Fireclay Farmhouse Sinks and Pot Filler Faucets. Recipes for Disaster.

Fireclay farmhouse sinks and wall mounted pot filler faucets placed over the cooktop are popular higher end kitchen fixtures. They both also come with risks usually never considered by the homeowners and designers that select them.

Delta Pot Filler Faucet
Curlington Farmhouse sink

While there is some risk of damage often associated with many popular kitchen conveniences repairing the damage is usually simple. For example, water damage on painted cabinetry is quite common.

These three kitchen fixtures can cause water damage to cabinetry:

  1. Tilt out trays on the sink base drawer. Homeowners place wet spongers in these tilt outs and over time the drawer front gets wet and the paint peels.
  2. Trash Can Pull Outs. Water gets dripped as people throw wet items and recyclables away. Overtime the pull out’s front door can be ruined.
  3. Farmhouse sinks. Water drips down the front of the sink and falls on the cabinet doors below. Over time the paint on the tops of the doors will peel.

The good news is that all the damage from these issues is easily repaired for a few hundred dollars. Furniture re-finishers can repair paint damage, or the cabinet doors and drawer fronts can be replaced.

By comparison, these two calamities caused by Pot Filler Faucets and Fireclay farmhouse sinks can cost many thousands of dollars.

Homeowner innocently filling their pot on the cooktop

Imagine the woman above innocently filling her pot when her cell phone rings. She runs to get her phone, says hello, and is greeted by an agitated family member. While trying talk calm her caller, the doorbell chimes and she looks through the window to see a UPS driver needing a signature for the delivery that she has been waiting for. After handling the delivery and calming her family member she returns to her kitchen just 10 minutes later.

The average pot filler will have spilled 40 gallons of water onto the cooktop and floor during those ten minutes. Many types of floors will be ruined by that much water and a finished basement below with carpeting and a pool table could easily add up to ten thousand dollars in damage.

Main Line Kitchen Design recently had a customer assure us that this would never happen to her. Because this was why she was redoing her kitchen now! The pot filler catastrophe had already happened a few months before causing $20,000 in water damage. She assured me that no one in her family would ever make that mistake again. AND SHE LOVED HER POT FILLER and wasn’t having a kitchen without one.

What if the light fixture needs to be replaced over this fireclay farmhouse sink?

Now imagine a homeowner deciding to replace a light fixture or add new window blinds over their fireclay farmhouse sink. While working on their small home improvement project the screw gun or screwdriver slips out of their hands. Tools tend to fall point down so the falling tool could puncture or crack a fragile clay farmhouse sink.

The fragility of fireclay farmhouse sinks is also why heavy cast iron pots and pans should never be cleaned in a fireclay sink. Even utensils caught in garbage disposals have been known to make the disposal shake enough to crack a fireclay sink. For this reason, Main Line Kitchen Design recommends using cast iron farmhouse sinks and not fireclay. Cast iron sinks can chip but can be easily repaired.

If a fireclay farmhouse sink breaks it is a huge problem. Fireclay sinks are custom cut into the sink cabinet with a solid wood or steel cradle supporting the sink underneath. All the supports as well as all the plumbing below must be taken out to replace the sink because it sits under hundreds of pounds of immovable countertop. And fireclay sinks are never perfectly shaped so the new sink will never fit like the old one. If you can find a contractor willing to perform this complex repair expect his bill to be many times the cost of the expensive new sink.

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Award winning Main Line Kitchen Design kitchen with a Pot Filler

Some of Main Line Kitchen Design’s customers still choose pot fillers, fireclay farmhouse sinks, and occasionally both. There is no denying that these fixtures can be beautiful, and you can see many kitchens with these features on our Houzz page. Link Here.

Part of a kitchen designer’s job is help customers become informed about what they should consider and be careful of. Homeowners should expect their kitchen designer to give them all the information they need, to make the decisions that are right for them.

As this very difficult summer comes to an end, we want to wish all our customers and the thousand people a day that read our blogs good health. Please stay safe and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Paul Mcalary

President Main Line Kitchen Design

Replies to “Fireclay Farmhouse Sinks and Pot Filler Faucets. Recipes for Disaster.”

  1. Diann Riepen

    Anybody would be crazy not to pay attention to this wise advice but there are people only interested in impressing people with their kitchen remodeling and not practical applications!!! I had a friend I visited who’s oven was as clean as a showroom model….certainly not my case, but then she NEVER cooked or baked ANYTHING AT ALL….. everything she fed her family was takeout or store bought 😳😞

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Diane,
      Kitchen designers will all tell you that the most expensive kitchens we design, and sell are seldom actually used. For example, customers who buy very expensive European appliances do this for looks only. The 20-to-70-thousand-dollar ranges that they purchase don’t actually fit a turkey or a Pizza.

      Having no wall cabinets is also common in very expensive kitchens, so that all food, glassware, plates, and spices must be put in base cabinets or located in often far away pantries or butler’s pantries.

      Marble or onyx countertops, some even that light up, can look beautiful but don’t wear well. Extra thick custom butcher block countertops cost more than the most expensive quartz colors but if you cut on them, they look worn, and no one wants that.

      There is nothing wrong with designing these statement kitchens that never get used. They look beautiful but everyone getting one needs to accept that they are really not designed to be cooked in. They really are for entertaining and for display.

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