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The Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sink

A stainless steel farmhouse sink represents a stylish adaptation of this classic type of kitchen sink. It offers the benefits and looks that come with stainless steel yet with a more contemporary flavor.

stainless farmhouse sinkPhoto Courtesy of Build.com

More Choices Than You Might Think

Although farmhouse sinks have a very distinctive design you might be surprised that there's a reasonable array of available options. All of the products on the market have the characteristic front apron but they're not all cookie-cutter duplicates either.

To start with, there are plenty of brands to choose from. What's so great about that you might ask? The main benefit is that it gives you more possibilities to find a product that meets your needs, whether it's price point, quality, size or a combination of all of them.

Here's a list of brand makers for stainless farmhouse sinks:

Acri-Tec   A-Line   Artisan
Belle Foret   Blanco   Cantrio
Dawn   Elkay   Franke
Houzer   Julien   Kingston Brass
Kohler   Koncepts   Kraus
Pegasus   Porcher   Schon
Ukinox   Vigo   Whitehaus

There's more information on recommended brands in the Publisher's Comments below.

These types of sinks also come in a variety of functional styles as you'd expect. You have a choice among bowl configuration and the split between them. Longer single bowl varieties provide more capacity for cleaning large items like cookie sheets and long-handled pans. Due to their larger size these sinks do a good job of "showing off" the apron front style.

Basin Split Configurations
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Double bowl types are available in split configurations that start with the traditional 50/50 but also include 55/45, 60/40 and 70/30.

For the uninitiated, this ratio simply designates the size of each basin with respect to the overall sink length: 60/40 means that one bowl is 60 percent of the sink's length with the other bowl taking the remaining 40 percent.

"Gauge", which tells you the thickness of the metal, is an important feature on a stainless sink. Stainless steel farmhouse sinks are available in thicknesses of 16 and 18 gauge although if you're willing to pay the price you can get a Bates And Bates sink made from 12 gauge material. Most if not all are made using type 304 stainless steel, a good corrosion-resistant grade of material.

You're not limited to just undermount styles either. Stainless farmhouse sinks are offered in several drop-in styles, namely from Whitehaus and Kohler. They're offered in both single and double bowl selections.

Finally, if you're looking for a different type of shape yet still with an apron front design you can find several in the Whitehaus collection. However the price tag isn't for the faint of heart.

Whitehaus Farmhouse Sinks

Photos Courtesy of Build.com

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Key Points To Consider

Here are a few points to consider when making a decision to buy a stainless steel apron front sink.

  • Be "Stainless Steel" Knowledgeable
    Gauge thickness and type were already mentioned above. Beyond that, keep in mind that you'll want to look for sinks with good sound insulation (a coating applied to the bottom and sides of the sink). Additionally, stainless sinks come in a variety of finishes, from very polished to a satin finish. Sinks with a "duller", more satin finish will resist showing minor scratches more than a mirror/polished finish.

    Sink bowls with radiused corners (a slight roundness to them) will be easier to clean than sinks with zero-radius (90-degree) corners. Over time that tight corner can collect hard water deposits and grime and be more noticeable. It all depends on your cleaning diligence and elbow grease.

  • Cabinets -MAY- Need To Be Custom or Modified
    The broad apron front that gives a stainless farmhouse sink it's signature look also means that your base sink cabinet will either need to be custom made or modified, depending on the particular brand/type of sink you choose. This is because of the size of the apron front itself and how "tall" it is. More on this in the recommendation section below.

    Look at the installation instructions for the sink to know whether the sink you choose will be compatible with your base cabinet design.

  • UPC and cUPC Coding
    You might see sinks advertised as being "UPC Compliant". This just means that the sink conforms to the manufacturing and safety standards of the Uniform Plumbers Code. The cUPC designation is the Canadian equivalent.
  • Understanding "Length" and "Width"
    Sink specifications express the "length" as the dimension from left to right and "width" as the measurement from front to back. To some that might seem counter-intuitive since it's reasonable to assume "width" means from side to side (left to right) as you're standing in front of the sink. This isn't a big deal, just something to keep straight in your mind as you look over different sink designations.

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Publisher's Comments --
My Recommendations & Where To Get Them

It's true that there are a variety of apron front stainless sinks you can choose from but there are a few that rise to the top in my opinion. Here's are the sinks I recommend based on my own research.

Best Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sink

If I'm asked "what's the top stainless farmhouse sink out there" I have to go with the Kraus line of products. To start with they're made from 16-gauge 304 stainless, a very durable and robust material stock. That means they're more rigid (stronger) and more resistant to flexing. In addition, they come with a sink drain included, not something you'll get with every sink.

Their farmhouse sinks also give you some design flexibility, as they can be installed undermount or in a built-up configuration (where the top of the sink sits a bit higher above the countertop). They include pads and undercoating to muffle the sounds of running water and garbage disposals and the corners are slightly rounded to make cleaning easier than a true zero-radius sink.

When you combine these features with the excellent price point, it's not hard for me to conclude that the Kraus farmhouse sink products are a best buy.

An Alternate Honorable Mention

Kraus farmhouse sinks have a curved apron front and while I think that adds a nice flair it may not be for everyone. If you're looking for a flat apron front stainless sink I recommend the Kohler Vault products.

One of the great things about Kohler's Vault farmhouse collection is that they're designed to be easily "retro-fittable" (if that's even a word) in your existing cabinetry. That's because they have a shorter apron front, one that's compatible with base sink cabinets that were originally designed/built for standard, non-apron sinks.

You see, the doors on sink cabinets that weren't designed for an apron front sink have a taller, "standard" height. The apron on a farmhouse sink eats up some of that space requiring shorter doors and a base cabinet designed to accommodate the taller apron front.

The Kohler Vault farmhouse sinks have a shorter apron, allowing you to install them in standard sink cabinets, whether they're new or existing cabinets. The only modification that's required is the cutting away of the front face of the cabinet above the doors. There's no need to replace the doors.

Of course measure your own cabinets and cross-check with Kohler's installation instructions to be sure.

Kohler's Vault sinks are more expensive the the Kraus products, have 90-degree corners and are 18 vs. 16 gauge. But if you're looking for a flat front, stainless steel farmhouse sink that can be used without custom-made cabinets, I think these products are a worthy alternative.

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