For our new “old” home, it was important to me to implement as many authentic materials as possible into it. If you’ve been around here for a little while, you’ll know that I had been collecting materials for a few years before we ever actually started building. Several months before we started building, we found this vintage sink in a dusty, old barn. We paid $50 for the sink and about $250 to have it refinished. It was in great shape, just a little discolored. A lot of questions come up when we share our old sink. So, lets talk about the things you should consider before deciding to use a vintage sink.
Lead comes up pretty regularly when discussing older materials. It has been found that vintage tubs and sinks could potentially have lead glazing and over time this glazing breaks down resulting in something called lead dust. Now, I am no expert, make sure to do your own research when using items from time periods likely effected by led. I am not concerned with lead with this sink. Firstly, we had it refinished, but keep in mind that your sink will likely chip again from normal wear and tear. I think it’s also important to note that I grew up in old houses and I, nor my family were ever affected by lead. Lead is only an issue if you’ve disturbed it and then ingested it. Ok, now I know what you’re thinking, this is a sink where we wash dishes, right? Wrongo- one thing about me, if it can’t go in the dishwasher… yes it will. 🤪 I do not do dishes in this sink and I am not licking the surface of this sink, therefore not ingesting it. The likelihood of any of us getting enough lead into our systems is very low. But If lead is still a concern to you, you can very easily test for lead yourself with this kit or you could buy a nice vintage reproduction that does not carry the concern of potential lead. There are a lot of different topics that we could discuss when it comes to lead, but for the sake of time, I won’t be touching on all of those in this post. Just know that the potential for lead is present in any home prior to 1978. It can be encapsulated and is not scary if properly taken care of. Just don’t make it a habit of licking your walls and/or old porcelain coated sinks/tubs.
Another concern is practicality. Take into consideration your own habits in the kitchen when deciding on whether or not a vintage sink will work for you. If you are washing a lot of dishes in your sink, an old sink may not be for you. The bowl is very shallow and much harder to wash a sink full of dishes in. I do not mind this because like I mentioned earlier, I never fill up a sink for washing dishes. The drainboard however, is FANTASTIC and I don’t know why all sinks do not have this feature. It is very convenient for those times I need to quickly hand wash something and/or wash and dry produce. In our last home, we had a one bowl sink, but it was HUGE. I used to pile the dishes in that sink for several days because it was so deep, you literally couldn’t see them. You can’t do that with this sink. Some days I wish I could let them pile up, but it also forces me to keep this area tidy.
Depending on which type of vintage sink you’re looking at, you could be limited in your faucet choice. Deck mounted sinks aren’t an issue usually. Once you get into the wall mounted, they can get a little tricker to find, but not impossible. Remember that hard does not mean bad. In my opinion, if it takes a little more time and research, it’s usually a better reward. This is the faucet we used. It is beautiful and such great heavy, quality.
If it is old, IT WILL CHIP. It’s just the nature of the beast and I knew this going in. It should be no surprise that I love worn imperfections in my home. When trying to create a new “old” home, you have to embrace the perfectly imperfect. I feel that it adds so much character. A home well loved and worn is far more welcoming, in my opinion.
These are just a few things to keep in mind and consider when deciding if a vintage sink is right for you. None of the above outweigh the beauty of this sink for me. It’s all about your own personal preference. We all have different habits and ways around the kitchen. I hope this helped you in your decision making. I’ve sourced some authentically vintage and some reproductions here for you. I will probably need to make a part two to cover anything I may have left out. If you have any other questions or comments make sure to leave them in the comments below. To shop my home, you can find all sources here.