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7 Truths About Copper Sinks & Bath Tubs

The 'Right' Copper Sink

There's a lot more to selecting a copper sink and copper bath tub then meets the eye.  The reason is... not all copper sinks and copper bath tubs are created equal! 

Knowing what to look for when purchasing a copper sink or bathtub will help you avoid the disappointment of ending up with one that ages poorly... looses it's shape... turns rusty... or worse yet, starts to leak or becomes so unsightly, it has to be replaced.

Here are 7 truths about copper that will assist in your search for the perfect copper sink and copper bathtub.   

After reading this, you'll know exactly how to select the 'right' copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub.  One that will meet the demands of your busy family... be easy to care for... last for lifetimes... and, become even more beautiful with each passing day!

Truth #1...  Copper Sinks & Copper Bath Tubs Are Easy To Care For

First, let's dispel a common, long held belief... a myth, if you will... about copper. 

Most of us grew up in an age of shiny copper bottomed pots and pans that had to be scrubbed and polished on a regular basis.  As a result, we're conditioned to believe that copper is a high maintenance, pain in the you know what, item!

But actually, quite the opposite is true...  Unless you're dealing with highly polished copper pots, pans or decorative items, it's simply a myth that copper requires a lot of care. 

If you love the look of a warm, natural, golden brown patina, you'll be delighted to know that pure copper kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, vessel sinks and bath tubs don't require any maintenance!  Yes, you read that right... NO maintenance! 

The truth is... pure copper pretty much takes care of itself!  Click here to find out just how easy it is to care for your copper sink or bathtub.

Truth #2...  High Quality Copper Sinks & Bathtubs Become More Beautiful As They Age

Mother Nature has given copper a seemingly magical quality known as a 'living finish'.  This very unique characteristic sets copper apart from most other metals and is the primary reason why a pure copper sink or bath tub becomes more beautiful with age! 

When left untreated, copper interacts with its environment and naturally deepens in color and tone over time.  It begins its journey with a pinkish, salmon-like hue and very gradually darkens in color as it passes through a progression of russet browns until it finally stabilizes to a deep, rich tone. 

The speed at which it changes color and the final depth of tone for each copper sink or bathtub will differ and is greatly influenced by the amount and type of use it receives and by the prevailing weather patterns in your particular geographical location. 

The truth is... pure copper sinks and bath tubs age gracefully and become even more beautiful with every passing day! 

Truth #3...  Copper Sinks & Bath Tubs 'Heal' Themselves!

Your copper sink or bath tub will not scratch any more easily than any other fixture made for kitchen and bath.  However, should you happen to scratch the surface and end up with a bright, shiny, streak somewhere on your sink or tub, you won't need to take any steps to 'fix' it. 

Because of copper's 'living finish' properties, your copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bathtub will quite literally 'heal' itself! 

Simply go about your normal daily routine and within a very short period of time you'll notice the scratch begin to darken and slowly blend back in with the original patina! 

Here's A True Story!

Shortly after installing her gorgeous, copper farmhouse sink, a customer called to ask what she could do about a problem with the sink.

She told me that within a week of installing the sink, her 5 year old son left a fully 'drenched' glass of lemonade sitting in it.  By the time she discovered it, the lemonade had left a bright, shiny ring on the bottom of her brand new, dark patina, copper kitchen sink! 

Fearing the sink's finish was ruined, she wanted to know if there was anything she could do to restore the patina and eliminate the shiny ring.       

You can imagine her dismay, when I responded that the best thing to do was to... do nothing!  At this point, doing nothing was really the only option. 

I then reminded her about the 'living finish' properties of copper and suggested she be patient and let nature take its course. 

I assured her that her copper sink would eventually 'recover' and that the shiny ring would soon begin to darken and blend in with the rest of the sink's dark patina finish

Although I'm sure she only half believed me, she resigned herself to leaving the sink alone and agreed to allow her copper kitchen sink to 'heal' itself!

After about 3 or 4 weeks she called to let me know that the shiny ring in her sink had almost immediately begun to change color and was indeed on it's way to blending in with the original patina!

About a year later, she called to inquire about purchasing a copper bath tub.  When I asked about the ring in her copper kitchen sink, she told me that it was now barely noticeable and that she had completely forgotten about it!

~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~

side note:  I have a confession to make.  Although I knew the sink would 'recover', even I was totally amazed at the speed at which it did so.  Why? 

Here's a photo of her copper kitchen sink before it was shipped  As you can see, it has a very dark patina finish!  For the ring to darken so quickly to the point of being barely visible is truly amazing!


