As we spend a lot of time in people’s homes cleaning up water damage we are often asked about general plumbing and even fittings issues.. One common question we are asked is if you needed to replace a kicthen sink what kind would you opt for, both in terms of looks and efficency. And our honest answer is that you really can’t go wrong with an apron sink.
The humble apron sink was a feature of English kitchen farmhouses as long ago as the 18th century. Why then would such an old idea still be be one of the best kitchen fittinghs choices today? Allow us to explain:
A Brief History of the Apron Sink
Back in 18th Century a great many people tended to live under the same roof. In these households a kitchen sink was not only used for washing pots and pans and paltes and cutlery but also for doing laundry and even sometimes for general personal “washing up”. For this reason the sinks needed to be big and they needed to be deep, which is exactly what an apron sink was.
Apron sinks fell out of favor in the early 20th century when they were replaced by smaller, recessed sinks that took up less space. However they have made a comeback over the last decade or so, appealing especially to people who want their kitchens to have an old fashioned rustic look rather than a rather cold modern one that is the same as every other kitchen in every home on their street!
What does an Apron Sink Look Like?
An apron sink is, as previously mentioned, deep. Borne out of necessity in the 18th century this is now a useful feature for those who cook a great deal as they do a far better job of accommodating large pots and pans. That is why you will find an apron sink in a great many professional and restaurant kitchens.
An apron sink – which is also sometimes referred to as a farmhouse sink – also differs from the modern sinks you are used to seeing in a kitchen because rather than being recessed it has a front that fits over the cabinetry that supports it and juts out a little into the kitchen space.
Once again this design came about as a matter of practicality. The sinks apron – thus the name – protected the cabinetry beneath if water were to overflow from the sink and the jutted edge made sure the water went on the floor instead, here it could be easily mopped away. And the same is still true today, so an apron sink can protect your cabinetry from water damage rather well.
Another very useful feature of the original apron sinks – and many of the modern versions – is that the water faucets were not built into the sink as they are usually today. Instead the faucets were built into the cabinetry and then rose above the sink. This meant that if necessary an old sink could be swapped out for a new one without the need for any new plumbing work and again, that is still the case.
What are Apron Sinks Made From?
Those original apron sinks in the 18th century English farmhouses were made of porcelain. Porcelain is durable and relatively easy to clean so again, the focus was on practicality although a porcelain sink is also a very attractive sink.
Many of the modern apron sinks available are also made from porcelain but that is no longer a homeowner’s only choice. These days metal apron sinks – especially copper apron sinks, are also very popular as not only are they durable but they are also extremely attractive.
Copper apron sinks actually even get better with age. As it ages and is used copper develops its own natural patina and its colors change and darken in a way that is completely unique. For those really looking for a timeless, classic look a copper apron sink might be the perfect choice.
Stainless Steel Apron Sinks – A Modern Take on a Classic
Not everyone likes the old fashioned look for their kitchen and in a space filled with the kind of hi tech stainless steel appliances that are so popular today a traditional apron sink probably would look out of place.
There is an alternative though, for those who want to enjoy all the practical advantages of an apron sink but want a more modern look – a stainless steel apron sink.
A stainless steel apron sink has many of the same practical features as a traditional version – the depth, the overhang and the suspended faucet – but it dies tend to lend a more modern air to a kitchen space that some people prefer.
The Bamboo Apron Sink – A New Green Classic?
As people make more of an effort to “go green” in their homes the idea of a bamboo sink is really catching on. Contrary to what you might expect bamboo actually makes a very durable sink material as it is very water resistant and retains the natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that the bamboo grass naturally possesses. Better still many of the bamboo apron sinks appearing on the market right now are some of the most stylish sink offerings you will ever see.