All About Farmhouse Sinks
First-time homeowners often feel like they have an uphill battle ahead of them, especially when it comes to home repairs and updates. Luckily, there are plenty of useful “tricks of the trade” to help keep your home projects on track and on budget. Check out some of our tried-and-true reviews and hacks for new homeowners.
What are farmhouse style sinks?
How to Choose the Right Farmhouse Style Sink
New or Used Second Hand Farmhouse Sinks
Choosing the Right Materials: Copper Farmhouse Sinks
How to Install a Farmhouse Sink
One Basin or Two Basin Sinks
Mounting Farmhouse Sinks
Caulking and Sealing Your Sink
Cleaning Your Fireclay Farmhouse or Copper Farmhouse Sink
When it comes to making a house feel like a home, one of the most critical factors is often overlooked by first-time homebuyers: the kitchen sink. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the quality and look of your kitchen sink can make a dramatic difference in how welcoming your home feels. Kitchen sinks also set the stage for the kitchen’s style, and the look-and-feel of the kitchen often spreads naturally to other rooms. Thinking through the type, style, and size of kitchen sink you put in your new home can save you remodeling headaches five or 10 years down the road.
One particularly classic style of sink is the farmhouse style. This time-tested style, which is marked by an exposed apron front, is great if you are repairing or remodeling your kitchen. Farmhouse-style sinks are what most people imagine when they think of large kitchen sinks, and it’s one of the most popular sink designs around for good reason: they typically offer a large surface area with plenty of space for dishes and food prep, and with a high-quality sink, they are incredibly durable and retain their style and appeal for decades.
What are Farmhouse Style sinks?
First, what are farmhouse-style sinks? Farmhouse-style sinks are very popular right now. They are marked by the distinct exposed front surface, which is called an “apron front” designed. Most farmhouse sinks are single bowl, but you can certainly find farmhouse-style sinks in a two-basin design. Many families love farmhouse sinks because of their depth: the steep sides offer plenty of space for soaking, cleaning, and food prep, and the deep-set basin offers a bit of visual reprieve from seeing a sink full of dirty dishes. The ample space and deep walls are particularly great if you and your family eat at home often and go through a lot of dishes. It’s especially beneficial if you entertain regularly and have a lot of cleanup to do after your guests leave. The extra space is often the favorite feature for many different reasons in many different homes!
Another factor that makes farmhouse-style sinks so popular is that the style has classic charm and appeal that has remained consistently popular for decades. Recently, the farmhouse style has shot back up in popularity because of recent farmhouse interior design trends, but the sink has been a consistently popular choice for families across the country in homes with varied styles. Farmhouse sinks are incredibly versatile, and they look equally great in homes that keep an antique style as they do in modern homes-this is part of why they make a great choice for your home. Farmhouse style sinks can be used in the kitchen as well as the bathroom, and if you’re of home with additional sink spaces, farmhouse style sinks look fantastic in laundry rooms and exterior gardening spaces.
How to Choose the Right Sink for your Kitchen
There are a few basic things you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing a farmhouse sink. First and foremost, keep in mind the basic layout of your kitchen. Farmhouse sinks do require specific types of installation due to their size and their weight-you may need to make several basic modifications to your existing kitchen counters to accommodate a farmhouse style kitchen, but it’s worth the effort! Here are a few quick items that will need to be considered when looking at farmhouse style sinks for your existing kitchen design:
- The countertops may need to be modified to fit the sink, and the counter must be able to support the weight and depth of the farmhouse style sink. It’s vital that you measure before you start instead of when you’ve already bought the sink to ensure you can accommodate the farmhouse sink.
- Materials matter. There are many different types of materials you can choose from when you decide on a farmhouse sink. Some people choose ceramic, some people opt for fireclay, and others choose cast-iron (word of caution on cast-iron sinks: this material makes farmhouse sinks even heavier than average and is often too much for most kitchen counters to handle without special reinforcements).
- Remember to put some thought into the apron front of the sink. Apron-front styles often hang slightly over the kitchen counter. Again, this may require basic modifications, but it’s essential to make the correct modifications before you install your sink-rather than try to fix an improper installation later.
New or Not
You don’t always have to purchase a brand-new kitchen sink. There are plenty of used sinks available that are still in great condition if you know where to look. For example, auctions and other home demolitions where parts get sold off in great condition are creative places to explore options for buying a used sink. Sometimes you can also check out your local pawn shops for good deals-and you might pick up a classic that fits perfectly with the overall style of your home. If not, your general contractor might be able to offer you some advice on where you can find the right model. You can also ask your local hardware store for advice.