 

What a great testament to copper's natural ability to right, or 'heal' itself!  You've got to admit, that's pretty cool!

So, the 3rd truth about copper is... pure copper will naturally 'heal' itself!

Truth #4...  Copper Sinks & Copper Bath Tubs Are Hygienic

Another of copper's amazing properties supports the fact that copper kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, vessel sinks and bath tubs don't require any maintenance.  And, that is... 

Copper is naturally antibacterial! 

Recent studies have shown that bacteria only lives for hours on copper, as compared to living for days on stainless steel and longer still on all other types of kitchen and bath surfaces! 

You can toss out all those disinfectants and antibacterial products you've got stashed under your kitchen sink!  Bacteria will simply not live on copper!

For more info, you may want to read these online articles about copper's antibacterial properties.  (To read the articles, click on the links then use your browser's back button to return to this page). 

"Copper Answer to Food Poisoning" - BBC Online ~ Health Article, 20 August 2001

"Copper Alloys May Be Allies in Fight Against Germs" - Copper Development Association, 15 November 2004

Also, copper was recently registered with the US EPA as an antimicrobial material that kills certain types of bacteria.  Typically, this type of registration has been granted to liquids (or aerosols) and gases under the categories of sanitizers and disinfectants.  See 'Antimicrobial Copper Surfaces' to learn more. 

The 4th truth is... pure copper is naturally hygienic, making it ideal for your kitchen and bathroom.

Truth #5...  A Copper Sink & Bathtub Is Not Always A 'Copper' Sink & Bath Tub!

Not all copper sinks and bath tubs are equal.  The components that go in to producing a copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bathtub are critical to its quality, appearance, ease of use and longevity.  They account for the difference between you loving your kitchen or bathroom sink or bath tub and... well... not loving it!

Here are some basic elements to look for...

*Pure Copper vs. Recycled Copper
Although copper has been used for nearly 10,000 years, only about 12% of the known worldwide copper resources have been mined throughout history.  And, because copper is indestructible, nearly all of it is still in circulation... but mostly in 'recycled' form.

recycled copper...
When an item made of copper is discarded, it is melted down, combined with other alloys, then re-marketed in the form of recycled copper.  As a result, the majority of
copper on the market today is no longer pure copper.  It's an 80/20 or 90/10 copper/alloy mix.  And, the 'mix' portion is comprised of unknown alloys... as there is no industry standard.

The vast majority of copper products in use today... copper wiring, copper tubing, copper plumbing, copper valves, copper fittings, the copper in your home appliances, in your heating and cooling system... etc, are (with the exception of copper wiring), made of recycled copper.  

Recycled copper contains a high enough percentage of copper for the above products to perform their primary function.  And, although the alloy 'mix' in recycled copper compromises copper's luxurious look, most of these products are hidden or 'out-of-sight', so aesthetics is not an issue. 

pure copper...
On the other hand, a kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bath tub made of copper plays a dual role in your home.  It obviously must be functional, but because it is in full view at all times, it is equally important that it be aesthetically pleasing as well! 

Many of the copper sinks and bath tubs on the market today are made of recycled copper which is really not well suited to handle the dual role of function and beauty... the primary duties of sinks and bathtubs.  Only a copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub made of pure copper will truly satisfy both of these needs. 

here's why...
Kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and bathtubs are the absolute 'work horses' of your home.  They not only have to be strong enough to withstand the demands of your busy family, they must also be easy to care for and remain beautiful in the face of constant daily use! 

While copper sinks and bathtubs made of recycled copper may look beautiful when they're first installed, they usually become a huge disappointment... sometimes, very quickly and often times even before they are put to use!

The reason for this is the 'alloy mix'... that 10% or 20% mix of 'unknown' alloys that are a part of recycled copper.

In it's pure, natural state, copper has an entire menu of incredibly beneficial features... many of which are discussed here.  These features are exactly what makes pure copper the ideal choice for your kitchen and bath! 

When 'unknown' alloys enter the picture however, they, in essence, contaminate the copper.  The alloy mix compromises the integrity of copper's pure natural state and dilutes or inhibits copper's very unique characteristics that make it such a beautiful and ideal metal in the first place.   

The result?  You end up with a copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub that just doesn't quite do the job it was intended too! 

The 'alloy mix' in recycled copper can have one or all of the following effects on your copper sink or bath tub.  To a lesser or greater degree, it can...

