It may seem unlikely now, but Copper was once the most widely used metal in household before the rise of stainless steel and aluminum as viable options. Copper did not rust unlike iron. This is because of its atomic structure which prevents the formation of oxides. This property of the metal made it easy to spot and mine. In fact, copper sink has been mined since the advent of human civilization. Copper is also malleable as well as, which meant it could be easily hammered into different shapes or drawn into pipes and rods with ease. These two properties of copper made it very popular in plumbing applications. Rust accumulated in iron or steel pipes was unhealthy and it would eat through the plumbing without proper anti rust protections. Copper sinks were also popular because of their durability. In 19th Century America, people were often on the move as settlers, so they would use these copper sinks mounted on a plank of wood or on a barrel to do their washing.
In recent years, copper had fallen behind as a viable material for making sinks. The reason is the rise of cheap stainless steel as an alternative. Copper also would form a patina with time that made the sink look dull and unglamorous compared to ones made of gleaming stainless steel. With the resurgence of rustic décor though, copper sinks became popular among homebuyers for their rugged looks and simplicity. However even the most stubborn discoloration can be removed with simple hot water cleaning and buffing. Buyers should take care to by sinks made of 15-18 gauge copper which tend to retain their shape better (lower the gauge, higher the thickness) A large section of artisan metalworkers specializing in copper sinks use modern technology to provide customizable pieces for demanding customers.
How Copper Sinks are made
Pure copper metal is melted and poured into molds to form into a bowl shape. Once the metal has cooled, the sinks are beaten by hand to create different decorative patterns on the bowl. The process takes a few days depending on the intricacy of the pattern. The desired finish is also given to the sink at the final part of the process. The different finishes available are naked copper, antique copper, aged copper and verde or greenish copper. Artisans also produce the patina or discoloration caused by age depending on the customer’s specification.
Types of Sinks
Drop-in sinks can be mounted on the vanity counter on a pre-cut hole. The rim of the sink protrudes from the countertop. Edgeless sinks are mounted from below the counter, so that the edge of the sink is covered by the counter slab. Vessel sinks are kept on top of the reclaimed wood vanity, so the sides of the sink are fully visible. Decorative patterns applied on the sides of the sink create a very pleasing effect. The bowls can come in circular, oval or sleigh shapes. Sleigh type sinks have a sloping rim with a shallow center, which is convenient for hand washing. Apron front sinks have a prominent apron on the facing edge, so the distance between the user and the sink is reduced. This lessens the strain of reaching towards the sink or bending to do dishes. Brass taps can be used when mounting the sink for an authentic appearance.
Tips to Keep Copper Sinks looking Fresh
Copper sinks can stay looking new for a long time. Patina forms naturally because of age and water. It can be removed with some hot water and regular buffing with a cloth. Store applied patina does not get removed by buffing though, so be sure to specify the patina finish which you desire well in advance. Care should be taken that acid based cleaners are not used to clean the sink since that could leave streaks on the surface of the sink. Acidic food like lemon and limes should not be allowed to come in contact with the sink. With a few simple precautions, copper sinks age beautifully and look fresh for years.
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