A copper sink is a distinctive and chic choice for a kitchen or bathroom. Copper sinks have natural qualities that make them ideal for kitchen use. Natural copper has antimicrobial properties, making them resistant to bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms.
A copper sink is an expensive choice, so it is important you evaluate all the angles to ensure that it is the best choice for your kitchen.
Material Qualities of a Copper Sink
Copper it is also durable, stands up to heavy use, and resists damage from impacts and scratches. Copper is also heat resistant, so copper kitchen sinks can withstand damage from hot pots and pans. Copper kitchen sinks will not corrode over time.
Look for a copper sink made of a high component of pure copper metal. Some high-end manufacturers choose to use 100% copper. Others add a small percentage of zinc as an alloying element to give the sink new properties. Zinc mixed with copper increases durability and strength. It also enhances the anti-corrosion properties.
The gauge metal you choose is another factor for consideration. Gauge corresponds to the thickness of the metal. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal. Make sure to select a kitchen copper sink that is either 12, 14, or 16-gauge metal. These are standard gauges for good quality copper kitchen sinks, though a copper bathroom sink is sometimes as high as 18 gauge.
Basin Configurations of Copper Sinks
Experts in the industry refer to the shape and arrangement of bowls in the sink as the basin configurations. Copper sinks are available in multiple basin arrangements and shapes.
Single basin sinks, copper and otherwise, have become one of the most popular for home kitchen design. These sinks feature one large basin. A single basin copper sink gives your kitchen a classic and traditional look. These are ideal for washing large sets of dishes and pots and pans.
Double basin sinks feature two separate areas. These have traditionally been one of the most popular sink configurations. Some double basin copper sinks feature different sized basins; others have basins with an equal split. Double basin sinks work well if you need separate compartments for food prep and clean-up.
Triple or Multiple Basin
Triple and multiple basin sinks feature three or more compartments. Most of these sinks feature two large basins on either side with a small basin in the middle. Multiple basin copper sinks work well if you need defined areas for your food prep. These sinks are large and take up extensive counter space.
Copper Sink Finishes
Manufacturers create copper sinks with a variety of finishes which help to determine the way the sink will age. It is also important to consider if a copper sink has any additional coating like epoxy or lacquer. These coatings help to protect the finish from scratches and stains and prevent the surface from coming into contact with moisture and air. This finish will slow down or stop the patina process.
- Natural – Natural finish copper sinks have an unpolished and unlacquered surface. The lack of lacquer means that the sink will develop a natural patina over time.
- Antique – Fabricators develop an antique finish copper sink by applying a chemical solution to the sink that accelerates the patina process. The aged finish gives the sink a dark and aged look.
- Satin – Satin finish copper sinks have a smooth, matte finish that manufacturers develop using a light sanding technique.
- Hammered – Hammered copper sinks have a dimpled appearance. Small hammers are used to create the small divots on the copper surface. Hammered copper sinks are popular in rustic and traditional style kitchens.
- Oil-Rubbed – Fabricators create oil-rubbed finish by applying a special oil to the sink’s surface and then polished and buffing it to a dark and smooth finish.
- Polished – Polished sinks have a high shine and glossy look. Many designers prefer the look of sleek polished copper sinks, but they are some of the most difficult to maintain.
Mount Styles for Copper Sinks
Copper sinks are a popular kitchen sink choice and work with every kind of countertop. Consider different installation methods before you purchase a specific copper sink to ensure that this method will work for your needs and counter/cabinet type.
Copper Farmhouse Sink
Farmhouse copper sinks have single basin configurations with an exposed front, or apron, with a rounded or flat profile. Like other farmhouse sinks, copper farmhouse sinks are also heavy but not as heavy as clay or cast iron farmhouse sinks. Farmhouse copper sinks will require extra structural support, but it is a good choice if you need a lighter option. A farmhouse copper sink is one of the most expensive varieties of copper sinks. The installation is also more difficult as you may need to change the configuration of your cabinets in front of the sink to accommodate the apron copper sink front.
Copper Undermount Sink
Undermount copper sinks are another option that has become a popular choice for home kitchens. Manufacturers configure this type of sink to fit underneath the counter. This leaves an exposed counter lip. Undermount copper sinks are popular with designers creating sleek and modern kitchens. This mounting style does not work well with wood countertops, as water can damage the exposed edge. Undermount copper sinks also require extra support to mount, but they are light compared to other sink varieties.
Copper Drop-in Sink
Copper drop-in sinks have a visible rim above the counter. This means that the sink gets added support from the countertop. A drop-in copper kitchen sink is easy for anyone to install as it just needs a rough-cut hole rather than the precisely measured opening that an undermount sink requires.
Copper Vessel Sink
A copper vessel sink sits on top of the countertop. This is not a practical sink style for a kitchen but a popular choice for bathrooms. This copper sink style is one of the most distinctive. Copper vessel sinks do not require a large hole cut in the countertops.
Copper Integrated Sink
Copper is a popular choice for sinks, but some people also use it as a counter material as well. Integrated copper sinks and countertops are molded together. This creates an attractive continuous line between countertops and the sink. This style works well for industrial style kitchens as there is no seam to trap food and debris.
Maintaining a Copper Sink
Maintaining a copper sink will preserve the finish of your copper sink and prolong its longevity.
- Clean on a regular basis – Wipe down the sink with a soft cloth or sponge and soapy water after each use. This will keep food particles from building up or staining the surface of the sink and spoiling the finish.
- Do not use abrasive cleaners – Do not use cleaners with heavy chemicals like chlorine bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide. This can damage the finish and cause discoloration. Coarse materials like abrasive powders or scouring pads will scratch the surface of copper sinks.
- Do use copper cleaning solutions – Cleaning solutions formulated for copper sinks are available at hardware and home improvement stores. These will clean, remove stains, and restore the shine of copper sinks.
- Remove tarnish – You can remove the tarnish from copper sinks with just a few products around your house. Apply a thin layer of ketchup to the sink. Rub in and rinse and polish dry. Do not leave ketchup sitting on the sink as this can damage the finish. You can also polish the sink with a paste of baking soda and water. Mix the baking soda with a few drops of water. Rub gently onto the sink, rinse, and dry.
- Apply wax – Some sinks have a natural finish and develop a patina over time. Other copper sinks have a lacquer that manufacturers apply in the factory. Apply a wax finish if you see the lacquer begin to wear away. Find a wax that manufacturers designate for copper sinks.
Cost of a Copper Sink
The cost of copper sinks range according to size, gauge, and style. The average price range for copper sinks is between $400-$1,000. You can find copper sinks as low as $125 and as high as several thousand. In general, small sinks are less expensive than large ones. Farmhouse copper sinks are the most expensive type and undermount sinks are the least expensive.
Pros and Cons of a Copper Sink
Copper sinks are an interesting and distinctive sink variety, but they will not work for everyone’s space. Here is a quick list of pros and cons to consider before you purchase a copper sink.
- Look – Gorgeous and unique material
- Durability – Strong material that resists stains, scratches, and dents
- Antibacterial – Resists bacteria that are common in food preparation
- Corrosion resistance – Resistant to corrosion to prolong the life of the sink
- Patina – Develops an attractive natural patina
- Easy maintenance – Easy to clean and maintain over time
- Recyclable – Copper is a recyclable material
- Variety – Wide variety of styles, basin configurations, and price points
- Cost – Copper sinks are expensive compared to some other varieties
- Ongoing maintenance – Maintenance for copper sinks is not difficult but requires constancy and specialized products
- Patina – Some people dislike the dark patina that develops on copper sinks
- Cohesion – Copper sinks will be a different material than other kitchen fixtures