I’ve had a functioning toilet in the basement for several months, but my only access to water had been my outdoor faucet and garden hose. In the warmer months that worked fine, the first bucket was actually warm water. However with the colder temps and the need to clean paint brushes/rollers it was time to get my cement utility sink functioning.
The concrete sink was original to the house; most likely made in 1924 by the same company that made my first floor tub, the Crane Co. This stamp was on the bottom. It is a two basin, solid concrete sink and as with all the other plumbing in the house the faucet and pipes had been stolen. It sat on a rusty, broken metal stand and it’s really a wonder why it had not crashed to the ground on its own accord.
The drain holes for each side met and emptied in the center via a metal piece that was rusted and taped to a rubber hose that pointed towards a drain in the basement floor. When I removed the tape and hose, so that I could connect it to my plumbing the metal piece broke off. I took these pictures and the broken piece to several plumbing stores and everyone told me the sink could not be fixed. The construction of those sinks was such that the metal drain was actually set in the concrete itself. Bust it up with a sledgehammer and buy a plastic utility sink was the consistent advice.
The restorer in me couldn’t accept that, so not to be deterred I started doing Internet searches on vintage concrete sinks. It led me to sites of modern, slot drain sinks. These sinks took a long linear trough like pan and
attached it underneath the sink to capture all the water that fell through the slot of the sink, like this one shown to the left. The pan had a hole in the center that connected to the plumbing. With that my idea to salvage my sink was born. All I needed to do was find a drain that would cover both holes in my sink, something approximately 7″ x 7″ in size.
Further searches led me to an Oatey Floor-Mounted Utility Sink with 3-Inch Socket, which I was able to order from Amazon. The opening measured 12″ x 12″ with a height of 9.25″. The height I hadn’t wrestled with in my mind, but the opening I knew would be perfect. With help I got the sink lowered off its crumbling stand onto a skid upside down. From there the experiment began.
I took a stiff brush and scrubbed the bottom to ensure a clean surface for the JB Weld 2-part epoxy I purchased to attach the drain to the sink. I don’t think it was needed as there were no cracks that went completely through the sink, but for added measure I
bought a quart can of Flexi-Seal (late night TV infomercial got me) and painted the underside and back also. Now all I needed was help to get it set back up on its new stand, which was made for me by my real estate agent’s daughter, Anna Petersen.
She is a welder/artist and operates out of a shop in Camp Washington less than a mile from my house. I wish I could have been at her shop when she was making it, but my schedule didn’t jive with hers. Fortunately she documented the process for my blog.
The original stand had bolts at each weld point, so I did add those as an added precaution given the weight of the sink. I also addressed the height of the drain by having Anna make the new stand taller.
Having a functioning sink came at the right time given this is what I had to brush my teeth for the first 5 days of living in my house. It was also nice to be able to wash my hands and not just rely on hand sanitizer or Clorox Wipes when needed.
Anna is available for other welding projects and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will connect again when I get ready to make the desk for my office out of dried wood slabs of trees I cut down from my backyard.