  • compromise the natural beauty of copper
  • interfere with copper's natural 'living finish' properties
  • prevent the sink or bath tub from 'aging' well
  • cause the sink or bath tub to require extra care
  • lessen copper's antibacterial properties
  • weaken copper's natural durability
  • not stand up well to everyday use
  • cause the sink or bath tub to 'pit', rust and/or turn green
  • cost you more money in the long run because the sink or bathtub has to be prematurely replaced
  • or, worse yet... contain an alloy that may be hazardous to your health!

To illustrate this point, here's an example of a bathroom sink that is made of recycled copper.  The owners had to replace this sink after only 3 short months! 

Although a bit difficult to see in these photos, this sink has some obvious indications that it's made of recycled copper, such as:
  • 'wearing' badly - discolorations
  • signs of 'pitting' and corrosion
  • rust at the drain hole opening and side

It was so unsightly after just 3 months of use, the owner's opted to replace it.  Fortunately it was a drop-in sink and could be replaced without the added expense of removing the counter top.

By the way, the sink was purchased at a reputable home improvement center.  Oh... did we mention the sink was installed in an extra bath off the laundry room and received very little daily use?

 
Recycled Copper Bathroom Sink
 
Recycled Copper Bathroom Sink - Close Up
 

Here's another example of a copper sink made of recycled copper.  This case is even more interesting because the sink is still sitting in a showroom and hasn't even been used yet!  One can only imagine what this kitchen sink will look like once it's actually installed and put to daily use....

Recycled Copper Kitchen Sink - Front Interior
Recycled Copper Kitchen Sink - Side Close Up
Recycled Copper Kitchen Sink - Bottom View

Again, it's a bit difficult to see in the photos, but this sink also has clear indications of being constructed of recycled copper.  They include:
  • premature oxidation (see the green markings on the top side corners of the sink in the 2nd photo and on the bottom of the sink in the 3rd photo)
  • pitting and the beginnings of corrosion in the interior of the sink.  (1st photo)
  • the sink is aging poorly and quickly taking on a 'grayish' appearance rather than a warm, antique-like look.  (1st and 2nd photos) 

This sink is also from a reputable US Dealer, but the sink was made in the Orient... a region well known for its use of recycled copper!  How do we know?

US Trade Law requires all imported items to be clearly 'marked' with their country of origin.  This sink has a 'Made In XXX' stamp on it!

 

 

Now... contrast the condition of these two sinks with our customer's experience in the 'lemonade story' above and you'll have a good understanding of why it's wise to insist that your copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub be made of pure copper!   

*note:  the term pure copper refers to copper as mother nature created it... 99.9% copper!

*Weight (Gauge) Matters
Although copper is extremely durable, it's also a very soft and malleable material.  For this reason, it's crucial that your copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub be constructed of the proper weight (gauge) material.  

48 ounce (the equivalent of 16 gauge) copper is the minimum weight that copper sinks or bath tubs should be made of.  Kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and bath tubs made of 48 ounce copper will not dent easily, will be strong enough to meet the demands everyday use and will last for decades.   

Even an oversized copper kitchen sink with the added weight of a garbage disposal, or a copper bath tub with the added weight of an extra person will not require additional support when made of 48 ounce, pure copper!

How will you know what weight of copper the sink or bath tub is made of?  Simply make it a point to ask! 

If you have the advantage of physically seeing and touching the copper sink before you purchase it, here are some things to look for...

First, pick up the sink and see how it feels.  You will immediately know if you have a quality sink in your hands or not!  Trust your instincts.

A 48 ounce (16 gauge) pure copper sink, no matter how small it is, will have a 'solid' feel to it and will be heavy.  It won't feel 'light as a feather'!

Next, visually check the thickness of the copper.  If the sink is made of copper that is paper thin, it's clearly not made of the proper weight/gauge.  It will not hold up well to normal everyday use and will most likely be a huge disappointment.

*Copper Weld vs. Solder
Joints and seams of copper sinks and bath tubs are typically joined together by using one of two different processes... welding or soldering. 

Of the two, soldering is a much weaker process.  Joints and seams joined together in this manner have a tendency to split or break apart after a certain period of time.   

On the other hand, copper welding provides much greater strength.  A properly welded copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bath tub will not experience any weakening at joints or seams, nor will joints or seams break apart even after years of constant daily use.

Choose a copper sink or bath tub that has been copper-welded.  Aside from the added strength a copper weld provides, welded areas are less easy to detect when the sink or bath tub is new and even much less so after the sink or bath tub has aged. 

You can usually tell if a copper sink or bath tub has been soldered.  Soldering typically uses an alloy to join the copper seams together making the seams more visible to the eye.  Also, rather than blend in with the sink over time, solder turns black as it ages, making it even more noticeable.

