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What to Look for in a Copper Sink

Updated on May 10, 2011

Everything old is new again, and this couldn't be more true than with regards to the modern copper sink. Whether it's renovating your old kitchen or building a brand-new kitchen and a new home, the popularity of copper sinks has been on the rise lately. Much of the popularity is due to the aesthetics of copper, and interestingly there are some functional aspects of copper sinks that you might not be aware of. For example the antimicrobial properties of copper make it a much more sanitary sink and any other material. In this article we'll take a quick look at a few of the things you should be considering if you're in the market to purchase a new copper sink.

Probably the most important thing you need to consider when buying a copper sink is the quality of the copper itself. With the growing popularity of copper sinks, we're seeing more and more of them arriving from Third World countries using recycled copper that may be of dubious origin. The last thing you want is for your new sink to be made of a combination of copper and lead... the same kind of lead dangers that exist in lead based paint floating around in your sink? Definitely doesn't sound like a good idea. Hopefully everyone is keenly aware of the potential dangers associated with that and will take all necessary precautions to stay away from it. What kind of precautions?

If your sink was manufactured in the US, the chances are very good that there is no lead in it. The same is most likely true for copper coming from Mexico. Nonetheless, it wouldn't hurt to ask for some kind of guarantee in writing that the copper used in your new sink is lead and mercury free.

The other thing that's worth keeping an eye on in regards to the quality issue is the gauge (or weight/thickness) of the copper used. I wouldn't recommend going with anything less than 16 gauge when talking about copper kitchen sinks, and 14 gauge would probably be better (the lower the number the thicker the metal). Going with the lighter gauge copper might be appealing when it comes to cost savings, but you run the risk of it denting more easily. It will also produce a much thinner, more tinny sound when the water hits the bowl. In fact, if your sink comes with “sound insulation”, it probably means that the copper being used is quite thin.

One more aspect that you made want to consider is the finish on your new sink. This can range anywhere from bright and shiny like a brand-new penny too much darker, smokier patina look right from the start. Most copper will develop this patina over time... but many people prefer to have that mature, aged look right away. In fact, the character that patina brings to copper is often referred to as “the soul” of copper. Additionally, you'll need to decide if you like a smooth finish or if you prefer the look of hammered copper. One of the benefits of hammered copper sinks, no matter whether you're talking about a copper bar sink, bathroom sink, a vessel sink or a copper farmhouse sink, is that minor scratches, dents and dings really aren't noticeable. This is not the case with a brand-new, smooth copper finish.  Again though, it's just a personal choice.

Varieties of Copper Sinks from Mexico

Copper Sinks Always Look Good

So as you can clearly see, you have a lot of different variables to consider when making your purchase decision for your new copper sink. With the exception of the first point made above regarding the possibility of lead content in a copper, the rest is really just details. Of course you want to make sure you're buying something with quality construction and accurate dimensions to fit your space, but beyond that it is largely a case of personal preference. Personally, I have yet to see a copper sink not look good... so you got that going for you.


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      Ceramic Sink 8 years ago

      Great hub about copper sinks - they really are beautiful.