Should You Sealcoat Your Copper Sink?

Posted on: 27 March 2018

Copper sinks provide a lovely combination of rustic coloration and shine, but cleaning them so that they look consistent can be inconvenient for many homeowners. One option is to sealcoat the sink because what's really creating the changes is contact with other substances. But sealcoating may not work for everyone, even though it works well for many. If you are curious about sealcoating, consider what the future care of the sink would really be like.

Preserving a Certain Level of Patina

The main reason to sealcoat is to suspend the progress of the patina. As copper sinks age and are exposed to more substances -- everything from air to water to food -- they develop a patina or colored sheen that looks like corrosion at first. The patina dulls the coppery orange-pink of the new material and turns it brown or reddish-brown.

While a patina may look bad on copper cooking pots, this is not a bad thing for a sink. The patina makes the sink blend in more with its surroundings and gives the bathroom or kitchen a well-used look that is still neat. However, the patina changes over time, noticeably. If you want to preserve a certain level of patina, the sealcoat is essential. That puts a solid (albeit invisible) layer between the copper and other substances. If all you want to do is suspend patina progress, adding a sealcoat is the right move.

Scratch Problems

However, sealcoats can scratch. And if they scratch, the area exposed by the scratch will start changing color again. You could clean the scratch area, wait for it to reach the same level of patina as the rest of the sink, and then recoat it.

For kitchen sinks, that's going to be an ongoing job. Pots, pans, things dropping into the sink -- they'll all be scratch risks for the sealcoat. But a bathroom sink might fare relatively well and not have as many scratch risks.

Care Over Time

A non-coated sink will need constant cleaning if you want to keep the patina in a certain range. You may see the formation of verdigris, that bluish-green stuff that you see on copper roofs on old buildings. A coated sink will still need cleaning, but verdigris shouldn't form -- yet you'll have to be careful not to scratch the sink. Do not use scouring pads and be very careful about using abrasive powders to clean the sink. If you don't want to take that sort of care when cleaning, a coating might not be best.

Talk to copper sink sellers about the materials you can use to care for the copper, coated and non-coated. You may find that a coated sink is best for your bathroom and non-coated for the kitchen, or you could find another combination that works.


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