Farmhouse Sink Advice

House123January 6, 2012


I'm starting to get cold feet about getting a farmhouse sink. We're about to start our kitchen renovation in a couple weeks and up until now, I've been pretty set on a farmhouse sink (30"). I just love its classic look!

But, now I'm thinking I should "play it safe" and get a 'regular old' undermount sink.

Here are my concerns ...

1. Fire Clay (Rohl or Franke) vs Quartz (Mitrani): I hear due to the uniqueness of each fire clay sink, it will likely cause issues to properly fit (cabinet, counters, plumbing). I hear I can expect large gaps that will have to be filled with caulk. I'm not sure how that would look, but doesn't sound good. I hear Franke sinks are not as 'inconsistent' and have a smoother finish than Rohl. Does anyone have a Franke farmhouse sink? How do you like it? Any problems installing?

While I love the look and feel of fire clay, I'm leaning toward a Mitrani quartz sink. But, I have yet to see or feel one, which makes me nervous. I understand there is the option to face the fluted or flat side towards the front. I can't find any clear photos of the flat side, but I've read it has a lip or something near the top? Does anyone have a Mitrani quartz farmhouse sink?

2. Is it difficult to fit a disposal? I heard a special $100 part is needed to fit a disposal to a Rohl farmhouse sink due to its greater than normal thickness. Are disposals in general difficult to fit onto farmhouse sinks (regardless of fire clay or quartz) due to the deep sinks? Any risks of cracking the sink?

3. Plumbing: Since I'll be replacing our current undermount sink with a farmhouse sink, the pipes will need to be lowered and adjusted. I just got off the phone with a plumber recommended by one of the subs I'm using. He told me it's a real pain to re-adjust the pipes, as there's very little space behind the sink to work and fit the pipes. Is this true? I guess I can see how it could be problematic. Does that also mean there's a higher risk of (pipe) leaks?

I'm sure there are other risks that I haven't even thought of, yet.

I have to lock on our cabinet designs in two days, which means I have to decide whether to move forward with a farmhouse sink or revert back to a 'regular' undermount sink. As much as I would love a farmhouse sink, I'm beginning to think it'll become a big headache. I'm already stressing over one item and we haven't even officially started the renovation!

Thanks in advance for everyone's advice!

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Yes, the plumbing has to be changed, but that's what they charge you for: The PIA. They can take the job or not, do it and shut up.

If you're considering granite, find one. Do NOT buy anything blind.

I didn't have any disposal trouble, but mine's a Kohler.

Hun, bottom line, don't settle.

If you need more time to find the granite sink, demand it. You should still have 1/3 $$ in reserve, so they can suck it up. However, give them as much notice that you're not ready and you need 2(?) more days? Be considerate and don't wait until the last minute when everyone has schedule you in. That costs them their living.

It's not really your headache. If you want it, get it, but understand someone's going to charge you for their headache.

However. I'd check around. The people who whine in advance are usually the ones who are going to charge you for the "favor" of putting something in unusual.

Not that these sinks are unusual anymore. How many renovations aren't farm? I'm betting it might be 50/50 between some type of undermount and a farm.

I have both. My Kohler is an undermount, apron/farm sink.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Any risks of cracking the sink?

Google this site. Fireclay crack flange disposal.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:51PM
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i have the rohl 30" farm sink, installed about 2-3 months ago. i love it and pet it often but if i was to do it again i would do a standard undermount. it did require custom cab cutting, there was some irregularity on size so one side has a larger grout line, there were definate hassles with the install. i worry about it breaking so bought a sink grid, did require plumbing setup. only you can decide...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:51PM
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I had the same concerns you have. I struggled if I would regret the fireclay sink in the long term. I really wanted a farm sink though. I ended up with a Kohler Vault sink that you don't need a special cabinet for and that stainless steel. I have seen it but it is not installed. It is beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Sink

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 10:35PM
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I've had my copper farm sink for two months now and feel it is the *star* of my kitchen. We put it in existing cabinetry and the *how to* of that, nagged at me constantly. And really, it went in very easily.

