A farmhouse sink is an excellent option if you’d like an eye-catching, centerpiece-quality sink. Featuring a wide, exposed apron, these sinks are considerably different than other popular sinks, such as undermount or drop-in sinks hidden by a cabinet. They tend to last substantially longer than top-mount sinks and maintain their look for years (with proper care).
However, if your home functions with a garbage disposal, you might be debating the merits of a farmhouse sink. After all, these sinks are quite a bit bigger than their comrades, so does a garbage disposal work with them? The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things you should know.
What Is A Farmhouse Sink?
Farmhouse sinks, also known as apron-front sinks, apron sinks, or farmer’s sinks, are a trendy option on the market today. Although they were traditionally found in farmhouses, as the name implies, they’ve made their way to modern kitchens. They’re incredibly versatile and can work with nearly any style, complementing everything from rustic kitchens to contemporary styles.
For the most part, farmhouse sinks feature an undermount setup. Due to this, you must drill holes for faucets, sprayers, soap dispensers, and other accessories into the countertop itself. They don’t feature a sink deck like most drop-in sinks, so they don’t come with pre-drilled holes.
That said, you can find drop-in farmhouse sink varieties, although options are somewhat limited. These sinks have a sink deck with pre-drilled holes for accessories and adhere to the countertop differently than their undermount counterpart.
Farmhouse sinks are popular for the broad, deep basin, with the apron front protruding out of the base cabinet. The front side of the sink is exposed and extends a few inches from the base cabinet. The basin is plenty deep enough to handle most pots and pans, even the large, awkwardly sized dishes.
Generally, these sinks feature a single basin, but you can find farmhouse sinks with a divider separating the basin.
What Are Farmhouse Sinks Made Of?
Like most other sink types, farmhouse kitchen sinks come in several materials. Many folks automatically associate farmhouse sinks with fireclay, a durable ceramic material fired at extremely high temperatures.
Aside from fireclay, farmhouse sinks are also available in the following materials:
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
The price depends on the material, but these sinks tend to be rather expensive. Stainless steel farmhouse sinks are usually the cheapest, with the other materials costing considerably more.
Are All Sinks Compatible With Garbage Disposals?
Not every sink is compatible with any garbage disposal. While most sinks can handle a garbage disposal, the most common problem is a lack of space. Larger and deeper basin sinks may consume too much space in the cabinet below, leaving too little room for the garbage disposal unit.
For the most part, garbage disposals are compatible with any sink. However, make sure you check the dimensions of the base cabinet and ensure you have plenty of space for the unit to fit beneath the sink.
On top of that, some thicker sinks, like stone or fireclay sinks, might require an extended flange to make a garbage disposal work with the sink. The thickness of the material prevents the unit from extending far enough into the drain to work, so you’ll need an extra drain flange.
Can A Farmhouse Sink Have A Garbage Disposal?
Absolutely, farmhouse sinks can have a garbage disposal. However, as mentioned earlier, you might need an additional drain flange to make up for the thickness of the sink. Certain materials might not require the extra flange, but thicker sink materials like fireclay usually need an extended flange.
You can buy an extended flange separately to make the disposal work with your sink. If you want a cohesive appearance, choose a drain flange with the same finish as your faucet and cabinet hardware. This creates a seamless appearance that flows evenly.
Aside from the flange, you’ll need to consider the space beneath the sink. Farmhouse sinks tend to be on the deep side, so they consume quite a bit of space in the cabinet beneath. Before you buy a garbage disposal for your farmhouse sink, check the measurements of the base cabinet and the available area underneath the disposal.
This way, you won’t accidentally buy a unit that is too large and won’t fit in the space under the sink. Consider compact garbage disposal options if your sink consumes a large amount of cabinet space. There are quite a few designs tailored to smaller spaces, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding the perfect unit.
Once you find the perfect garbage disposal for your kitchen, ensure you buy a flange that’s compatible with the unit. Not all flanges can be interchangeably used with any disposal, so you’ll need to find one that works with your unit.
Check with the garbage disposal manufacturer if you can’t find a compatible flange, as many manufacturers also offer extended drain flanges guaranteed to work with the company’s models.
How Do You Install A Garbage Disposal In A Farmhouse Sink?
