All About: Copper Sinks

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Are you thinking about renovating your kitchen? If so, then our Sink Spotlight series will help you. Today we continue our focus on sink materials with a look at copper sinks.

Sink Material: Copper

Associated with: Country style or rustic kitchens (for hammered copper sinks); modern kitchens (for smooth sinks).

Distinctive Features: Copper is a very soft and malleable metal, and high quality copper sinks should be made out of 99% pure copper and 1% zinc, which is added for strength and integrity. Important note: Make sure your copper sink is certified as lead-and-mercury-free. Cheaper, imported sinks can have mixed metals.

Finishes: Copper sink finishes can be smooth or hammered. Most hammered copper sinks are made in Mexico by artisans using old techniques, and the term “hand hammered” is meant to distinguish these distinctive sinks from those made by a machine. US copper sink manufacturers have traditionally focused more on commercial sinks, like those for restaurants. These copper sinks usually feature a smooth, rather than a hammered finish. Patinas range from bright and shiny to dark and chocolate-colored.

As with stainless steel sinks, the gauge of the copper is very important when buying a copper sink. A thicker gauge sink will be more expensive but much stronger and less prone to dents. Look for 16 gauge as a minimum if the copper is what they call “cold rolled,” and 14-12 gauge if it’s what they call “annealed.”

Size and Shape Available: Standard drop-in or undermount sink styles, and farmhouse sink style.

Pros: Naturally antimicrobial; material is fully recyclable and reusable; hammered sinks are stronger and less prone to dents than smooth copper sinks; patinas grow richer and deeper over time, giving an worn-in, aged look to the sink.

Cons: Smooth copper sinks will show scratches and dents; acidic foods or liquids can damage and/or lighten the patina; regular waxing required to protect the patina; harsh cleaning chemicals must be avoided.

Price range: Good quality copper sinks start around $150. Be wary of cheap copper sinks, since the integrity of the material is likely to be compromised with lead and/or mercury.

Kitchn Reader Review:

I’m loving copper sinks in the kitchen at the moment. It patinas, or heals itself, over time, and is 100% recyclable. Pretty cool stuff! – sinkdotcom

(Images: Native Trails via Apartment Therapy)