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Farm Sinks

Updated on June 9, 2010

If you are looking for something to set your kitchen apart from every other kitchen in your neighborhood, then you might consider a farm sink.  This style of kitchen sink is sometimes called an apron sink or a farmhouse sink as well.  Basically, this is a basin that has the front of it exposed rather than hidden behind a cabinet.  The front or apron of the sink often extends out slightly further than the cabinets and looks to be resting on top of the cabinet underneath.  There is a wide variety of materials that can be used for farm sinks, and many different places to acquire them.  There are also several advantages to having this type of sink.

Characteristics of Farm Sinks

It is not only the exposed front that makes kitchen farm sinks unique.  There are several other characteristics that are common among apron sinks.  First, a traditional or authentic kitchen farm sink will have only one large basin.  It is a modern innovation to have sinks with multiple basins.  The reason for the one vessel was that people used the sink for a variety of activities that required lots of room like washing large pots or pans, canning, or bathing infants and small toddlers.  While it is not authentic, there are modern apron sinks that have two basins.

 Another characteristic is that the farm sink faucets are usually installed on the countertop behind the sink rather than part of the sink itself.  Many modern drop in sinks have the holes for the faucet and controls in them so that you do not need to worry about cutting the holes in the countertop.  With farm sinks, that is often not the case.

In addition, farm sinks are big.  They range in size because many of them are one of a kind pieces, but they can be as long as four feet and as deep as eighteen to twenty inches.  Most modern sinks are far less deep at only eight inches or so.  The large basins make it possible to do many more kinds of activities in the sink such as canning or bathing.

Finally, the farm sink is very heavy.  They are often made of one piece of material carved and worked into the shape of a sink rather than separate pieces put together.  As a result, there are no seems and less chanced for leaks to happen.  Because they are one solid piece of stone or ceramic, they are very heavy and therefore hard to transport or ship.  It is best to try to buy your farm sink locally to avoid expensive shipping costs.

Farm Sink Materials

Farm sinks can be made from a wide variety of materials.  Probably the most common material today is white porcelain, but they also come in copper, fire clay, stainless steel, stone, granite, and fiberglass.  The fiberglass farm sinks are the lightest option and the least authentic.  But their weight does make it easier to purchase them online and have them shipped to your home.  If the sink is made of a workable material like stone or fire clay then the apron can be ornately carved and decorative.  No matter what material you choose, the farm sink will be a beautiful addition to your kitchen.

Advantages of Farm Sinks

One of the main advantages of the kitchen farm sink is that it can be decorative as well as functional.  The apron front is visible.  Therefore, you can use the color and patterns on the sink materials as decorating elements.  For example, a copper farm sink can bring a touch of color to an otherwise drab kitchen.  You can then carry the color into your decorating in the rest of the kitchen or breakfast nook.  Another good example would be a stone farm sink with veins of color running through it that would be a great match for the Santa Fe breakfast nook which has breakfast nook seating with inlaid slate tiles with similar veins.

Another advantage would be the authentic and country feel they bring to any kitchen.  Just by installing this one item, you can turn an entire kitchen into an authentic farm kitchen.  They are extremely unique and no two farm sinks are exactly alike.

Where to Buy Farm Sinks

If you are interested in purchasing a farm sink then you have two choices.  You can look for a previously owned, authentic kitchen farm sink or buy a new one from a kitchen sink manufacturer.  If you want to find an old farm sink then you can look in a variety of places such as architectural salvage warehouse, garage sales, antique shops, or thrift stores.  Another good place to look for a farm sink, craigslist, is ideal because you can only look at sinks that are local.  Since kitchen farm sinks are so heavy, shipping them any distance is prohibitively expensive.  You want to shop locally for your farm sink.

Try to get a look at the sink in person if at all possible before agreeing to a purchase.  You want to make sure that there are no cracks or chips in the sink because that could open up the possibility for mold, bacteria, and additional damage to your sink.  Stains are not necessarily a problem because you can always refinish your kitchen farm sink later so that it looks as good as new.  If you choose to shop this way then you are probably going to spend around four hundred dollars for a farm house sink in average condition.

Buying from a modern sink company means that you will spend a lot more money, but you will be able to get modern conveniences like more than one basin.  Modern farm sinks also have more color and design options than traditional ones.

No matter where you buy your farm sink you might want to consider consulting a contractor when it comes time for farm sink installation.  These sinks are extremely heavy and you want to make sure that they are installed in such a way as to prevent damage to your cabinets and countertops.  Whether you consult a professional or not, make sure you measure carefully to make sure there will be room for your apron sink.  Make sure you not only measure the width and depth, but how far up any backdrops go up the wall behind the counter.  You do not want to find out that you cannot fit your farm sink under your window once you get it home.


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      Tera 4 years ago

      Depends on where the house is located. In the north, inoodr plumbing started to appear during the 1800 s, and was fairly standard by 1875, though it was earlier for people with the money to make the modifications. I considered buying a house built in the 1700 s that had the original inoodr plumbing connected to an artesian well in the basement. In the south, or in camps and summer homes, the plumbing was often added to the outside of the building because the danger of freezing was much less. Even here near the Canadian border, there were houses 60 years ago that still had no electricity and used outhouses. The first house I bought was build in the 1860 s with no inoodr plumbing except for a kitchen pump connected to a point well in the basement (fairly typical). There was an outhouse. Later, after electricity was installed (c 1910) part of a bedroom was converted to a bathroom and an electric pump installed to pump water from the well to the bath and kitchen. The kitchen hand pump remained until the 1960 s when the old man died and the kitchen was modernized.And, of course, the Romans had inoodr plumbing 2000 years ago and Medieval castles had inoodr water closets and well houses connected or incorporated into the building.