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

stainless steel drainboard sink In 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.

UPDATE: Regarding old porcelain sinks including a discussion of why re-surfacing or re-enameling may be desirable if you have one, see my story: Understanding potential lead hazards in old porcelain enamel bathtubs and sinks and ceramic tile of any age. We also have found two sources that do old-school re-porcelaining today — use the Search box on the blog to get to the stories..

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.

Joe

 

  1. Lee says:

    Joe, you should try and find a chromed sprayer nozzle. I found one in the local Ace. It would look really cool next to that faucet.

  2. Trina says:

    Joe, the sink looks great. I think that we have a responsibility to these old houses to not only preserve the integrity of the style and character of the home, but to also make them as functional as possible for todays living. Any other new sink would have been functional by would not have preserved the integrity. Good job on making the right decision.

  3. philq says:

    Looks great, Joe. You will learn to love it in time (if you don’t already). I have a similar original unit in my 1957 kitchen, along with stainless and turquoise formica counters. I had Corian in a previous house, which I liked the look of, but had to be careful with hot pots. Stainless – just set the pots where ever! I would never have anything else but stainless. The little scratches/wear&tear contribute to a nice patina in time.

  4. Kelly says:

    I love it! I wanted to put one of these in the kitchen that we’re updating but the undermount version didn’t fit with the dishwasher underneath. bummer. I should have been more flexible to get a top mount sink!

  5. TappanTrailerTami says:

    This looks awesome, Joe! Very nicely done.

    I hate to mention this after-the-fact, but it could be something that Pam can investigate for us, and report on. There is a company in Illinois that does actual REAL porcelain enameling (the baked on kind). I’ve seen them mentioned on a couple of different websites. I don’t know how much the cost is, but I think it would be worth checking out and having the information handy just in case someone here wants to save their current sink.

    It is my understanding that they are the only company in the country to do real old fashioned authentic fired on porcelain enamel work.

    http://www.customceramic.com/services.htm

    Tami

  6. K2K says:

    when I considered the Elkay to replace my original sink – zero porcelain finish in the basin – I was stunned at the price. I mostly was going to replace the sink because the faucet needs replacing and I need to sell my 1954 atomic ranch.
    so, am still stuck, and no one will buy this house when they realize they have to remodel the entire kitchen because of the sink and faucet (my Geneva cabinets are not in good shape). maybe I should try to find someone who lusts for an atomic ranch with the original kitchen! and enough money to restore it.

    I was also concerned that the Elkay would show scratches over time. $2,000 for a sink!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yup, the Elkays are not inexpensive. But, they should last beyond the lifetime of your house. Also, their price points to the fact that our steel kitchen cabinets are quite valuable — in fact the new St. Charles’ are so expensive they won’t even quote a price online! If you have the patience, take your measurements, carry them with you, and stalk the Re-Store. Salvaged Elkays do turn up.

  7. Michelle Minicucci says:

    Everyone, Joe’s cabinet is the first I have seen with cabinet pulls like on my own steel cabinets. We have been missing one pull for over 40 years. Does anyone know where to get replacements (just like that)? Thanks in advance! MM

    1. pam kueber says:

      Michelle, Joe’s cabinet is a Beauty Queen. I don’t know of any off-the-shelf replacements — you might have to just buy a whole cabinet. This is not a common brand. Head over to our Forum, where we have identified 74 different brands of vintage steel kitchen cabinets and provide a place to buy/sell them. You have to register, but it’s free to participate. You can see our history of Beauty Queen captured so far (histories are all a work in progress) and also keep an eye out for a small Beauty Queen that you might be able to harvest for parts. Assuming you really have a BQ, that is. Good luck.

  8. Vera says:

    I am getting ready to sell my 1955 Elkay Lustertone 80 inch drainboard countertop with double sinks on DC’s Craig’s List. Elkay tells me a new one would retail for $2800! Mine is in pristine condition. Only downside is that the wide section of the double sinks is shallow, maybe 5 inches deep. The lady of the house had a stool under it so she could sit and do dishes!!

  9. delphine shinn says:

    Hello, I have recently acquired an all original “Beauty Queen” double porcelain 50’s retro sink with metal cabinets included. The porcelain is in excellent condition, the metal cab section is in pretty good condition as well, some rusting where plumbing was put into bottom and years of farmhouse use. I am looking to sell the entire sind and cabinet. It is really a super item. If interested, just email or post so that we can communicate. Pickup Only, the whole item weighs at least 300 pounds. Will give price and WV location if interested. Love this site. Delphine

    1. pam kueber says:

      delphine, you can post these on our buy/sell forum – it’s down right at this moment but should be working again early in the week…

  10. Bonnie says:

    Does anyone know where I can get this Elkay stainless sink with dual drainboards and backsplash? I checked their website and have been looking online but no luck.

    Bonnie

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