Reporcelain refinish steel sinks, stoves and other vintage parts — we find a second source

re porcelain vintage sink appliancesDo you have a steel sink, stove or other appliance that needs to be refinished? Professional reporcelaining is the way to go for long-term durability. Reader Barb tipped us to a second company that can do this high-heat job —  Independence Porcelain Enamel. The company has been in business since 1922 and is located in Independence, Missouri, close to Kansas City.

Note, however, that Independence only reporcelains steel — not cast iron.  If you have cast iron, the only source we know of remains Custom Ceramics — and owner John confirmed with Pam yesterday that his waiting list for three years long. Ouch.

Barb wrote to us:

I wanted to have my 1947 66-inch double bowl, double drainboard porcelain sink (on a Youngstown steel cabinet) done by Custom Ceramics in Illinois,  but I can’t wait 1.5 – 2 years. I found a company in Independence, Missouri, close to Kansas City. It is Independence Porcelain Enamel, in business since 1922. I took my sink last Friday. Jeff Gaylord at IPE tells me it will take about two weeks. It will be sandblasted and fired at 1600 degrees. It was a good size company and has been in business for a long time so I am optimistic for good results. Cost will be $550.

[Editor’s notes re Barb’s email above: Custom Ceramics also can reporcelain steel — for that, the wait is currently about 12 weeks, the company told us; it’s the cast iron work that has the multi-year wait list time. Also note: Independence gave us different firing temperatures when they answered our questions below.]

I contacted Jeff at Independence Porcelain Enamel to verify that they did indeed re-porcelain vintage steel drainboard sinks, and to inquire about the company, pricing and available colors.

Independence Porcelain Enamel

Jeff writes:

Independence Porcelain Enamel has been in my family since 1983. We are a job shop the specializes in one-time projects, and we also do larger volume runs of commercial products. We don’t do mass volume runs of 1,000s of units though.

re porcelain vintage sink appliances re porcelain vintage sink appliances

Our main business is restoration work. However, we only refinish steel sinks (not cast iron). Colors range from your basic white, black, and almond to reds, blue, greens, turquoise, buttercup yellow, and orange. Our process is we media blast all the old porcelain off and apply new porcelain to raw substrate. Porcelain enamel is a water based slurry that is applied to the substrate then dried to evaporate the water from the slurry. We can then brush any areas (thru or threaded holes) that need to be free of porcelain. Then the piece is fired at 1400 F to 1520 F depending on the substrate (steel or cast iron).  It is then inspected and reprocessed with another coating if required.

re porcelain vintage sink appliances

vintage sink before restoration.

re porcelain vintage sink appliances

Sink after restoration.

Here is a before/after of a restored sink. The cost to refinish a double bowl with double drain boards sink in white is $550 plus shipping. Lead time is 3-5 weeks after receipt of sink.

I wondered: How can someone tell if their vintage sink is steel and therefore a good candidate for re-porcelaining at Independence? Jeff replied:

The easiest way is if you look on the underside of the sink. A cast iron sink will have raised lettering and a rough texture. Cast iron sinks will also be very heavy in weight. Steel sinks won’t have raised lettering but a stamp with the manufacturer’s date.

re porcelain vintage sink appliancesIndependence Porcelain Enamel also does appliance re-porcelaining. Pricing varies depending on size and color. Jeff said that an RV cooktop or oven doors can range from $82.50 each to $97.50.

re porcelain vintage sink appliances

Pam though this looked like cast iron so she called Jeff to check. He confirms that IPE can reporcelain smaller cast iron parts. When it comes to sinks and tubs, though, they cannot; these larger castings have more imperfections from the underlying molding and are not good candidates for IPE’s wet slurry process.

It’s great to to have another source for reporcelaining our vintage steel sinks, parts or other appliances!

Understanding potential lead hazards in old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and tile of any age:

If you are the owner of an older porcelain enamel bathtub or sinks — or are considering buying one — please see my May 2, 2016 story Understanding potential lead hazards in old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age; this article focuses on raising awareness around three other potential sources of lead dust exposure in your home – old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any era — and steps you can take to assess and, if required, address them.

Barb’s sink:

So how did tipster Barb’s sink turn out?

Barb writes:

vintage drainboard sink

Barb’s sink before.

The people at Independence Porcelain Enamel were great.  So I hope that they get lots of jobs from your article.  I stayed up one night searching and searching the internet and then I found them.

vintage drainboard sink

Barbs sink after being re-porcelained by IPE.

The sink is absolutely beautiful.  I’m sure it looks exactly like it did when it rolled off the assembly line in 1947.  IPE did a fantastic job.

Mega thanks to reader Barb for the tip and to Jeff Gaylord from Independence Porcelain Enamel for taking the time to answer our questions and send photos for this story.

