Classic farmhouse drainboard sinks are one of the most desirable features in a vintage kitchen. We continue to do extensive research on all the options for retro sinks and faucets — so now there is enough information to make a whole page of all the alternatives.
1. Authentic vintage farmhouse drainboard sinks:
Mid century and prewar farmhouse kitchen sinks were, I believe, generally manufactured using a cast iron or steel substrate, covered with porcelain enamel. They were available in white…
…in pastels… as in Erica’s Jadeite kitchen…
…. ooh, and pink! 1954 American Standard pink drainboard sink…
and later, even in coppertone brown and other 1970s colors. Of course, all the colors including pastels are going to much harder to find.
Here is slide show of 16 vintage Kohler kitchens that give you some idea of the designs. I will add some more photos shortly.
2. Where to buy original vintage drainboard sinks:
To me, this would always be the most desirable choice — in general, because I am super thrifty — aka *cheap*… because I love the hunt… and because I think it’s super cool to find and use authentic vintage in my house. BUT: This method requires lots of time and tenacity, and I totally understand why others would take the reproduction route.
If you want to buy a vintage drainboard sink — which is likely to be porcelain enamel on cast iron or on steel — the best places to look likely include craigslist, your area ReStore / Habitat for Humanity, or other area salvage stores. Ebay… maybe… but I would want to go look before I buy. See this story with a list of particular salvage companies that sell online and which may have vintage drainboard sinks.
3. Re-porcelain a vintage sink:
It may be difficult to find a vintage sink that is not chippy. If you have a vintage sink, and want to re-porcelain it, here is our known resource (photo above is an example). Two readers who far have reported positive experiences.
We also recently received a tip about a second company to contact if you are in need of re-porcelaining from reader Barb who is having her vintage drainboard sink re-porcelained by Independence Porcelain Enamel. We will follow up with a story soon!
I do not believe that if you have a vintage kitchen sink that it makes any sense to have it “resurfaced” by a tub resurfacing company etc etc — the coating will not endure.
4. How to clean a porcelain enamel drainboard sink:
Be very very very careful about what you use to clean a porcelain drainboard sink. Acidic cleaners… and abrasive cleaners… may harm the surface coating, and there’s no good way to restore it once it’s gone, expect to re-porcelain $$$. For tips, read this detailed story — I ask Kohler what should and should not be used to clean porcelain enamel on cast iron plumbing fixtures.
5. Farmhouse sink reproductions — porcelain enamel on cast iron:
We know of two sources for a reproductions of apron style farmhouse drainboard sinks. These designs below are porcelain enamel on cast iron — the very old school way to make these sinks.
The other available option — also in cast iron — the Clarion farmhouse drainboard sink. It is made by Strom Plumbing and marketed by a number of companies such as our longtime advertiser, deabath.com — but you can shop around. This apron sink is 60″ wide.
These faucets will use a vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucet — see our story 8 vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucets.
6. Steel drainboard kitchen sinks:
- Elkay still makes a number sink-top drainboard sinks very much like the porcelain enamel on cast iron. See this story on the different styles of Elkay stainless steel sinks.. above: Read this story about how Joe used one of these Elkay steel drainboards to replace a damaged original sink in his kitchen.
- Second, we did a separate round up eight places to find drop-in stainless steel sinks.
- See this story, too, about ways to do stainless steel sinks and countertops in your kitchen.
7. Reproduction farmhouse sinks available from Nelson Bath Tub, Inc.:
Above: The second sink from Nelson Tub and Bath is a 66″ wide double sink double drainboard farmhouse sink.
Above: Nelson’s 42″ single bowl, single drainboard sink.
8. Reproduction drainboard sinks in acrylic available from other makers (including colors)
The Karran drop-in double bowl drainboard sink is made of acrylic and retails for $366 on Amazon (*affiliate link), free shipping. Available in white or bisque, this is an affordable drainboard sink option. However, it looks like this sink doesn’t have holes for the faucet, which means you will have to have a solid surface or tile countertop or install a wall-mounted faucet. (We don’t think that installing deck-mounted faucets into laminate is a a great idea, due to all the water that typically accumulates around the base of a faucet.)
Another new option — this CorStone Wakefield Double Bowl Drainboard sink *affiliate link) comes in a 36 colors — including pale yellow, greens, pinks and even a bluish lavendar. This sink is made of acrylic and sells for $468.75 (*affiliate link) with free shipping (some colors may be an extra charge). One note — a review on Wayfair.com gave this sink low marks for difficult installation.
Another new option is this Blanco sink (*affiliate link) lists for $933 plus shipping. While this model has the lovely drainboard — and appears to be made of a composite including hard rock granite — it is not what we’d describe as “retro” in style. Still, we’ll put it out there for you. This model is available in eight neutral colors — but also has the drawback of no faucet holes — limiting counter top options.
10. Drainboard laundry sink
Also of note — the CorStone Hamilton Laundry Sink (*affiliate link), prices starting at $258 — with three holes for a deck mounted faucet — appears to come in all of the same 36 colors as the kitchen sink. So if your laundry room is right off the kitchen, and you like colorful matching sinks, this might be just what you’ve been looking for.
10. Rare kitchen sinks
Perhaps you will find a rare drainboard sink like the 1954 American Standard Midway sink, which is among the rare vintage kitchen sinks that we’ve archived here.