Installing a garbage disposal in a farmhouse sink is the same process as installing one in a standard sink. The only difference here is the addition of an extended drain flange (if necessary). Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it:
- Channel-type pliers
- Garbage disposal
- Drain pipe extension parts (as required)
- Wire nuts
- Plumber’s putty
- Plug-in power cord and strain relief fitting
Once you have your tools and materials, you can begin the installation process. Of course, if you have a garbage disposal installed, you must remove the old unit first. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll probably need to have an electrician set up a control switch for the disposal.
Install The Mounting Ring
To start, you need to install the assembly that fixes the disposal in place underneath the sink. The assembly consists of a drain fitting featuring a sink flange and mounting ring. One piece fits above the drain while the other tightens against the bottom of the sink.
If you need to use a drain flange extender, you’ll install it here. To seal the drain opening, apply a ½-inch thick bead of plumber’s putty around the ring of the drain opening inside the sink.
Fit the disposal flange into the sink opening and press it snugly against the plumber’s putty. Have a helper hold the flange in place while you work underneath the sink tightening the bottom piece.
While they hold the flange, take the gasket and triangle attachment ring and set them into place. Slide them up onto the tailpiece of the sink flange, then secure the ring in place by snapping the round clip spring (or snap ring) into the groove on the tailpiece.
Tighten The Assembly
After you loosely secure the assembly, you need to tighten it. Fix it into place using the three mounting screws. Tighten each one a small amount at a time, as you don’t want to put too much pressure on the sink. If you have a fireclay sink, be careful not to overtighten the assembly, as you could crack the sink.
Continue tightening the screws underneath the sink until the sink flange above the sink sits snugly against the bottom of the sink, and excess plumber’s putty has squeezed out around the opening.
Using a clean rag, wipe away the excess plumber’s putty inside the sink.
Connect The Power Cord
Next, you need to connect the power cord. This is usually easier to do before you mount the disposal, so it’s best to do it now. To attach the cord, remove the electrical cover plate near the unit’s bottom.
Uninstall a strain relief fitting in the hole where the power cord will feed through, then tighten the new fitting with pliers. Insert the loose-wore end of the cord through the strain relief fitting, then tighten the clamp onto the cord using a screwdriver.
Use wire nuts to connect the disposal’s white lead to the power cord’s white (or neutral) wire. Then, connect the black lead to the black (hot) cord wire, and the green ground lead to the green ground cord wire. Fit the connected wires into the disposal’s electrical box, then secure the cover plate into place.
Prep The Dishwasher Connection
Sometimes, the dishwasher connection feeds through the garbage disposal toward the drain line. If that’s the case, you need to connect the dishwasher tube to the disposal. Generally, the connection will be somewhere in the middle or toward the top of the garbage disposal unit.
Find the dishwasher inlet nipple on the side of the garbage disposal’s canister, then insert a screwdriver into the nipple. Using a hammer, tap the end of the screwdriver handle to knock out the plug covering the nipple connection.
The plug will fall into the disposal’s grinding chamber. Since you haven’t plugged in the unit or mounted it on the assembly yet, go ahead and reach inside the unit to remove the plug. Remember, you should never stick your hand inside a garbage disposal. However, there shouldn’t be an issue since there’s no power to the unit, and it hasn’t been installed.
If you’d prefer to keep your hands a safe distance from the impellers inside the unit, use a pair of pliers or kitchen tongs to grab the plug from the grinding canister.
Attach The Unit
Next, you need to attach the unit. The mounting assembly is already in place, so all you need to do is align the two together. The disposal can be pretty heavy, so be careful while you maneuver it into place.
Align the top collar on the disposal with the three mounting ears on the mounting assembly. Hold the disposal in place with one hand, then take the other and rotate the top collar, so the three mounting ears engage with the mounting collar on the bottom of the drain fitting.
If you can’t hold the disposal with one hand, have a helper hang onto the disposal while you turn the collar. Don’t over-tighten the collar, as you might need minor adjustments to secure the unit fully.
After the garbage disposal is in place, you need to connect the drain lines and dishwasher lines (if applicable). Depending on the size of the cabinet and disposal, you might need extension plumbing pieces to make the drain lines work.
Once you secure the drain lines, lock the disposal in place. To lock it, tighten the rotating cam collar on the disposal using a screwdriver (or the special wrench that comes with it). Generally, you’ll feel a distinct click as the disposal locks into its spot.
Lastly, turn on the water and check for leaks. Keep an eye on all the connections between the drain and disposal, as well as the dishwasher lines and drain lines. Tighten loose areas as necessary.