If you have a home that is turn-of-the-century or one that you would like to have an older style and feel to the decor, maintaining the vintage look of your kitchen and bathroom components is just as important as choosing furniture and selecting wall colors or moldings that fit the time period. However, hunting down antique sinks can be a problem, as many home supply stores come up short in furnishing homeowners with anything short of new and modern. Also, there are some considerations with installing and maintaining antique sinks that are important to look into before you purchase such a piece.
Finding the Right Sink
Local antique dealers may be a good place to track down that antique sink to fit your bathroom style. Dealers have become wise on the demand for antiques, though, and you may not often find bargains, so expect to pay a premium price for your sink.
You can also peruse garage sales and flea markets for vintage sinks, though often, these venues will have sinks that are damaged, cracked, or in need of enameling. Some plumbing stores can help you track down antique sinks, but will often take a cut on the end price that you will pay.
The internet can be a good source of antique sinks, as there are websites and dealers that do have true antiques available. Online auction sites such as Ebay may have antique sinks for sale or available for bidding. Architectural salvage yards are another source of antique sinks and some have websites with vintage fixtures available. SalvageWeb.com and OldHouseWeb.com are two sites specializing in salvage.
Salvage yards bring another source of vintage sinks to mind, that of sourcing out historical homes or buildings tagged for demolition. Houses allotted for demolishing often have many antique fixtures in the rooms, and the creative individual can bargain to remove pieces of the house before it comes down.
Fitting and Installation
Should you manage to find a sink that is truly an antique, you will have to consider where it will be mounted and probably end up needing to adjust your counter to have the vintage sink fit properly. Changes in model sizes over the years means that true antiques may be smaller or formed differently than new models found in stores. If you are replacing an existing sink, the hole in the counter may be too large to hold the sink correctly, or the hole may be too small and you might need to cut the counter.
You also have to take pipe size, drain stoppers, and faucets into consideration. Many vintage sinks will need new faucets, and those found in stores often will not fit, which requires a new search for vintage faucets to match the sinks hole spacing or shape.
Drain holes can be smaller or larger than new stoppers and again, might require tracking down custom stoppers or antique ones to do the job effectively. In short, parts can be hard to find and repairs are not always easy to accomplish. Your home plumbing may also not accommodate the design of fittings or pipes of the antique sink.
Antique sinks are trouble if they are not in good condition. While the outside of the sink can be restored, the inside is another issue completely and sinks showing aggravated signs of wear are not good buys. Re-glazing an antique sink is possible, though very expensive, and if you can avoid buying a sink that needs refinishing, do so.
Restoring an antique sink can cost more than $500. Before buying, check the sink you are interested in for chips, signs of rust, or areas where the cast iron shows through. The porcelain or china of the interior should be as flawless as possible.
A good option for antique sinks is replica models, as you will end up with not only a sink in the style you prefer, but the sink will be new and come with some form of warranty. Also, with replica models, there is very little waiting time and effort of searching involved, as many stores and internet sites offer these types of sinks.