When farmhouse sinks began to see a revival way back in 2011, some contractors thought the trend wouldn’t last. Boy, were they ever wrong. Fast-forward to 2017 and you’ll find farmhouse sinks are more popular than ever. If the last six years have been any indication, farmhouse sinks will continue to be a mainstay in new kitchen builds and remodels throughout 2018.
Today homeowners have more farmhouse sink options than ever. Do you want stainless steel or copper? Cast iron or fireclay? Undermount or flush mount? Traditional fixtures or something modern for an added twist? The possibilities seem endless so today we’re breaking down the range of options in farmhouse sinks to help you choose the style that best fits your wants and needs.
Types of Farmhouse Sink Material
Technically, manufacturers use four types of material to make farmhouse sinks. We recommend (and will focus on) 3 of those options:
Cast Iron and Fireclay
The durability and style versatility of cast iron sinks make them the most popular choice for farmhouse sinks. Cast iron sinks are encased in a strong enamel coating that comes in a range of colors and doesn’t stain like acrylic coating. If cared for, cast iron sinks are sturdy enough to last through a lifetime or even generations of use.
Cast iron sinks do come with a few disadvantages. Perhaps the least appealing aspect of a cast iron sink is the cost--cast iron is one of the most expensive material options for sinks. Cast iron sinks are also heavy, which can make installation difficult and they may require additional undermounting for extra support. Chips can also occur in the enamel and if the chip runs down to bare iron, the iron will rust.
If you love the look and durability of a cast iron sink but hate the cost, a fireclay sink is your next best choice. Fireclay is a type of ceramic made with a clay-based material that has been fired in a kiln at an extremely high temperature. Fireclay is stronger than most ceramics thanks to the glaze fused to the clay during the firing process and it’s versatile in design.
Like other ceramics, fireclay can chip or scratch and pick up stains over time. Water staining is also an issue, although it’s one that can be avoided by wiping down the sink after each use. Still, fireclay is made to last for years and years of use.
Copper emerged as a new favorite during the farmhouse sink revival and continues rise in popularity. Advantages include it’s durability, easy maintenance, increase to home values, low risk of staining, and antibacterial nature. Plus, it comes in a variety of styles including embellished designs.
One downside to copper sinks is the purchase cost--they can range anywhere between $500-$1,500 in price. Copper also reacts quickly to substances which cause the material to darken. Copper sinks have a higher gauge which means they are thinner than other sinks and are more susceptible to warping or rusting. They can be difficult to install and copper goes through a stage in which the color becomes unbalanced resulting in the appearance of an uneven finish while the patina develops. Basically, copper sinks go through an ugly duckling phase before turning into their beautiful swan finish.
Of course, farmhouse sinks are now available in stainless steel options. The tried-and-true stainless steel is the most affordable material and comes with its own series of pros and cons. On the pro side, stainless steel sinks are easier to sterilize and clean with most polishing agents. The material is also forgiving with fragile pieces like fine china and glassware. Though stainless steel scratches easily, it doesn’t stain and the scratches will blend and become less noticeable over time.
The cons? Well, like we said, stainless steel scratches easily so there’s that. Certain chemicals can topically discolor stainless steel surfaces which takes a hefty amount of elbow grease to clean. Stainless steel sinks with no undercoating can sound “tinny” and sinks made with a lower nickel to chromium ratio dull easily. However, dullness can be avoided by purchasing sink with a 16 to 18 gauge.
Farmhouse sink options don’t stop with types of material. In part two of our farmhouse sink option series, we’ll take a look at other options such as color and type of installs. Stay tuned!
Want to know more about farmhouse sink prices? Call us for a free quote.