Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide
Copper Sinks – when you say copper sinks you might think of an old brown and green bowl sitting on a vanity in the old west before there was plumbing; however, copper sinks today are much different than they were way back when, they are a beautiful statement piece to any kitchen design or bathroom remodel. They’re link shiny red-brown chameleons – constantly changing and always stunning to look at and watch change over time. There are many reasons why you might want to add a copper sink to your kitchen design or bathroom remodel; it could be their unique and diverse style or their ability to be antimicrobial. Whatever the reason for your consideration of a copper sink, there is no denying that it will be the talking point of your guests around the dining room table.
Properties of Copper Sinks
Copper sinks are as unique as they come, in both style and function. When seeking copper sinks you should look for sinks that are 99% pure copper, preferably with that remaining 1% being zinc, which will add to it’s strength. Do be warned that when ordering copper sinks from China, India, or the Middle East as lead can be used as a filler because it has similar workability to copper and is inexpensive. Lead is also harmful to humans – so be cautious when ordering outside of the United States.
Copper is an extremely soft metal which means that it can be shaped and hammered into different designs to turn an average bowl into a stunning masterpiece!
Copper Sinks: Mount & Style
Like any other sink, copper sinks also come in a variety of styles and mounts. They can be unadorned or extremely elaborate – it all just depends on what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend. Sink mounts refer to how the sink is installed and will look on the countertop, while style generally refers to the finish of the product.
Decorative sinks tend to be more ornate and have intricate designs either hammered or stamped into the metal. They are extremely elegant and with the reactive and changing nature of copper sinks they will always look a little different the next copper sink! Farmhouse, is the kind of mount, and is not unique to copper sinks. Farmhouse mounted sink are also called an apron mount where the front of the sink is exposed or overhangs from the the cabinets below it. Farmhouse is a great look and feel to go for with more country, or traditional style kitchens. Now, just because these two are listed together doesn’t mean that’s how all copper sinks are. You can most certainly get a decorative sink with a different mount or just a plain farmhouse mount with no decoration.
Hammered, Drop In
Hammered sinks are less ornate than more decorative style sinks, however they’re more unique than plain or brushed finish copper sinks. Hammered sinks give a faceted look to a shiny sink that has little patina to it, like you’re washing dishes in an amber bowl. When your sink has a more patina’d look to it, it makes the bowl appear more rustic and handmade – craftsmanship like. Drop In sinks are more common because their weight is what largely keeps them in place on the counter top, and thus are really easy to install.
Brushed, Under Mount
A copper sink – with little else to it will be eye catching, so if you’re wanting something more simple than what else can be seen on here then looking towards a brushed finish is a simple and understated, yet still elegant solution. Under mount sinks are beautiful because the countertop sits directly above them, giving the space a more modern and seamless look.
There are different kinds of finishes, the kind that I am referencing here are copper sinks that have something other than a wax or sealant to finish them, such as glass or acrylic. The bonus to this is that the copper will stay in all it’s original, shiny, beautiful, glory – if you can’t stand slight inconsistencies or change in your sink finish then this is the way to go! A vessel mount sink appears to be a simple bowl sitting atop your vanity or countertop. These are decorative of themselves and make great statement pieces without needing any kind of finish! Vessel sinks come in many different shapes and styles. If you want a unique looking sink that goes beyond just copper, vessel sinks are as unique and as out there as you can get!
Pros & Cons of Copper Sinks
Everything in this world has its ups and downs. When it comes to sinks it just depends on what you want, and how much you can spend. If antimicrobial properties are important to you then you’re only bet is copper.
- They’re beautiful: It’s that simple. Copper sinks are some of the most beautiful and unique! The fact that they’re made from one sheet with no seams also makes them like works of art. They can be hammered and shaped to almost any dimension. Copper sinks do form a patina as they’re exposed to water and air, so if you love the original color you can have it coated to preserve it’s beauty. If you like their reactivity, the ever changing color and patina of copper sinks are just a bonus to their beauty. This goes beyond copper sinks being beautiful, they literally have countless combinations of finish and style. Some look like regular sinks and others look like works of art!
- They’re antimicrobial: This unique property of copper sinks makes them favorable for kitchens, while bacteria can live on many sinks surfaces for weeks at a time, bacteria on copper sinks can only last a matter of hours. However, the EPA states that you shouldn’t coat (paint, lacquer, varnish, wax, etc.) your copper sinks if you wish to keep the antimicrobial nature if the metal.
- Copper is 100% recyclable: Copper retains 95% of it’s original value when being sold after recycling. In fact, it’s likely that the copper sink that you’re getting is already made from previously recycled copper.
- They’re durable: Depending on the gauge (thickness) of copper that your sink comes in will definitely affect its durability, the thicker the copper the less likely to dent it will be. Copper sinks are resistant to corrosion and rust, making it an ideal choice for a sink material.
- They’re highly reactive: If you want your copper sinks to maintain their color you’ll need to coat them – which will rid of you of the antimicrobial properties of the metal as well. Acidic foods and drinks, abrasive cleaners, and extremely hot or cold cookware can change the color of your sink, darkening it and leaving odd colored spots. Granted, as the patina darkens everything will become more uniform as time progresses. However, unless they’re sealed periodically it is extremely hard to maintain a copper sinks original shine.
- They’re expensive: More than just being an expensive choice for a sink, they’re also expensive to repair. Copper is a very soft and malleable metal, so it can be easily dented and warped, meaning that you’ll likely need to repair it more often than other sink materials. Keep in mind that thinner gauge copper sinks will dent more easily than thicker gauge copper sinks.
- They need more maintenance: To keep it’s shine and finish in tact for as long as possible you should dry the sink with a soft towel after every use and you should be careful with what products you use to clean it as some more acidic cleaners can discolor your sink. Warm water and gentle soap is usually all it takes.
When all is said and done choosing the right sink for you is up to you, however, we hope, that in considering copper sinks for your next kitchen design or bathroom remodel that we’ve provided you with the necessary information to decide if a copper sink is right for your home and family! They’re stunning and unique pieces with equally unique properties that make them ideal in any kitchen! Now that you know something about copper sinks, if you think that you’re ready to shop around you can view our copper sink selection on our website!
Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written By: Kat Flaherty