We did have to have our doors under the sink cut down (not a problem); and the PLUMBING .... a friend of our son (who works in construction, not even a plumber) did this for us. He didn't seem to have a problem with it at all. I'm thinking he changed out the pipes under the sink area and installed the faucet/sprayer in about two hours.

BTW, we have ONE BIG SINK and love it!!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Farmhouse, farmhouse, farmhouse! I almost went with a regular undermount, but am so glad I didn't. I chose the 33" Kohler Dickinson sink and love it. It's a cast iron sink, which they guarantee not to chip, crack or burn. Also, I find a farmhouse sink is more comfortable because it is closer to you.

My contractor did not have to cut out for the sink. The cabinet was made with the right size cutout because it is designed differently than the Rohl sink. If you aren't getting custom cabinets, the cutout should be pretty straightforward because it doesn't have to be templated to the sink.

As far as plumbing, since a farmhouse sink is placed closer to the front of the counter than a regular sink, there is usually more room to work behind the sink. I would be wary of a plumber that complained of installing a farmhouse sink, especially if you are not moving the rough plumbing from one area of the kitchen to another. I've learned that too many contractors will tell you something can't be done or is too difficult just because they don't want to do it or it's a little more work for them.

I will say that because the sink is cast iron, it needed some extra support in the cabinet. If you have a good contractor, this shouldn't be a problem. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 6:49AM
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It seems that only the Rohl sinks are especially vulnerable to the flange cracking. Because they dominate the sample or otherwise is the question.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 8:58AM
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I love my 2 farm house sinks! Both of them are custom-made so there is no problem w/ cabinet fit. One is made from marble and the other concrete. Each cost less than most of the farmhouse sinks out there for sale. You can always look into a custom one if there is a material that would work for you to do one as that would eliminate the cabinet fit and fireclay cracking concerns.

Concrete. 36 inches w/ integrated drain board. LOVE this sink:


    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:07AM
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We have an Ikea fireclay domjso sink and love it!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:14AM
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All farmhouse sinks are not the same. Rohls are the fireclay sinks made by Shaw's of Darwen for 100 years. They are hand shaped and that's why the variation exists.

Machine molded farm sinks either in fireclay or vitreous china don't have the variation. Something like the Kohler is completely different as it's cast iron with an enamel finish. Then there are the stainless and other metal farm sinks.

There are no goods/bads here, only your choice and there are a ton of farmhouse sinks out there that can provide the same look as the Rohl. This wasn't the case when mine was installed 8 years ago. It's been a rock without any issues.

As someone mentioned, looks aside, farm sinks are pulled out to the cabinet edge so they are very comfortable to use.

I personally do not understand the composition sinks. I've seen them but cannot connect with them. But people here also love and swear by their silgranites.

You'll likely spend more time at the sink than anywhere else in the kitchen so I feel it's important to take time to see all these and then go with what you love.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:19AM
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We had a Rohls Shaws farm sink in our last house. It was the first thing I chose for that kitchen. It always got ooohs and ahhhhs from guests, it was so comfortable for washing dishes - didn't hurt my back like standing at other sinks does, had a garbage disposal - no special additions to get that and our plumber had never installed one before (it was 10 years ago). I didn't have a grid or a rubber mat in it - it may have gotten some dings inside the sink but it never bothered me. And when it didn't look as white and clean as I like I'd fill it halfway up with water, add just a little bit of bleach and let it sit and it would be shining and white again. Not sure it's the look I am going for in my new kitchen - haven't decided yet - but it was a beautiful sink. This time around I'm considering Waterworks' sink because it has cleaner lines. THe beauty of the Rohl Shaws is the organic feel it has. I'm pretty sure you'll love it if you go that route.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:28AM
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If this is a look that you love, and it fits in the style of your house, then go for it. It's only money. But, it does add expense to your project. The additional cost of the sink, the additional cost of the specialty cabinet to hold the sink, the additional labor for it's install and the additional plumbing labor all add up. It's usually at least $1500 more for a farm sink installation vs a "regular" undermount. If your budget is already damaged you may want to consider that.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 10:03AM
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I have a 30" fireclay sink. Our installer charged an extra $400 to install the sink. He did a beautiful job custom fitting it to the sink base. After he and his son were finished and we were all inspecting the job together, he admitted it was only the 2nd one they'd ever done! These guys were good!
The plumbing was almost a whole day getting the disposal fitted, (but that included faucets, diswasher hookup and a water filter too). I can't say how much extra that may have cost because the plumber was a family friend and didn't charge us for the job.
Anyway, I can't even picture my kitchen without the farm sink. It is my favorite feature from our modest kitchen redo.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Something to be said for the indestructibility of the Kohler cast iron/enamel sinks. Not in this case, but mine was seriously put to the test.. Here goes:

