Joe replaces a vintage porcelain drainboard kitchen sink with a new Elkay stainless steel drainboard sink

2011 elkay stainless steel drainboard sink installed onto a vintage steel kitchen cabinetIn my recent story about authentic 1950s 1960s and 1970s kitchen remodeling products still made today, I spotlighted Elkay Lustertone stainless steel drainboard sinks — made back in the day and still available today. Over the past year, I’ve been in touch with a reader who was preparing to install a new Elkay sink top onto his vintage steel kitchen sink base. The project was recently completed — and voila, doesn’t it look fantastic? Reader Joe explains that he would really have preferred to find a porcelain enamel drainboard sink, to replace the original — but these are not made new today, and his previous experience with trying to re-enamel his original drainboard sink Was Not Satisfactory. Read on for his report on his experience and several before-and-after photos.

porcelain ceramic drainboard sink

Joe's original drainboard sink -- the "Before". The sinktop was chipped and rusted. He had it refinished using an epoxy-based process. But, the new surface started to disintegrate in about two years, he reports.

Joe writes:

Hi Pam,

Finally got the Lustertone sink installed.

Elkay stainless steel drainboard sink installed on a vintage Beauty Queen steel sink base

I would still have preferred to have replaced the original white enamel-on-steel top with another new one just like it….but no one seems to make them anymore. The stainless steel is just not as “warm feeling” as the white top. But a self draining unit was a priority and that does work fine.

retro kitchen faucet

No problems at all with the installation. Fit easily. I replaced the faucet with a kind of retro unit made by Chicago Faucets.

re-enameling or refinishing the original porcelain drainboard sink was not successfulNote: I did have the original top taken out and refinished [with an epoxy-type finish] and that lasted about 2 years. Could not find someone to re-enamel.


Pam responds: I have NEVER heard of anyone having a good experience with re-enameled tops — although, I think for small repairs or if you really want to try and extend the life and refinish a porcelain sink on the cheap, you can try the products recommended and for sale at I am told that the reason that “refinishing” a vintage porcelain sink doesn’t work very well is that: The original porcelain-enamel finish is chemically: glass. “Refinishing” or “Re-enameling” is: Paint on Glass. No worky.

If you really really want to find a porcelain drainboard sink in great shape, I do think they are out there. Best bet: Take the measurements of the chippy wrecked one with you at all times. Watch like a hawk for something in Perfect shape. Stalk your Restore. All that said: Joe, I think your stainless steel drainboard sink from Elkay is beautiful — and oh-so-practical, as stainless steel will never chip! Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Jane Dobell says

    Hi Pam
    You mention stainless being sanitary. If porcelain sink is chipped does it collect bacteria? Is rusted steel not sanitary?

    • pam kueber says

      Can you point me to where I use the word “sanitary” in this story? I cannot see the reference. I think that, in stories about the history of steel cabinets, I may have said they were “marketed” with the idea they were sanitary — meaning, specifically, vermin could not eat through steel like they could eat through wood cabinets.

      I don’t think I have ever written about counter tops and bacteria prevention.

  2. says

    Well we did powder coat @ 1600 degrees in almond came out fine has lasted 2 years and going strong I have link the face book page so you can see it if it works, cost just 165.00 dollars to powder coat the sink.

  3. kate says

    I love the stainless/butcher block combination. We have butcher block and one of the reasons I got the Elkay w/drainboard was to help keep the area where sink meets countertop protected. Thanks for the great photos and inspiration!

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