Properties of Materials
As we mentioned previously, there are several options when it comes to choosing the material of your new farmhouse kitchen sink. Two recommended materials include copper and fireclay. These materials will last for decades-they are high-quality materials-and yet they do not put exceptional weight requirements on your kitchen counters. In fact, both of these materials can often be used with existing designs. They’re also easy to clean, meaning that it’ll save a lot of effort and time-and every busy household can use more time! Copper is a popular material for sinks for the same reasons people use it for cookware: copper is a material known for conducting heat extremely well, and if copper is taken care of and cleaned properly-and wiped dry after every use-it can last for a long time without stains or damage. Copper is also a very naturally clean material-there are very few germs that will take root on copper materials, making it a great option for homes that highly value chef-level cleanliness. On the other hand, fireclay is an increasingly common selection. Fireclay is named after its ability to withstand incredibly high temperatures, and fireclay is a material that gets more and more durable the more it is subjected to heat. Like copper, there are very few germs that will grow on fireclay, meaning that you can trust it to be clean-this includes from mold, which can easily become a huge problem in a kitchen once it takes root. Fireclay sinks make mold and germs unlikely, and they don’t wear as easily as other materials. They’re also not as prone to staining as long as you give it a proper wipe to dry after every use.
One Basin or Two
Part of the kitchen sink design process will require a decision between one basin or two (often called single bowl and double bowl designs). Most people go for the standard one-basin, but if your kitchen can accommodate a double basin, this style offers a lot of space and it can be nice to separate dirty dishes from clean ones. Double bowls allow you to use one basin for washing and the other for rinsing. Did you know that most people who have stomach issues without a seeming cause can properly trace it down to not rinsing the soap off their dishes properly? It’s up to personal preference, and there’s nothing wrong with a one-basin sink – but a double basin can prove to make navigating your kitchen easier.
Installing Farmhouse Sinks
Once you’ve decided that you’re happy with your choice of a farmhouse sink, then there are some things to think about when it’s time to install one in your home. Here are some tips on how to make the job easier for you. When in doubt, remember to turn to a professional for help.
One of the most important factors in selecting your kitchen sink is ensuring that the style and look you choose will match your countertops. Fireclay is often easy to add into existing designs, while copper can be a striking addition to a home. The second thing that you will have to think about is more about is not just the look of the countertop, but also about the weight: can the material and structure of your countertop support the weight of a farmhouse sink? Remember that you’ll also have to account for the extra weight when the sink is filled up with dishes and water!
Deciding Placement of your sink
Placing your farmhouse sink requires a few important considerations, not just the visual appeal and flow of your kitchen. Farmhouse sinks are much heavier than other styles of sinks, which means you might have to make some modifications to your existing countertops to accommodate the size. Just as important to remember is to make sure that you have enough space to move around-nothing will drive you crazier than having a sink that you constantly bump into or cuts off your food prep space. When you’re deciding placement, measure the sink that you want to install (remember to account for edges and corners, too!) and measure the countertop to make sure it’ll fit.
Speaking of measuring, there’s very good reason that professionals remind new DIYers to “measure twice, cut once”-and it applies to pretty much every single thing you do within the scope of fixing or installing anything in your home. Ensure that measurements are done properly and accurately the first time around, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the long run. It’s also a good idea to get a water level tool to ensure that you’re cutting and measuring with even surfaces. Finally, try to stop here and there during the installation process to make sure that you haven’t veered off track or away from your measurements. A simple pencil is enough to make small marks to guide your measurements and cutting tools. And, of course, always be careful when you’re working with power tools. Again, we recommend calling in a professional or someone who has years of experience if feel unsure about how to properly install a new sink or modify your kitchen.
Due to their size and added weight, farmhouse sinks have to be mounted properly, and you’ll have to ensure that proper under-sink bracing is installed to keep the sink in the same place for years to come. This is where you might need a little help, especially when it comes to setting up the sink itself. If you need help with this, hire a professional, certified contractor to help you instead of trying to learn on the job while you do it yourself.
Sealing the Sink
You should always remember that you don’t just need to install the sink-it’s also vitally important that you seal the sink properly. There are plenty of products available to seal the sink once you’re done, and your local hardware store should be able to make a recommendation on what’s best. Silicone is one of the commonly used materials, though it tends to need reapplication every couple of years.
Sealing your sink properly ensures that you don’t have any leaking into the cupboards under the sink, and sealing your sink properly also ensures that you don’t have the start of any mold growth over the years which is a nightmare to get rid of once mold growth has started.
Cleaning the Sink (Copper and Fireclay)
You’ll have to ensure you clean your sink properly after every use if you want it to last a long time and avoid mildew and water spots appearing on your sink. This is especially true for copper. Of course, between copper and fireclay farmhouse sinks you’ll want to take special precautions for each.
You should clean your fireclay sink regularly with some dishwashing liquid after every use. You can even use lemon juice or salt. After you cleanse the surface of your sink, rinse it out properly and ensure that you get all of the water off-it can cause spots and stains-with a dry cloth. You also want to avoid hard and rough materials on fireclay. Baking soda is a great option for a mild polish to remove sticky messes and light stains. You can also wax fireclay after cleaning it for a beautiful finish.
Copper is a very durable material if you’re able to take care of it properly. Of course, you should start off by avoiding any hard scrubbing, and like with clay, make sure that you wipe the sink completely dry to avoid any remaining water droplets that can stain the copper. If and when you need to clean anything tough off copper, there’s nothing better than a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt. This can even get some staining off; just remember to use a non-abrasive cloth to not disrupt the naturally evolving surface of copper, called the patina.