We bought this sink in 2005. First, it spent the winter in the back yard. The box finally disintegrated, so I asked him to move it into the garage. With 5 hernias and the sink at 180 lbs, this was a big deal.

Then it sat in the garage while DH fooled around (literally) and I was waiting for him to have the energy and get thru depression enough to continue working on the house.

The discharge hose on the water softener froze 2 or 3 winters, flooding the garage with salt water. He stacked things in the sink on the floor now and then. It was a storage area, and it was part of the storage.

Finally, in late 2008 I had the sink installed. I was thrilled at how durable it was in the face of it's mistreatment. But later, when painting the cabinet below it, I noticed the corners of the apron were rusting a bit. Kind of on what would be the seam, or turn under area. Then, in the sun, I noticed there was a kind of slice into the enamel in one of the bowls. AAAAHRRRGH!

I called Kohler and asked them if they had touch-up kits, and what else could I do.? Well, Roussillon Red was discontinued, so they didn't have that. What did they do, you ask?

Well, now I have an second, new Hawthorn Roussillon Red undermount apron sink in its box, elevated, in the barn. Can't swap it out, because my friend built the countertop around the sink. But bless Kohler. They didn't care what I did to it. They stood behind their warranty.

So I realize the brand you're discussing might have cracking issues, but I think Kohler laughs at something like that. [LOL] Couldn't ask for better quality, durability, or better service.

I know I've posted this before, but here is my sink again. I do love it. Wish the bowls were deeper, but that's nothing.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 11:00AM
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I have whitehaus. LOVE it. This is my second farmhouse fireclay. Have had stainless under mount, traditional porcelain, even integrated corian. Fireclay farmhouse are the best. Yes, the cabinet has to be specially cut. DH and I put this one into an ikea 36" box by building a simple frame underneath. Any commercial cabinet line will have farmhouse sink cabinets. Or custom cabinet maker will have no problem.

The only issue will be the need for deeper strainer baskets and flanges for both disposal and other side. But whereever you order the sink from will have them. I got both my sinks online and the company had the deeper flanges listed as an add-on. So simple.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 12:11PM
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I have the 30" Rohl sink for about 21 months and love it. With advice from gardenweb I brought marbles with me to the warehouse. I checked how well the sinks would drain water - because of their material the Rohl sinks are not "perfect". The 1st 2 had big issues and I rejected them. The 3rd one was minor. The guys in the warehouse thought I was nuts. This is why I bought it locally and did not have to ship it back or pay restocking fees. I sometimes have to spray a little more water on the far side of the drain to get the liquids down the drain. This irks my DH a bit. But it's beautiful. He just doesn't get it.

I have a garbage disposal and don't think I needed the longer flange. (I thought I bought one and returned it - it's been so long) My contractor did a wonderful job scribing the cabinet to fit the sink. I LOVE my contractor. My plumber had no issues - but he re-plumbed our entire house, some of our plumbing was from the 1860's or earlier and he had other problems (that's another story)!

I originally wasn't going to get the grid but decided to with advice here. I love it. It's another drying area for large pans, etc. and they don't have to sit on the counter.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Thanks for all the great advice, both the good and the bad of farmhouse sinks. I also heard from my cabinet maker that 50% of all remodels he's been involved with included farmhouse sinks. That alone is giving me some comfort. I have full confidence in my cabinet maker. I'm having M Teixeira install our soapstone. I'm pretty confident with them, also. Anybody out there use them and have a farmhouse installed? To be honest, the plumber guy is who started me thinking. He was actually pretty grumpy when I spoke with him ... and this is before he even came to my house! Needless to say, I'm looking for another plumber.

