Should I Get a Copper Sink?

Q. I'm thinking of installing a copper kitchen sink under granite slab on old cabinetry recently stripped and repainted white in an effort to update an old kitchen. Does anyone know anything about copper sinks? Are there any pros/cons? I'm wondering what the longevity of a copper sink is. I've read they don't turn green but instead a caramel brown color. Is this true? Should there be any concerns for resale? Would this scare a buyer off?

A. Copper is non-porous and will not stain in the traditional sense of the word. It is true that copper will oxidize and obtain a patina. That patina initially will not be even; it will spot. It will also exhibit rich color combinations ranging from pinks to greens to browns.

Problem one is that copper is much softer than stainless steel. It will scratch much easier. Copper oxidizes rapidly and eventually obtains a deep, weathered brown color. Almost anything that encounters it will oxidize it to some degree (including water). A full patina takes about a year to develop.

Copper sinks should be copper welded. I have seen soldered units and they will turn black at these joints. If welded, they will be noticeable on the new sink but eventually this will lessen in appearance. So be prepared to pay more for a welded unit. There are a lot of soldered units out there so don't get the lowest priced model, or you'll be surprised by what you bought.

Prolonged contact with hot pots and pans from the oven should be avoided. Copper has a relatively low melting temperature, and although it will not melt, some distortion can occur with prolonged contact over 300°F.

As with all metal sinks, the thicker the better. Thinner copper sinks may require additional support with a garbage disposal and an oversized sink. This is critical as the weight may distort the appearance and cause potential leaking if too much flexing is allowed.

Use a clean, soft cloth to clean or polish all copper fixtures. Polishing will remove most surface scratches. Scratches will never rust and can be polished, or in extreme cases, sanded out. I would suggest having a professional do it, if this is required.

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