9 Tips for First-Time Farmhouse Sink Buyers

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Flickr Commons image via LuminaryPhotoProject

Farmhouse style sinks may be all the rage but if you are new to this timeless show stopper there are a number of things you may need to think about before finalizing a purchase for your kitchen.

In this article I'll cover nine farmhouse sink buying tips for first time buyers.

For the sake of organization we have separated the tips into categories of aesthetic and practical tips in no particular order of importance.

If you're looking to shop for a sink, perhaps to re-do a kitchen, checkout our farmhouse sink roundup here.

Aesthetic Tips

1. Consider Style and Scale

One of the biggest draws of the farmhouse sink is the classic look of a big apron front as the focal point in the kitchen.

With that in mind it's important to consider the style and size of the rest of your kitchen. Do you prefer a minimalist look or more of a French country style? Are you drawn to metals, stone and natural looking materials or the crisp, clean look of  white? 

Determining your own style can lead you in the direction of a sink that will look best in your kitchen.

Also, be sure to take into consideration how big your kitchen is. And while farmhouse sinks aren't only for those with a huge kitchen, it's crucial to buy a sink that works in your space and doesn't end up dwarfing other appliances. Farmhouse sinks come in a range of styles from 20-60 inches which provides ample size options for most residential kitchens.

2. Check Apron Front Thickness

A classic feature of most farmhouse sinks is the big, broad apron front that extends down the face of the cabinets in front of the sink.

There are lots of styles of apron front including etched designs and pleats or the ever-popular flat front. Choosing front style for your farmhouse sink isn't the only consideration however. Different sinks protrude out from the surface of the cabinetry to different widths.

In general, 1/4-1/2 an inch of additional width is considered industry standard but some prefer a thicker front or one that is flush with the cabinetry on either side of the sink. Both of these options are acceptable but it is best to measure and remeasure and also check in with a kitchen design specialist to make sure your sink will look the way you imagine it. If you have cabinet doors or drawers underneath the sink be sure to allow enough clearance for them to open without interfering with the apron front.

3. Choose Materials Carefully

From the classic porcelain sink (which is usually a porcelain coating encasing a cast iron sink) to fireclay, stainless steel, copper and even cement, there are many types of materials to choose from.

Each of these different materials will have a slightly different look and will "fit" differently in your kitchen.

For example, if you love the look of a clean, bright kitchen you may want to avoid copper which will form a patina quickly and have a much more organic, aged look than some other materials. If you have kids but hate the thought of fingerprints think twice before installing a stainless steel sink which will show every smudge and water spot. And if your kitchen has a lot of pattern and color you may decide a contrasting white looks best with the rest of your scheme.

Practical Tips

4. Consider DUrability Requirements (kitchen Use)

The implications of farmhouse sink materials goes beyond looks, and can have a lot to say about the durability of your sink.

For example, a copper sink has natural antibacterial properties to help keep your kitchen clean. If you love the look of copper (even when the patina has set in) and are particularly concerned with microbes in your sink, copper is an excellent choice.

If your kitchen is used a lot, stainless steel should be your go-to material for its strength and ability to handle abuse. 

If you love all things classic and don't anticipate putting your sink through a ton of heavy work, a porcelain sink may be just right. Porcelain looks great even though it can chip. And if you are blessed with a large budget and want the "wow" factor while getting a sturdy sink to last a lifetime, marble or fireclay (the gold standard of farmhouse sinks) could be the right for your kitchen.

5. Leave Enough Space Around the Sink

Farmhouse sinks are usually undermount sinks and as such don't come with pre-cut openings for faucets and soap dispensers as drop-in sinks do. This makes it imperative that you leave enough space behind the sink to install a faucet.

Typically only a couple of inches are necessary but this is another great place for a design expert or contractor to weigh in just to be sure, especially if you are planning to do the installation yourself.

More: How much distance should you leave behind a kitchen sink for a faucet?

6. Be Sure to Support the Weight of the Sink 

Farmhouse sinks are much heavier than other sinks. Because the weight is all underneath the sink, making sure the space beneath the sink can support its weight is absolutely crucial.

Right Supporting Beam

A supporting beam underneath a farmhouse sink.

An empty farmhouse sink can weigh as much as 150 lbs. which doesn't account for any added water. We strongly recommend installing the sink using an under mount kit which will provide the support you need to be sure the sink isn't going to give out.

More: How much does a typical kitchen sink weigh?

7. Double Check the Space Underneath the Sink

Some farmhouse sinks can measure with a lot of depth once they are installed, meaning the cabinet space under the sink may be severely reduced. Take care to double check the space under the sink and measure the sink itself to be sure it will fit and will still give you the space you need in that cabinet.

8. Choose a Single or Double Basin Sink 

Double Basin Farmhouse Sink

Farmhouse sinks come in single or double basin styles and there are pros and cons to both.

Some double basin sinks even come with a built in drying rack which not only gives the added functionality of a place to dry dishes, but lends a vintage charm to your sink. Many people who prefer a large single basin sink like the space it provides to wash big pots and pans or prep food on a large scale.

Those who choose a double basin sink may want to reserve a portion of the sink for a garbage disposal or a drying rack as mentioned above. Whatever you decide, be sure and think through how you use your kitchen before making the call.

9. Avoid Broken Dishes

Perhaps the most overlooked "side effect" of a farmhouse sink is an increase in broken dishes. The sink is suddenly deeper and made of very hard material and the occasional stem wear that falls to the bottom is less likely to survive the descent. That said, we still think a farmhouse sink is well worth the risk, but tweaking some dish washing techniques or habits of handling dishware in the kitchen is a smart idea.

Conclusion

There is a lot to think about when shopping for a farmhouse sink.

Doing careful research and considering your lifestyle and preferences will go a long way in making sure you are happy with the sink you choose. Practical issues of owning a farmhouse sink as well as the aesthetic style of your home are both critical aspects to making the best choice possible.

We hope these tips are helpful in your search for a show stopping farmhouse sink.

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