If I decide on fireclay, I'll likely go with Franke. While I can definitely see the appeal of Rohl, it's variation concerns me a bit.

kitchenkrazed09 & beaglesdoitbetter - Thanks for posting photos of your lovely fh sinks. They are all gorgeous. Seeing them makes me want one that much more! :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 12:47PM
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I also have the Kohler Dickinson sink like kitchenkrazed09. I love my sink. No issues at all with it, and it is so beautiful. Everyone comments on it when they walk into the kitchen. It is also very functional. One of the reasons I ddecided on this one was because it is only 8" deep instead of 10". I liked the thought of it not being as deep. From Gardenweb photos

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 2:19PM
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I have owned a fire lay sink and felt I had to be careful all the time. As the sink got older it was more difficult to keep clean. It had small hairline cracks that seemed to capture dirt. I was always worried about breaking wine glasses. In my most recent remodel I chose a copper apron sink by Rachiele. I chose a single bowl 36" sink with a drain in the right rear corner. Now I do not worry about cleaning. The sink is antimicrobial, easy to care for and wine glasses are not so scary to wash. The rear corner drain allows me to wash my platters and cookie sheets inside the sink without covering the drain. I was referred to Rachiele by another Garden webber. I must admit the price was more than I had planned, but it is now the best investment I have made. I wish I knew how to post photos. My sink is gorgeous. I was able to work directly with the artist who did the custom patina work on the apron to match the look of my decor. Mr. Dino was always helpful and easy to reach- even hours after he had returned home from having surgery. I was stunned to get a return call when I had a question about my copper disposal flange use. he apologized for being a bit groggy as he had surgery only three hours ago. This guy is either dedicated to his work, or nuts. Since I can't figure out how to post a photo I will add a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rachiele copper sinks

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 5:14AM
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House123...I think this sink could help you. It's the Whitehaven self-trimming apron front sink by Kohler. Apparently it comes with a templating kit and you can google the install on YouTube. I currently have the franke 28 AFS and am considering the move to the kohler (and my sink is still brand new - never installed). I am considering this b/c of Kohler's warrantee and ease of installation. It comes in a 29.5" and a 36", I believe. Hope this helps. I will let you know what I decide to do!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Whitehaven Sink

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 9:12AM
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i used the shaw sink in my recent remodel. because i wanted it installed slightly above counter height, the templating process was a challenge and they ended up taking my sink to the shop to create the (zodiaq) countertop. the end product is installed further over the edge of the cabinet than i wanted. i did need to purchase the extension flange to install the garbage disposal. i also purchased the rack. i love the look and the ease of use, but still have concerns about damage from using the disposal. my next project will use the kohler whitehaven model.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Hi House123,

I recently replaced an undermount with an Herbeau fireclay farmhouse sink.

1) We had no problems whatsoever with the sink fitting. My cabinetmaker retrofitted the area easily. He had to demo the old false front, make 2 new doors for the cabinet below (because the farmhouse sink is deeper/goes down lower), and fill in a couple small gaps with small pieces of wood. Once painted and caulked, it's impossible to tell this was done.

2) Fireclay. I was so worried at first. I fretted about the flange (the piece that needs to be extra deep to accommodate the thick fireclay farmhouse sinks). It turned out, the very flange that my Insinkerator garbage disposal came with was the correct one.

I can advise you that your plumber needs to not tighten the flange too much to avoid cracking the sink, and to use silicone caulk.

I've treated my fireclay sink in almost exactly the same way I treated my old cast iron one. The one exception is that I run cold water if I'm going to pour boiling water into the sink, and I avoid placing scorching hot, 600 degree pans straight off the stove into the sink. This minor inconvenience is so well worth it to have this gorgeous sink.

