vintage sink repair

gr82bgrammyJanuary 31, 2009

Hi, we still have the original 40" double bowl sink in our 1900 farmhouse kitchen. It has the backsplash built on with the original chrome bridge faucet. I believe the sink is fireclay (underneath is creamy ceramic bisque look, not iron) with porcelain. The shine is gone from the sink bowls and there is an area around the drain that is stained brown. There are a few small pits in one bowl.

We are about to put in new counter tops (Formica Laminate - Basalt Slate - resembles soapstone)and I really want to keep this sink. Have any of you repaired a vintage sink and what were the results? How do you suggest I fix it up?



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Just a guess but I'd think the same method they use to refinish claw bath tubs would be what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 5:55PM
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Here are photos of the sink...


    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 7:35PM
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If you are lucky enough to have a vintage sink (I bought my house in part because it still has the old sink) you kind of have to learn to love it for itself. Your sink is adorable!! It will never be bright white & totally shiny :-)

That said, try a little oxyclean & water paste on the brown stain. Let it sit for a while & then rinse clean. Do not use anything with chlorine bleach on it as that actually brings up the rust.

You might also try a coat of carnuba (car wax) paste on the entire sink.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:18PM
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Hi Terry,

There are companies that resurface sinks & tubs. I have had each done at two different times, & been quite pleased with the results. The caveat is that you cannot use bleach or abrasive cleansers such as Comet for cleaning. I use liquid cleaners or Barkeepers Friend or Bon Ami.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:31PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. Suzi, I do love the sink. Part of me wonders if I'll regret getting it made to look like new with reglazing techniques, after all I bought an old house for the character. I'll try the oxyclean first.

Kathleene, I didn't know about the Clorox and Comet and I'm afraid I've subjected this sink to both for the last 16 years :( Were the sinks that you had resurfaced in the kitchen or bathroom? What type resurfacing did you have done?

I really don't understand about the brown stain by the drain. This sink is made by Topeka, a pottery sink- not cast iron. What would cause the rusty spot or the dark brown where the porcelain is worn from the water?

Thanks a lot,

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 10:32PM
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If it's fireclay and not cast iron, it can be re-porcelained not just reglazed. I'm not sure if you have a company near you, but it can be done. Also steel can be re-porcelained too. I didn't look into it much further because I have a cast iron sink. The problem with cast iron is it needs to be heated to such extream temperatures that no one does it. For me reglazing is the only option but it's not as hard of a surface as porcelain so I decided against it.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 9:28AM
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The in place 'reglazing' is an epoxy based paint product.

The surface is completely dulled (sanded) to provide the epoxy with a better grip, but the material is still relatively soft and easily damaged (thus the 'no abrasive cleaners' rule).

It can be adequate for a tub or lavatory but in a kitchen sink normal wear and tear from plates and cookware are very likely to damage it quickly.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:42PM
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This place does actual fired on porcelain. I dont remember exact prices but I remember it was more than the usual cheap reglazing w/epoxy but less than a new reproduction item (like those new Kohler bathtubs with legs)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 6:21PM
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Hi Terry,

I had a bathroom tub resurfaced, & in our current house, a laundry sink. Each was reglazed as brickeyee described. The cost of the sink was about $300 in 2005, & it has held up well. I'm careful to use liquid cleaners or Bar Keepers Friend.

You have a very good-looking sink & it will be worth it to try to get it fixed. :)


    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 3:15PM
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