A farm sink is a deep kitchen sink with an exposed front, similar in style to the sinks that were common in country farmhouses in the 1800s and early 1900s. Rural kitchens typically needed to accommodate baking and canning in bulk quantities, and preparing large meals. The straight sides, flat bottom, and deep basin of the farm sink maximized the space available for stacking pots, pans, and dishes. Also known as a farmhouse sink or apron front sink, this style has become increasingly popular for adding a vintage flair to a kitchen remodel or upgrade.
Compared to a standard kitchen sink, a farm sink is typically larger, deeper, and heavier. Extra bracing is required to accommodate the additional weight. Deeper basins will extend further into the under-counter space, and will limit the amount of storage available under the sink. The actual dimensions of a farm sink can vary from the specifications, particularly for handmade sinks. To ensure a proper fit, most carpenters prefer to have the sink on hand prior to building and installing the cabinets and countertops.
Another consideration when installing a farm sink is how the sink will be mounted. Depending on the design, a farm sink can be mounted so that the top edge is above, below, or flush with the surface of the counter. These options are also the standard ways for installing most types of kitchen sinks. Installing a farm sink also means making an additional decision about how to position the front apron of the sink relative to the edge of the countertop. The apron is a large part of the aesthetic appeal of a farm sink, and many designers place the sink so that the apron extends out beyond the edge of the countertop and the surrounding cabinetry.
Antique farm sinks were usually single cast-iron basins. Heavy and durable, vintage sinks can be purchased at auction, through antique dealers, and through architectural salvage firms. There is a strong demand for antique models with unique features, like freestanding sinks with legs and sinks with built-in drain boards. Older farm sinks often require that the faucets be mounted on the wall or countertop.
Most sink manufacturers offer at least one model of farm sink, and many offer several models in a wide variety of materials and finishes. Copper is naturally antimicrobial, and it has a warm look that is often featured in country-style designs. Stainless steel can complement the look of the kitchen appliances, and it works well with more modern designs. Other popular materials include ceramic, granite, and soapstone. The price ranges for farm sinks are similar to those of standard sinks of comparable materials and quality.