important factor when considering a copper sink. A thicker gauge holds up better during regular use and is less likely to scratch or dent. They’re also easy to maintain, requiring only a soft cloth and mild soap, as well as an occasional wax coat to maintain the sinks finish.
STONE & GRANITE
Stone kitchen sinks have seen an increase in popularity due to their heavy-duty design and modern appearance. Due to their maximum thermal shock resistance, these farm sinks can withstand extreme and rapid changes in temperature. The non-porous surface is resistant to chips, scratches, and stains and is easy to clean.
Ultimately, the apron design comes down to your personal preference. However, some styles are more popular than others. You can choose a smooth apron front for a clean look that will go with any style or a more unique apron design.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
NUMBER OF BASINS
There are benefits to both single and double basin sinks. Single farmhouse sinks are large and spacious, making it easier to wash large pots and pans. These sinks also tend to use up less counter space. Double bowl sinks allow you to soak dirty dishes in one basin while washing dishes or prepping food in the other. You can also separate heavy dishes from delicate dishes and glassware. One of the main reasons people choose double basin sinks is to install a garbage disposal in one basin, separating the sink used for the disposal and the sink used for washing dishes. Keep in mind, a garbage disposal requires a special sink flange.
If you choose a double basin sink then you must also decide on a basin split. Basin splits are typically available in 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, and 75/25. A 50/50 basin split is great for people who love symmetry. However, having one large basin and one smaller basin is beneficial for food prep, rinsing dishes, and cleanup.
If you wash your dishes by hand, consider a drainboard farmhouse sink. These sinks have a convenient built-in drainboard, perfect for draining or drying dishes, as well as food prep.
Also referred to as sound dampening, these are typically stainless steel sinks that are padded, making them less noisy, absorbing the vibrations of water, as well as items placed in the basin.
It’s important to remember most farmhouse sinks do not come with pre-drilled faucet holes. While bridge faucets are popular for farm sinks, some homeowners prefer a pull-down faucet so the faucet can easily reach all sides of the big sink.
FARMHOUSE SINK INSTALLATION
Choose your sink before selecting your cabinet to ensure you choose the correct cabinet size. Most cabinet manufacturers make a short cabinet to accommodate a farmhouse sink. You should always consult with or hire a contractor to install your sink. The contractor can install the countertop with the edges of the sink covered up or completely covered. For sinks with thin walls, it’s recommended that the edges of the sink are covered. Just make sure the sink in on site before measuring for countertops. Because some farmhouse sinks are molded, they vary slightly in size.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
DO I NEED AN UNDERMOUNT KIT?
An undermount kit isn’t required, but it is highly recommended. Whether they’re made from fireclay or cast iron farmhouse sinks are heavy. An undermount kit provides additional support for your sink.
HOW STRONG IS FIRECLAY?
Due to the high temperature at which the clay, feldspar, and porcelain enamel are fired, fireclay is a strong material. It is not, however, immune to cracking or crazing. Crazing is when the porcelain enamel develops hairline cracks. These are typically a cosmetic issue and do not affect the overall function of the sink.
DO I NEED A SINK GRID?
A sink grid isn’t required, but it is highly recommended. A sink grid will protect your sink from scratches and normal wear and damage. They can also help to absorb the noise from cleaning pots, and pans and prevent glasses from breaking when they’re knocked against the sides of the sink. Sink grids also keep items off the bottom of the sink, which can restrict drainage.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIRECLAY AND PORCELAIN?
Fireclay is extremely durable. Every fireclay farmhouse sink is handmade from a white clay, which is only found in certain regions of the world. The clay is mixed with water, poured into a mold, and dried in a humidity-controlled room. Then mold is then hand-glazed and fired at very hot temperatures, causing the clay and glaze material to combine and form an entirely new, stone-like material.
Porcelain is heated at a lower temperature. It’s more prone to chips, scratches, and discoloration. It is not recommended for use in kitchen sinks.
HOW DO I CLEAN MY FARMHOUSE SINK?
How you clean your farmhouse sink depends on what material it’s made of.
On a regular basis, clean your fireclay sink using a mild cleaner and a soft cloth. Dry the sink with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. A mild abrasive cleaner can be used to clean hard to remove dirt and grime. Apply a light coat of wax to your sink about once a month to promote proper drainage.
Rinse thoroughly after each use and wipe dry with a soft cloth. For a deeper clean, use hot water and gentle dish soap with a soft cloth. Never use abrasive cleaners or sponges, such as steel wool or wire brushes on your cast iron sink. Leaving dirty dishes, coffee grounds, tea bags, or other materials in your sink for a long period of time can stain the surface.
Thoroughly rinse your sink after each use, and dry with a soft cloth. Periodically, clean your stainless steel farmhouse sink using a gentle soap, warm water, and a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaning pads or cleaners.
Rinse out your sink after each use, and never leave any food or dirty dishes sitting in the sink for a long period of time. Clean your sink on a regular basis using warm water, a mild soap, and a soft cloth. For extra protection, use a high-quality copper sink wax. Never use abrasive cleaners or sponges like steel wool or wire brushes to clean your copper sink. Avoid putting acidic foods, cosmetics, and abrasive chemicals in your sick, as they can affect the patina.
After each use, rinse your stone farmhouse sink and wipe dry using a soft cloth. Your sink should be cleaned regularly using mild dish detergent and a soft cloth. Do not use harsh and acidic chemicals or abrasives on your granite kitchen sink.
WHAT SIZE BASE CABINET DO I NEED FOR MY FARM SINK?
The size of your base cabinet depends on the size of your farmhouse sink. The base cabinet should measure 3” longer than the size of the sink you’re installing. If you’re installing the sink in existing cabinets, we recommend consulting with a cabinet retailer on the correct size. Your cabinets may need to be adjusted to fit your new sink.
WHAT SIZE FARMHOUSE SINK DO I NEED?
If you already have your cabinets picked out or installed, the farmhouse sink should measure 3” shorter than the cabinet it’s being installed in. Keep in mind, the depth of your sink determines how much under sink cabinet space you’ll have. If you don’t already have your cabinets chosen or installed, you can buy them based on the size of your sink.