The Problem With Farmhouse Sinks

Three things to know before choosing a farmhouse sink breaks your kitchen renovation budget (and heart)…


Being a total newbie to home renovations (since we bought our old farmhouse when it was already flipped) has made jumping into our mini kitchen renovation quite an eye-opening experience!  The main thing that surprised me is how much things cost: when you have to factor in the raw materials – i.e. new sink, faucet and countertops – and then specialized labor when you pull in plumbers, finish carpenters and counter fabricators, that ever-so-carefully calculated renovation budget gets blown up in a flash.

Of course you can make trade offs, like choosing different materials or fixtures to shave thousands off costs, but once I set my heart on a farmhouse sink I couldn’t really find a good alternative! So, in my quest to stay on (ok, close to) a reasonable budget and still get the modern farmhouse look, here are three things I learned you should keep in mind if you’re choosing a farmhouse sink.

Size matters

For some reason, I had it in my head that the width of cabinets under sinks was standardized to a certain extent. Maybe not news to those of you with a little something called “common sense”, but I had no idea that not only did cabinet width vary wildly, but even a few inches of sink width translates to hundreds of dollars. For example, this Kohler Whitehaven farmhouse sink  ranges from $780 to $1500 depending on width.

Labor pains

Farmhouse sinks aren’t the cheapest option to start with, so when our contractor quoted the cost of building the necessary supports inside the sink cabinet at double the cost of the actual sink, I had to choke back a sob. (And head back to the drawing board). Depending on where you live, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to shore up your existing cabinets to hold the heavier weight of a farmhouse sink, plus possibly much more if you have to rebuild the cabinet face or retrofit cabinet doors to fit the tall sink apron.

Material things

Researching farmhouse sink materials uncovered gorgeous images of warm copper, modern stainless steel and rustic stone sinks I had no idea existed! I gravitated towards the clean, bright quintessential white version, yet even then you have a choice between fireclay, porcelain, enameled cast iron, quartz or composites, to name a few – and those materials encompass a wide range of prices. For example, a porcelain farmhouse sink will be at the lower end of the range, and fireclay or cast iron will take a bigger chunk out of your budget. Factor in which sink style looks right in your kitchen and the level of durability you’re comfortable with – will it get used daily by young kids and teens, or can you choose a more affordable, possibly less durable one if only adults will be using it – and you’ll be able to narrow down your options. (Here’s an article about different farmhouse sink materials I found helpful.)

To be honest, in order to make the budget workable with a farmhouse sink and all of its associated costs, I had to make some compromises in the final one I chose. But I think it’ll still provide the look I’m aiming for while hopefully saving us thousands.

Stay tuned to see which sink I picked!



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