A drainboard sink is one of the most practical of kitchen innovations. Long a fixture of vintage kitchens, a kitchen sink with drainboard is also a popular industrial kitchen feature as it is ideal for busy spaces that need a pragmatic sink option.
What is a Drainboard Sink?
A drainboard sink is one with the drainboard integrated into either one or both sides of the sink. A drainboard is an area beside the basin that is sloped with ridges to allow the dishes to sit off the surface and dry easier than on a flat surface.
Kitchen sinks with drainboards have various configurations. These include single and double basins as well as single or double drainboards. They are crafted from different materials, though most modern drainboard sinks use stainless steel. You can also install them various ways including drop-in and undermount styles as well. Some have apron fronts such as farmhouse drainboard sinks while others are more sleek and spare in form.
We want to help make choosing the best sink easier because there are so many options for these sinks. Consider all of the factors before deciding if a drainboard sink will work for your home.
Materials for Drainboard Sinks
Each material used for a drainboard kitchen sink has qualities that give it a different look, durability, and price point.
A stainless steel sink with drainboard is the most popular type of drainboard sink. Stainless steel is a durable material that is also easy to maintain.
It has natural antibacterial qualities and is resistant to scratches. Plus, it is one of the most affordable options for sinks with drainboards. You can find a stainless sink with drainboard options both double and single.
Cast iron drainboard sinks have a vintage but timeless charm that work well in traditional and classic kitchen styles. Most vintage drainboard sinks are made from cast iron as well as vintage drainboard sink replicas. A cast iron sink with drainboard is durable, scratch and stain resistant. It retains heat well which makes washing dishes more pleasant and efficient if you are washing many dishes at a time.
On the other hand, a cast iron drainboard kitchen sink is one of the heaviest options available and may not work for cabinets without structural support. They are also a more expensive drainboard sink option.
Copper kitchen sinks with drainboard areas are not a common choice, but there are options out there for those wanting to add a distinctive look in their kitchen. Copper is durable, strong, beautiful and recyclable. It also has antibacterial properties like stainless steel that make it an ideal sink material.
Copper sinks are prone to scratches and smooth finishes may get dinged. Choose the best quality copper drainboard sink in order to ensure that it lasts over time.
Fireclay sinks are made from a combination of clay and glaze that are fired at a very high temperature. This produces one of the most durable materials for drainboard sinks available. Fireclay drainboard sinks are non-porous, scratch resistant, and resistant to chips and dings. Fireclay is an easy maintenance material that you can keep clean with a quick wipe down each day.
Fireclay drainboard sinks have a similar look to cast iron drainboard sinks but are a more reasonable price. Many fireclay sinks have a farmhouse drainboard sink style, though in general, there is not the same variety that exists for other materials like stainless steel.
Granite composite sinks consist of a material that includes granite mixed with crushed quartz, stone dust, and acrylic resin. It is a durable and strong material that is common for brown and black drainboard sinks. It is heat and scratch resistant. Though granite composite sinks are lighter than full granite sinks, they will still require some extra structural support.
Cast acrylic is a common alternative to cast iron or fireclay sinks. Acrylic drainboard sinks have a similar look to cast iron but it is lighter and less expensive. These sinks come in a wide range of colors and also different finish options including gloss and matte. Acrylic drainboard sinks are not as scratch or heat resistant as stronger materials. Heat damage may cause the sinks to discolor or warp the finish.
The most common mounting options for drainboard sinks are drop-in sink or an undermount sink.
- Drop-in Sink – A drop-in sink is also called a top mount sink, over mount sink, or self-rimming sink. It has a rim around the edge that curves over the countertop. You can drop this sink into a pre-cut hole in the countertop. The edge of the countertop supports the sink which works well for heavy drainboard sinks made of fireclay and cast iron. This style is not as sleek as undermounting and also creates a rim that makes it hard to brush crumbs into the sink. It also creates an edge that traps crumbs between the sink and counter.
- Undermount Sink – Undermounted sinks are a modern style that has gained popularity over time. These consist of sinks that are mounted below the counter edge. This creates a sleek style that doesn’t require any extra counter space for the rim. Most drainboard sinks are drop-in varieties because of the water that can collect on the drainboard. This style is not as good for heavy sink varieties like cast iron and fireclay.
You can find drainboard sinks ranging in many sizes. These sinks tend to be larger than other small sink varieties because of the drainboard extension. Some of the smallest sizes were 24- 27 inches long (side to side) and 18 inches wide (front to back). Medium drainboard sink sizes range from 30-40 inches long and 18-20 inches wide. Large drainboard sinks which often feature two basins with two drainboards can range from 45-70+ inches long and 20- 24.5 inches wide.
Drainboard Sink Pros and Cons
Drainboard sinks are a practical and beautiful sink option for many kitchen designs. Yet, they do have drawbacks that you should consider before you purchase one for your space.
- More Space for Dishes – Drainboards with one or two drainboards allow plenty of extra room to do the dishes and allow them to dry without crowding up your counter space.
- Energy Savings – Allowing dishes to air dry rather than using an automatic dishwasher allows you to save energy costs.
- Fragile Items – Hand washing items like crystal glasses is better for them than using an automatic dishwasher and having plenty of space to allow them to dry keeps them safer.
- Place for Hot Dishes – The drainboard will allow you an extra place to set hot dishes and pots if you opt for a heat resistant drainboard sink. Use granite composite, fireclay, or stainless steel if you want the most heat resistant option.
- Counter Space – Drainboard sinks tend to take up more space than conventional sinks. This may not be the best option if counter space is a premium in your kitchen.
- Maintenance – Most sinks with drainboards feature ridges and valleys. These can collect debris and dirt over time that you must wipe down to keep clean.
- Cost – Drainboard sinks are not as common as standard sinks. Therefore, these will be more expensive because they are a custom style.
Drainboard Sink Buying Guide
We have scoured the options to find you some quality drainboard sinks of all types and sizes.
Elkay Lustertone Classic Stainless Steel Drainboard Sink
This is a drop in drainboard stainless steel sink from Elkay. It features the highest quality 18 gauge nickel bearing stainless steel. It is scratch resistant and durable for hard wearing kitchens. It is 43 inches from side to side and 22 inches from front to back. It is 10 inches deep.
Tansi Double Bowl Drop-in Sink
This double sink with drainboard is fabricated with a granite composite making it durable and easy care. It is scratch and stain resistant meaning that it will look great for years to come. This design features a double basin. It is 46 inches long and 19.5 inches wide. It has a depth of 16 inches.
Whitehaus Vintage Farmhouse Drainboard Sink
This farmhouse drainboard sink is made from fireclay, one of the most durable and easy care sink materials available. It features an attractive apron front, indicative of the farmhouse sink style.
It is finished on both sides, so that you can mount the drainboard on the right or left side. You can install this sink as an undermount or even a flush mount style where the top is level with the counter. It is 36 inches long and 20 inches wide. It has a depth of 10 inches.
Cast Iron Wall Mount Drainboard Sink
This sink is a good option for you if you are looking for a vintage kitchen sink with drainboard. It features cast iron which is the most common historic material for vintage sinks. You must mount this particular sink on the wall as the flange around the sink is too high to mount on a base cabinet. This sink is 42 inches long and 20 inches wide. It is 16 deep.
Copper Double Drainboard Sink
Consider a copper drainboard sink if you are in the market for a one-of-a-kind sink. Copper is durable, antibacterial, and beautiful. This sink features a double drainboard and a wide basin useful for washing large pots and pans. It is crafted from 16 gauge copper. You will need to reapply a beeswax coating about every month to keep it looking its best. It is 71 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 9 inches deep.