Introduction: Refinishing an Antique Porcelain Sink


The house I live in came with an old porcelain kitchen sink, it's several decades old and is showing it's age from wear and tear. So instead of replacing it I decided to refinish it. I don't have many before pictures but you can see in the pic this is what the sink looks like that I am going to refinish, it was chipped and peeling. Some parts are even down to the bare cast iron.

To accomplish the repair I'm going to use a product specifically made for refinishing enamel sinks and tubs.

So lets get into it!

Step 1: Materials


  • Sink and Tub Surface Preparation Kit
  • Sink and Tub Epoxy Refinishing Kit
  • Chip brush
  • Epoxy thinner
  • Paper towel
  • Nitrite gloves

Step 2: Surface Preparation

*Don't forget to put on safety equipment, at a minimum wear gloves while refinishing so your hands are protected from any harsh chemicals or abrasives.*

The first step to prepare the sink for refinishing. I did this by using a prep kit, it had a sanding pad and some abrasive paste that you scrub in a circular motion all over the surfaces you want to refinish.

Once done scrubbing, the sink was rinsed clean with lots of water.

After rinsing the sink was washed down using a solution of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) it's not the best stuff for the environment but it is a very powerful cleaner. Again the surfaces were rinsed clean. Dry the sink really well before the next step.

Step 3: Refinishing the Sink With Epoxy

Ideally you should remove any fixtures or drains before refinishing but I just masked them off with tape as I didn't want to deal with any potential problems that could arise from removing a drain that has been there for who knows how long.

To re-coat the sink I am using a two part epoxy purposely make for refinishing sinks and tubs. I'm using Klenk's Epoxy Enamel kit. It comes in two parts and you mix the resin and hardener together and stir well. It's a pretty slow setting epoxy so you don't have to worry about the mixture going exothermic (epoxy starts getting hotter and hotter after mixing) too much.

Since I didn't need all of the epoxy mixed because my sink is small, I measured it out in a glass jar using a scale. Roughly a 1:1 ratio by volume but I estimated it to be the same by weight as well. Let sit for 15 minutes to let the mixture set up.

So this is the really stinky part, I'd suggest if you are going to do this that you it before you go on vacation so you can leave the sink alone for a few days so the epoxy has time to cure. Also your house will will smell like epoxy but the smell does go away quickly once the epoxy has set.

To apply the epoxy, I'm using a soft chip brush. It gives a nice smooth finish and the brush will be ruined unless you clean it with epoxy thinner. Smash the bristles of the brush into a piece of masking tape to remove any loose bristles.

I give the whole sink a wipe down with epoxy thinner, you could also use lacquer thinner. This stuff is really stinky, I ended up wearing a respirator while working with the epoxy.

Painting the epoxy on is easy, just apply in short overlapping strokes, on the vertical surfaces don't apply it too thick or you'll get runs, it's better to do multiple coats instead of one thick coat.

In between coats I put the epoxy in the freezer, as it will help slow down the hardening process.

Let the first coat set for a few hours and you can come back and add another coat, repeat many times as needed but try not to wait to long between coats. I personally found that 6-8 hours between coats was good.

Once finished avoid using the sink for a few days, ideally give it a week to reach full hardness.

I'm very happy with the end result and I've been using it for several months and so far the finish is holding up really well. It was nice to give new life to an old sink and I hope this inspires some of you to do the same. I should get many more years of use from this sink before it needs to be refinished again.

Check out my video on the whole process too:

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