Refinishing Cast Iron Sinks

farmhouse kitchen with green cabinet and white appliances

Cast iron sinks are a throwback to the past and can add a lot of character to a kitchen or bathroom. Cast iron sinks, unlike any other kind of sink, come with many issues involving maintenance. They can rust fairly quickly and painting them is not always a good option. If you find old cast iron sinks you can bring them back to life. If you have a cast iron sink you can keep it looking brand new. The article that follows will share with you several tips on how to refinish cast iron sinks.

Chemical Cleaning

Refinishing cast iron sinks can be a difficult job that can be made simpler by using chemicals. The main chemical to use is called trisodium phosphate. It will remove any grime or dirt on the surface of the cast iron. This will allow the removal of paint and rust easier to accomplish. Make sure you use a respirator and eye protection when using it.

Be Abrasive

pile of sanding disks

Cast iron sinks are very durable in their construction and rust has a hard time eating through the metal due to its density. It is this density that makes cast iron able to withstand a myriad of cleaning and refinishing techniques. Using a sponge or scouring pad may make some headway in the process but usually not nearly enough to completely remove rust. You can use steel wool and diamond-coated sanding pads on cast iron sinks. You can even attach one of these to a drill or power sander to do the job required.

Removing Old Paint

Many people want to paint cast iron sinks because the natural look of metal is black and the texture is rough. This does not make the sink look very appealing. In order to refinish cast iron sinks you will first need to remove the original paint. This is done by using a combination of alcohol or paint thinner (depending on the paint used) followed up by an abrasive cleaning using steel wool and a paint scraper. It may take several applications and scrapings but eventually the paint will be removed.

Repainting Cast Iron Sinks

When you remove all of the rust and old paint on a cast iron sink you will want to paint it again in order to make it look nice. This is a great idea but doing so is a process that takes time to accomplish effectively. Use a waterproof paint that is oil-based and use a dry brush to apply it to the sink in a thin layer. Allow the paint to dry completely overnight and then gently sand it down the following day using 100-grit sandpaper or a sanding block. Wipe the sink out with a tack cloth and then apply another layer of paint. Repeat the process one last time and apply a thick third layer of paint. Once this final layer of paint is dry you can apply a coat of sealer to the paint to further protect it. Make sure to not run water in the sink or place anything inside it for at least a day or two.