Copper Kitchen Sinks: Everything That You Need to Know
Copper is one of the traditional construction materials used in the kitchen; it is in use for cookware and kitchen sinks. This indicates that copper kitchen sinks reviews are very well agreed upon. Although an ancient metal, kitchen copper sink is like a modern twist for any kitchen.
This pretty metal makes a stylish statement when used for kitchen sinks and reflects a distinct finish over time because of its reactive quality. It is truly a readily available metal of excellence, quality, and class.
Today, copper kitchen sinks are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and shapes, enabling themselves to deliver a uniquely traditional but pretty touch to a kitchen of any style. They come with several benefits that any other material really cannot offer.
The Best Copper Sinks of 2017
33 x 22 x 9 inches
33.2 x 22.2 x 9.9 inches
33 x 22 x 9 inches
33.2 x 22.2 x 9.9 inches
Copper Sink Pros and Cons
Apart from that distinctly radiating look and rich feel, copper comes with many more advantages. Of all, the most astonishing one is its contrastingly boosting look with age. It shows up increased quality with its passing age due to which it is more likely to look better after some years of installation, instead of losing the good look.
Did you know that the metal is a natural anti-bacterial agent? Yes, it fights against bacteria. It is also resistant to stains as well as discoloration. When used in sinks, it easily aids in keeping it clean and healthy while those glasses and plates are vulnerable to growing bacteria in the sinks. This means the metal protects from the risk factors that form within the sinks, which is a raving benefit.
Another great benefit is sustainability. This metal is completely recyclable. It can be shaped, forged, and melted several times. The premium scrap copper is just available at 5% less rate than the actual price of mined one. This means you can always alter the shape of the existing sinks and make it look new even after a few years without buying a new one.
It is believed that up to 90% of all the copper even mined since the ancient time is in use even today. Contrary to what is commonly believed, no structural difference exists between mined and recycled copper. This is because it is recyclable without losing any chemical or physical properties.
Although strong, this metal is easy to shape. This gives a variety of sinks including the big and deep ones. Depending on the thickness or gauge, this metal can survive for several years. As a rule of thumb, the more the thickness, the higher is the sink’s durability.
Otherwise, thinner sinks shall dent, warp, and scratch with time. Because it’s malleable and not as tough as natural stones, delicate dishes do not break easily if put into a copper sink.
However, the finish and natural patina of this metal are highly susceptible to abrasive cleaners, hot crockery, and acidic liquids. Even the maintenance it demands is a bit more than steel or other sinks. What’s more, you have to scrub it a bit more frequently than other sinks.
Another limitation is that a copper kitchen sink is costly, which means it’s not for all. The pieces can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, which means you should be ready to put so many dollars in it. However, this does not mean that you are forced to buy a cheaper one while sacrificing quality. It’s not worthy to hold back on quality; as such a cheaper one can lose its strength and shine with time.
Kitchens with copper sinks do not look appealing just because you chose shining models. There’s a lot more to consider for it, such as functionality, durability, quality, sink type, and finish or patina type. These are perhaps the factors that help you take a quick but right buying decision. So, let’s explore them out now!
It’s a fact that quality tends to vary between two items designed in a single store. So, for measuring quality, a grading system is usually implemented for those items. This is also applicable for copper, which sorts them as per the quality grade. The grading system includes three primary factors that help in distinguishing the quality of various models, which are purity, gauge, and construction technique. These factors help in analyzing the quality of sinks.
Copper is amongst the rare elements that are naturally available in pure form. Kitchen copper sinks are usually composed of 99% pure copper and 1% zinc included for integrity as well as potency, which is actually an alloy. Such alloys might also include lead to form sinks, which is often the case in China, India, and the Middle East. Lead has similar qualities and is economical but is risky for humans due to which it should not be used.
The metal’s thickness while designing hand hammered copper sinks differs significantly between brands. It’s soft by nature but its thickness tends to affect the wear and tear over time, quite significantly. This is a vital aspect for those sinks that are under a regular barrage of cleaning products and pots.
Gauge is measured as the weight per square foot. The thicker the gauge, the lower is that weight. The majority of kitchen and hammered copper farmhouse sink are in the range of 14 to 18 gauge. This means copper farmhouse sinks are thicker. 14 indicates thickest, while 20 indicates the thinnest gauge.
Although a thicker gauge sink is costlier but is worthy of that much money for the level of durability it offers. A lighter gauge sink tends to emit a sharp sound when water from the faucet falls on its surface. This is why lower quality models are insulated with foam blocks for diminishing that sound. Such thin and light models also dent more easily, which is not acceptable for farmhouse copper sink.
Construction Technique: Smooth versus Hammered
Smooth sinks are usually produced in bulk with a press on the machine. This is why they have a perfect shape. On the other hand, hammered copper sink is created one by one and come with a textured surface that a specific hammering technique produces with hand.
Well-made sinks are always shaped properly. Although hammered copper kitchen sink is not perfectly shaped, it certainly should not have out of round or out-of-square corners. The hammered texture boosts both beauty and character as well as strengthens the surface to mask those small marks due to daily use. The American fabricators have focused significantly on big, smooth kitchen sinks rather than the hammered ones.
To choose between the two, you should consider your lifestyle and preference for style for an existing decor. Lifestyle wise, you should consider whether the sink is for heavy use by cooks or just by occasional users such as kids.
Smooth sinks are a bit tough to sustain in a busy area and are likely to show scratches and dings. This has no significance in a commercial kitchen because functionality is everything here. However, in a home kitchen, appearance is significant due to which more sustainable copper hammered sink can be a better choice. Hammering has a hardening impact on the metal, which is responsible for a more durable surface.