*Some Final Notes:  About Finishing Touches
There are a few more things to take note of when choosing a copper sink or bath tub.  These items don't particularly affect the performance of your kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bath tub, but they do have a direct impact on overall appearance.  And, they're further indications of quality.  

hammered detailing...
First, notice the hammered detailing.  Is it perfectly uniform or more irregular?  If it's uniform, it was most likely made by a machine.  Hand hammered patterns are irregular in depth, size and texture.  They add more character to a copper sink or bathtub and are a part of what gives it a distinctly original look. 

smooth edges...
Next, notice the edges around the rims of sinks and bath tubs and along the bottom of the apron on the front of a farmhouse kitchen sink.  Are they sharp, ragged and uneven? Or are they smooth to the touch, even in size and adequately curved under for a more finished, 'polished' look?

an additional note about the apron...
Aside from checking the rim along the bottom of the apron on a copper farmhouse kitchen sink, be sure to note whether or not the apron itself has adequate support.  If it's not properly supported, the apron front could eventually loose its shape and become somewhat curved or rippled due to the weight of your body leaning up against it many times a day when doing the dishes and preparing a meal.  

patina finish...
And, finally...  what about the patina finish?  Granted, it will sometimes be uneven... that's the nature of the process.  But, does it appear to have been applied as expertly and evenly as possible?  Or does it look as if it was painted on or sloppily wiped over the surface of the sink or bath tub?  Is it blotchy or streaked?  Does it rub off easily?

These are just a few of the many elements involved in the production of copper sinks and bath tubs.  Working in unison, they play a big role in determining the quality, appearance and longevity of a copper kitchen sink, copper bathroom sink and copper bath tub.

Know the type and weight of the copper that's used in the sink or bath tub you purchase.  And notice how the sink or bath tub is constructed and completed.  Your level of satisfaction with your copper sink or copper bath tub will most certainly be dependent on it!  

Above all else, remember this most important truth... not all copper sinks and copper bath tubs are created equal!

Truth #6...  A Copper Sink & Bathtub Will Last for Generations

On occasion, we have playfully stated that our copper sinks and bath tubs could very well be the archeological treasures of some future civilization! 

But when you consider that a museum at the University of Pennsylvania displays a (pure) copper frying pan that has been dated to be more than 50 centuries old, our playful statement may not be too far from the truth!   

With just a minimum of care and assuming it's made of high grade materials, your copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink or bath tub could very well last for centuries too, and be used and enjoyed by your grandchildren's, children's, children... and beyond! 

The truth is... copper sinks and bath tubs are more than just beautiful and practical.  They're extremely resilient, cannot be destroyed and will last for generations! 

Truth #7...  You Will Love Your Copper Sink & Bath Tub!

You will be absolutely thrilled with a high quality copper kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink or bath tub.  It will fill your home with love, beauty and joy... make you the envy of your friends and neighbors... and dramatically set you, and your home, apart from the ordinary!

Copper sinks and bathtubs that meet or exceed the above recommendations will always be attractive, durable, hygienic (antibacterial), resistant and easy to care for.  What's more, they will age gracefully, last for lifetimes and become even more beautiful through the years! 

Nothing feels more wonderful than to be surrounded by beauty!  Especially in your very own home!  Your copper sink and copper bath tub will give you this experience every single day of the year!

This 7th truth about copper is much more personal than all of the others.  And, the truth is... 
You will LOVE living with copper!

Now you have some guidelines, 'truths' if you will, to choosing the perfect copper sink and copper bathtub.  Keep these in mind when purchasing your copper sink and bathtub and you will have a beautiful kitchen or bathroom fixture that will give you years of unequalled enjoyment!

Experience the Difference! 

Our copper kitchen sinks, bar sinks, bathroom sinks, vessel sinks and bath tubs strictly conform to the highest standards and are built to last!  They even come with a lifetime guarantee!

For more detailed information about how our copper sinks and bathtubs 'measure up', be sure to view our copper product specifications.  And, welcome to the magical world of copper!

 
 
 

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If you have any questions about our copper and stone kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, vessel sinks, bathtubs or natural stone floor tile, we're available to take your call and we personally answer our phones!  Just call us toll free at 1.800.679.5626

Please enjoy your shopping experience with us and thanks for visiting Treasures D' Old Mexico!  If you're building a new home or remodeling an existing kitchen or bathroom, we're confident we have the copper or stone kitchen sink, bathroom sink, vessel sink, bath tub and floor tile that's right for you

Susan & Jorge, Owners
Treasures D' Old Mexico
info@treasuresdeoldmexico.com
1.800.679.5626

 

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Copper Sink Types
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