3) The re-routing of the plumbing was so totally not a big deal, it was barely on my radar. And they definitely had to re-route, since I replaced a 2-bowl sink with the single bowl farmhouse.

I love the look so much that we're putting one in the house we're helping my parents build. My mom is ultra-practical, so she's getting the Kohler Whitehaven--truly bulletproof, enameled cast iron.

I say go for it!! Good luck :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 7:46PM
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I just installed a 39" farm sink. I debated, researched and vacillated, just like you are doing. I even tried on a stainless substitute for size (thinking it was lower risk, what with 9 and 6 year olds). When it came dented, I decided it was a sign from the kitchen Gods to go for it and get the sink of my dreams. I will not build another kitchen like this one, so there are no take-backs. If I worry about crazing, cracking, etc., I'll go crazy and crack up (ha!). Here's a pic. I have no regrets at all. The extended flange was not a big expense, and the installation was straightforward. Plus, a bonus - I had my heart set on the Rohl 39" (at $2500), but purchased the Alfi 39" (at $1250). Here's a pic. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:38AM
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want advice, Dang these things are costly!!!! Got any ideas where to buy a lil cheaper? If I buy online is there a warning to look for? Wondering how copper would hold up to a family of four with lots of entertainment?? Copper vs farm sink both apron style??

Also if my appliances will all be stainless which one...and no I don't want a stainless sink? thanks for any input!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:29AM
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The Kohler Whitehaven or maybe IKEA?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Have the kohler whitehaven. Wanted a farmhouse sink but read some bad stuff about fire clay and cracks so I decided to go with cast iron. The whitehaven is self trimming so you won't have any uneven caulk lines showing. There are some really nice sinks out there but my budget did not allow for a sink that cost $1000 or $2000. I am very happy with the whitehaven. My only regret is that I did not get the 36" .

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:46PM
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We installed the Franke 33" FHK710-33 fireclay sink in white. We liked the Franke because we felt it had a bit more modern look to it as the sides are not as thick as the Rohl/Kohler we saw.

Yes, our cabinet installer had to make a special cut and there is a small gap that needed to be filled with caulk. And we used an extended flange to hook up to the disposal. No issues so far. I'm happy with the Franke.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:35PM
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I have had my Shaw's Fireclay sink for 2 months and already have pitting, which Rohl says is chipping due to impact. I selected this sink based on looks and was aware of the need to be careful, so I am convinced the flaws are not chips. Very disappointed, since I have remodeled 7 kitchens in the past 20 years and have never experienced such poor performance of a sink. The Bridge faucet from Rohl was shipped without a washer (had to run to Home Depot to buy one), is something going on with this company?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Can you undermount a Whitehaven? I see the undermount in several pictures of other sinks, but wasn't sure due to the shape of WH.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I think everyone that has a Whitehaven here has undermounted it. Mine is undermount.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:18PM
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I just got my Rohls. It's a left drain sink and there seems to be some pooling on the very left side if I move the faucet all the way to the left and run the water. When I run the water with the faucet in the middle, the water goes down properly.

Unfortunately, I went to two local shops who said I couldn't look at what they had in stock and pick and choose. And by the time I ordered the in-stock was gone so I had to take what was shipped.

I'm going to have the contractor take a look but I think I will just have to be careful not to swing the faucet all the way to the left or I have to use a sponge and move the water to the drain. Not something I would have hoped for for the cost of the sink but since the sink is so large, I think I might be able to get around the problem. My KD was actually against the farm sink for practical reasons. Will see how I like it after a year. It looks gorgeous

I added a thin piece of trim below the sink to help prevent water from running down and ruining the cabinet. I will also put a towel on the sink for every day use and just remove it when I have company

We got the Modern Lux pull down faucet from Rohl The plumber felt it wasn't their usual quality. He had to take it apart and put it back together so that it got good flow. He thought something in the cartridge was slightly misaligned. So, I do wonder if something is going on with the company.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:28AM
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I just bought the Whitehaven online. Came quickly and looks great in the box. Not installing until Dec. Can't wait to see how it looks!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 9:59PM
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