In terms of style, a smooth sink comes with modern style appeal, while a hammered one renders a warm appeal that suits well to traditional, eclectic, rustic, and contemporary décor.
Construction also considers the welding technique, ease of installation, and suitable dimensions. While considering models with welded seams, ensure that they are TIG welded or else the seams shall leak. Similarly, ensure that the sink you choose has proper drain hole such that it does not create any unwanted gap.
Usually, the apron sinks are formed by welding separate elements together instead of from a single sheet. Just ensure that the quality of these parts is good, which means that they are smooth and possess good contact with each other. Do also check the quality of interior corners and edges of copper kitchens sinks to make sure that they do not have any rough regions and burs.
Installation or Mounting Style
Usually, there are three primary types namely, copper bathroom sink, kitchen, and prep sink. Just like sinks constructed using other materials, those with copper come with a variety of mounting or installation styles. While a few coincide between a kitchen and a bath, some are distinct to a specific room. Here are the mounting styles to consider.
- Drop-in: A drop-in sink simply drops into a precut hole such that the protruding area at its edge or the rim sits atop the counter. Such a model is ideal for DIYs or Do-It-Yourselfers because it’s swift and effortless way to update the kitchen sink on a budget. The rim keeps the sink in proper position and averts it from going through the cutout. This is why the rims are a bit beveled or are rounded.
- Undermount: A copper undermount sink resides beneath the countertop’s surface. Flexible and edgeless, this style of mounting gives an upscale appearance and ensures easier cleaning. Undermount copper sink comes with a flat rim that allows the sink to flush beneath the countertop’s surface, leaving no gaps in between. They are usually preferred for solid countertops, such as those of quartz and granite.
- Vessel: A copper vessel sink resides totally above the countertop without the need for any countertop cutouts except for a hole for water drainage. It’s also known as copper bowl sink, as it boasts a bowl like shape. Copper vessel sinks offer a modern look while retaining the traditional charm.
- Apron: A hammered copper apron sink features a big front to remove the countertop between the sink and you, which means reduced straining and leaning. There is also reduced splash back as you work. The sink’s front part features an ornamental apron panel exposed and residing in front of the countertop edge while the rest part of the sink is either dropped in or under mounted. This is why the countertop and cabinetry should be particularly fabricated for inviting a copper apron front sink. Such sinks have stunningly vintage feel with the modern build and ergonomic design. They are also called farmhouse sink copper, as they were widely used in old farmhouse kitchens. Copper farmers sink has both functionality and aesthetic appeal. They are quite deep and wide enough to allow washing even small dogs and big stock pots. You can easily maintain them but they get more beautiful as they age. You can read our copper farmhouse sink reviews here.
Patina and Finish
It’s vital to comprehend patina while selecting a copper sink kitchen. Most of us do not expect the natural coloration shifts taking place due to patina, which can put them off.
The metal tends to change constantly as per the environment to which it is exposed to. In the case of exposure to oxygen, it develops oxidation or patina. Patina is a natural phenomenon that results in the development of a protective coating for the metal.
It is generally deep and warm brown that seems to darken with time, starting with caramel hues. In case the metal is exposed to acids or salt, it turns green. If you properly clean and care for the sink, green oxidation shall never take place.
However, a few acidic or harsh ingredients shall remove the patina and restore a bright shine. Nevertheless, it will continue to heal on its own through the process of re-patina with time, rendering itself as a rich coppery mix of light and dark tones.
So now, when patina stripping occurs, consider it as a completely normal process. Sit back and relax until the process is over. Before you buy the sink, make sure you understand how it can react to different harsh substances outside, so that you do not feel bad for what you selected.
Copper is also available in different finishes, ranging right from bright shiny to the espresso color (developed as patina). While the finish you select is based on personal taste and kitchen décor, a darker patina prevents the necessary upkeep linked to shiny copper.
Just keep in mind that the metal’s finish is an active one that keeps changing its color. Further, the change in patina in terms of rich undertones and highlights is going to be visible in sinks that are exposed regularly to acidic or salty foods.
The most surprising thing to know is that even patina can lighten when a few chemicals, acidic foods, and highly salty water sit on the sink’s surface. However, this does not ruin it at all but that lighten patina will tend to darken again.
If you do not want the patina to get lightened, you need to apply a protective coating of appropriate wax regularly. Wax protects the finish of your sink by offering a hurdle between the environment and the metal.
It is also important to know what leads to darker patinas to judge the quality factor. In a few nations, caustic, harmful chemicals are common ingredients. In the US and Mexico, heat is used with safe, reactive agents for the same.
Some nations also use lacquer for protecting the sink and keep natural patina formation at bay. Usually, many people go for a non-lacquered sink, as it allows patina to occur naturally as well as evenly. Lacquer finish is not suggested, as it will swiftly scratch off in the case of heavy use.
While patina is a natural shift occurring with time, there are some other finishes to consider for your sink.
- Aged: This finish involves a coat of warm and vibrant aged copper all over the patina. It ensures a more consistent look, less upkeep, as well as durability.
- Naked: This is the finest and rawest finish that allows selecting upkeep: let it have patina for minimal upkeep or retain is polished to retain the luster.
- Antique: This finish is a medium to light antique tone for long-term care. It gives a classic look and is ideal for kitchen and prep sinks.
- Verde: This is exclusive finish bringing vintage beauty to your home and is applied to a bare interior.
Copper kitchen sinks are perfect for traditional as well as contemporary homes wherein introducing an old world beauty is preferred with a fresh twist. This metal has versatile ability to gel with other construction materials such as stone and wood for forming a naturally welcoming space. Regardless of the kind of sink you end up selecting, just ensure it is not cheaper in terms of looks and functionality. If you bring in such a sink, you are certainly assured of more shine to the kitchen, which you and your guests are bound to adore.