The Farmhouse Sink

The Farmhouse Sink

Let’s talk about the most classic and traditional styled sink around – the farmhouse sink. There’s a reason that it is still such a popular choice despite the multitude of modern options for kitchen sinks and laundry sinks.

The farmhouse sink was originally made out of fine fireclay and is known under many different names.

In America, they are referred to as an apron front sink, while in the UK, they are known as a london or a belfast sink. However, Australians know them as farmhouse sinks or butler sinks.

But how did they come about? 

History of the Farmhouse Style Sink

Farmhouse sinks and belfast sinks came to exist in the days long before houses had fresh running water meaning sinks had to be filled manually with water - carried from wells, rivers, streams, and lakes.

The fireclay sinks considerably large design meant that they could hold a large volume of water and therefore reduce the number of times it had to be refilled, saving time and effort of women who were predominantly in the kitchen in those archaic times.

Double Belfast Butler Sink

In the late 17th century, the belfast sink and butler sink emerged respectively in Ireland and Britain. Although they are today thought of as the same kitchen sink, they began their lives with slightly different features to suit the areas they were designed for.

London faced water scarcity, so the kitchen sink did not have an overflow to preserve every last drop of water. In contrast, the Belfast was developed with an overflow to avoid water spilling over the sides of the sink as water scarcity was not an issue.

Interestingly, the butler sink was designed with comfort in mind. As there is no cabinet or counter between the user and the sink, the user can stand directly in front without leaning over. This was great for women who were typically the main users, and surprisingly very little has changed about the farmhouse style sink since it was first invented.

The main differences between the previous designs of apron front sinks and their design today is that there are more options in sizes and number of bowls, as well as different construction materials such as stainless steel, stone, copper, and the original fine fireclay sink style. 

Farmhouse Sink Installation

It is quite a job to install a farmhouse sink compared to a typical inset sink, which is just plopped into a hole in the countertop.

Due to its weight, the farmhouse sink needs to be rested on a solid shelf in the cabinet that can hold the sink's weight. They are also installed to be lightly jutting out from the cabinets, which is beneficial as if water were to spill out, it would run down the sink and onto the floor, avoiding damage to cabinets.

The butler sink is also installed slightly below the counter level, which allows easy cleaning of the benchtop directly into the sink.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Farmhouse Sinks?


  • Farmhouse sinks can be used in both the kitchen and the laundry because of their depth and can be used for an infinite number of tasks, from washing dishes and clothes to washing babies and pets!

  • Nowadays, these sinks are available in a wide range of materials, including fireclay, stainless steel, stone and copper, making them a popular choice in modern and traditional farmhouse kitchens. There are also many different sizes and bowls available to suit any space.

  • They are quite durable and stain and scratch-resistant. However, care needs to be taken with larger items as these sinks can be chipped with a large amount of force, such as dropping a pot into it.

  • They are a lot easier to clean than stainless steel and will look great for years to come without requiring a lot of maintenance. 

Dog Washing in Farmhouse Sink 


  • The rustic character of these sinks come with an extra cost - much more than a standard stainless steel sink. As such, you’ll need to make sure it is definitely what you want before you buy.

  • Farmhouse sinks are incredibly heavy and therefore require custom cabinetry as they must rest on a shelf with the ability to support the weight of the farmhouse sink. 

Food for Thought

The farmhouse sink is an attractive investment for its style, enduring popularity, comfort of use, and practicality, durability. Whether you want the more traditional style of a classic fine fireclay sink or a contemporary stainless steel piece, there’s no doubt a white farmhouse sink will make a statement in your kitchen for years to come.

If you go with a large Farmhouse-style kitchen sink, it is best to get a  pull-out spray tap to make it easy to clean the whole sink.

There is no draining space. Often people might have had draining grooves built into their benchtop to maintain the style of the farmhouse sink.

Contact Us

If you need any more information on farmhouse sinks or any of our other sink products, please don't hesitate to phone us on  1300 301 000 or visit us in-store at 16 King Edward Road, Osborne Park, to view our extensive range.

If you have a Farmhouse sink, let us know what you love about it - leave a comment below!


31st Dec 2019 The Sink Warehouse

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