What are Farmhouse Sinks?

Oseye Boyd
Written by Oseye Boyd
Updated September 9, 2016
farmhouse kitchen sink
A farmhouse sink not only looks good but is practical for washing large pots, pans and baking sheets. (Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Kohler/Michael Huibregtse)

Although farmhouse sinks aren't needed to store water in homes without plumbing, the sinks are convenient for washing large dishes and add rustic charm.

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The saying “everything old is new again” holds true for farmhouse sinks as homeowners looking for convenience and variety turn to the large sinks.

No longer needed to store water for homes that lacked plumbing, farmhouse sinks offer the ability to place large pots, pans and baking sheets into the sink — something almost impossible to do in a conventional double-basin sink.

Farmhouse sink materials

Materials used to make farmhouse kitchen sinks run the gamut—from porcelain to concrete to deep copper sinks—to match with any décor and design style. Porcelain or fireclay farmhouse sinks work well with in a cottage- or rustic-inspired kitchen, while stainless steel adds a contemporary touch. Other material options include soapstone, enameled cast iron and acrylic.

Farmhouse sink size

Because the front of the sink is visible, farmhouse sinks also are called apron sinks. The visible apron means the sink meets most people at the stomach, eliminating the need to reach over the countertop to get to the sink. However, the farmhouse kitchen sink is much deeper than a conventional sink. The sink depth could be problematic for children or those short in stature. The sink basin is usually anywhere between six to 10 inches deep with a width from 20 to 36 inches. The sink’s depth also means less under-cabinet storage space. The huge size makes farmhouse sinks heavy even without several gallons of water. Installation could require a custom-made cabinet for support.

History of farmhouse sinks

Use of farmhouse sinks began in the 17 century in Belfast and London. The city of origin identified the style of sink and today is sometimes used to describe sinks. Belfast sinks included an overflow to allow water to drain instead of spill over. Water wasn’t as easily accessible in London, so sinks weren’t as deep and didn’t include an overflow. Two centuries later, the French farmhouse sink, featuring a broad apron and made of white clay, became widely used.

Cost of farmhouse sinks

Prices for most farmhouse sinks typically start around $500 and go as high as $1,000, or more. Modern farmhouse sinks aren’t limited to one basin as in the past. Double-basin options include a 50/50 split, 60/40 split or 80/20 split as well as top-mount (also known as drop-in) or undermount sinks.

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