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  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    What a stunning job! It is a great deal better than any new sink, I’ll wager. And the fact that you can get the colors you want to go with your kitchen is fabulous. I wonder if Jeff and RR readers can comment on the care of these sinks once they are re-porcelainized. Is it the same as caring for the original enamel sink or tub? (That is, no harsh chemicals, only approved cleaning products, don’t bang things around in the sink, etc.)

  2. Kathy in San Leandro says

    Thanks for clarifying the question of whether IPE does steel or cast iron. I have 1929 Standard tub and sink in Ivoire de Medici that could use a new coat, but they’re definitely cast iron. At first I didn’t realize the red stove was a miniature. It’s adorable! I want one… just for the halibut.

  3. lorraine says

    Looks fabulous! Now if anyone knows somewhere where I can get my stove top re chromed.. in NC or SC would be awesome.

  4. Mike says

    Realizing that the wait is so long for iron pieces, couldn’t a person opt for powder coating, instead? Sure, it’s different from porcelain, but it’s very tough stuff. Just a thought.

  5. Mark says

    I’ve used IPE to have some parts on my Chambers stove re-done, they did a great job!
    I have more for them now that I think about it….

    • lorraine says

      Hi Mark. Yes, I’ve heard of IPE. I was hoping to find a more local outlet but certainly they are known for working on Chambers stoves. They are on my short list for my Chambers.

    • Cynthia says

      Hi, isn’t your link pointing back to the earlier, longer-wait-time article? So happy there’s another source! Now, if only there were a source east of Ohio…

  6. Alan says

    Don’t think you’re going to buy a new steel sink and have it porcelained to a different color. Independence ceramics only reporcelains things that have been porcelained before. I bought a new steel kitchen sink thinking I would send it to Independence for a porcelain coating. Jeff said unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to do it.

  7. says

    Hello. I wanted to comment that my husband & I once owned a 1940’s home in Chicago. This was about 15 years ago & the 2nd floor cast iron built in bathroom tub was in desperate need of a refinish. My husband called a man ( I do not know who – but I could find out), who came to our house and restored the tub in a few hours. I think we paid $100! The tub looked just like this sink does!!! Only inconvenience is that we had to wait 24 hours for it to dry, before using it again. And, once dry, we – in no time, caulked it ourselves. We were told THEN to clean as we always would. We did have on small chip occur when our toddler dropped something really heavy in the tub. It did not keep on chipping at all and the contractor came back out and patched the hole back to new again!! We never had any more issues after that! Feel free to emai me and I can do my best to help anyone locate this man or someone like him in the Chicago area. Jodi

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      This is what I love about this site, people helping others get the services and parts they need to restore their homes. You are a sweetie, Jodi.

  8. Dee says

    If anyone has a source to have a pink wall oven door from 1960s reporcelained, I would SO appreciate it. It’s so much smaller than new ovens and so hard to find a replacement. Thanks much . ( ABSOLUTELY LOVE the sink !!!)

    • pam kueber says

      Dee — why aren’t you contacting the company listed in this story? It is the main source we know about….

  9. Debra Cramsie says

    The information and comments on this website have been so helpful! My parents had a double sink, double drainboard cast iron sink in their kitchen that I always loved. I had hoped to salvage it before we sold their house (I was trustee after they passed away). Anyway, that didn’t work out but I did find a seller on Craigslist with one and bought it for our future kitchen remodel! I live in the San Diego CA area and wish there was a company closer than Illinois. I am waiting for a response from Custom Ceramic Coatings to find out the current wait list time. Since I’m not in a hurry, this might work out for me. 🙂 Thank you for publishing such a great website! Love all things vintage! 🙂

  10. Maria says

    Any chance someone could give me a lead on re-porcelaining my huge, vintage farm sink near Boise, ID? Also, I saw someone commented on powder coating…what are thoughts on this? Would it work/hold up?

  11. Stephanie says

    I was wondering if anyone knew where I could sell my vintage sink and metal cabinet to a place that specializes in vintage pieces so that when someone is looking to restore a mid century home they could find it and it can be loved again.

  12. Liz says

    We had Independence Porcelain Enamel reporcelain an island cooktop from the original almond color to black to match the new granite countertop. They did an amazing job. Great service and quick turn around.

  13. Dan says

    I just made contact with Jeff at Independence Porcelain and asked him about different colors. He can do colors but my question is, what was standard for the day as far as color is concerned. The cabinets will be an antique white while the fridge is a sort of teal color. Did sinks typically match the appliances perfectly, or just a close shade, or was white the norm?

    • pam kueber says

      Sinks came in all kinds of colors… but I don’t know if there was a “standard” per se.

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