Classic farmhouse drainboard sinks look quite charming in a vintage kitchen. Whether you are looking for a reproduction drainboard sink, or are hunting for vintage, I’ve pulled together all my research to help you find what you are looking for in this buyer’s guide. Overall, I count 9 difference sources depending on the age and material of farmhouse drainboard sink that you are looking for.
1. Authentic vintage farmhouse drainboard sinks:
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.
A note on terminology: I have seen the terms “Porcelain Enamel”, “Enamel”, and “Porcelain” each used to describe the top coating that is baked onto metal substrates on bathtubs, sinks and other products. As such, you may see the various terms used interchangeably on this blog by me and by others who are interviewed or commenting. To verify what types of products you have and what they are made of, do your own research including consulting with the original manufacturer or your own professionals.
Prewar and mid century drainboard kitchen sinks were, I believe, generally manufactured using a cast iron or steel substrate, covered with porcelain enamel. They were available in white…… and in pastels and other colors, as in Erica’s Jadeite kitchen (shown above.)
Here is slide show of 16 vintage Kohler kitchens that give you some idea of the designs.
Where to find vintage drainboard sinks:
Vintage sinks may be found at salvage companies, on craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, ebay, etsy, at your area ReStore / Habitat for Humanity, etc. See this story I did on Ken, who specializes in collecting and selling original-condition vintage kitchen sinks.
2. Re-porcelain a vintage sink:
If you already have a vintage drainboard sink in hand, but it needs restoration, it can be done. Yes, vintage sinks can be re-porcelained. Custom Ceramic Coatings is one resource we found that can re-porcelain cast iron sinks (photo above is an example).
Reader Barb had a porcelain-enamel-on-steel sink (not cast iron) and found another source Independence Porcelain Enamel, to reporcelain it.
- Do your own research with these companies to ask what materials and processes they use in their re-porcelaining processes.
3. Cleaning a porcelain enamel drainboard sink:
I reached out to Kohler to ask about various cleaning products for their porcelain enamel on cast iron products made today. See this story:
- Kohler says “no” to: Magic Eraser, Comet, Bar Keepers Friend, Zud, vinegar, etc…. for cleaning its porcelain enamel cast iron.
Please consult with the manufacturer of your sink you buy new; and again, if your sink is vintage take care considering this story.
4. Farmhouse sink reproductions — porcelain enamel on cast iron:
Now I’m diving into reproduction / new farmhouse drainboard sinks with porcelain enamel coatings on cast iron substrates.
I know of several 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.
Above: Strom Plumbing also has a 42″ design – also in cast iron.
Another available option — also in cast iron — is 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 sinks will all use a vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucet. As some examples, see our story 8 vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucets.
Another source for cast iron drainboard sink reproductions, like the one shown above (more designs on their website): Ready To Re — now apparently called “Watermark Fixtures”.
5. Steel drainboard kitchen sinks:
Next up: Drainboard kitchen sinks made out of metal — steel, mostly, but check before you buy.
- 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. Check local building codes to ensure these are to code in your locality.
- Also check companies like Ikea and Franke, they may have some “drop in designs”.
Need a faucet? I like the one that Joe used. It looks like this Chicago model.
I also am a #1 fan of Dishmasters — I use one in my kitchen!
6. Reproduction farmhouse sinks available from Nelson Bath Tub, Inc.:
Next up: Modern technology allows for drainboard sink reproductions to be made from modern polymeric materials.
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. And be sure to check their website, they continue to add new designs each year, it seems.
7. Reproduction drainboard sinks in other materials (including colors)
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.