Your guide to getting the ideal backyard sink

An outdoor sink practical and useful for a variety of purposes, including completing your outdoor kitchen, adding it as a part of an outdoor wet bar, cleaning fish and game and gardening.

Your guide to getting the ideal backyard sink

How to get started

The first step involves planning for the backyard sink and choosing the materials. In most cases, it's not necessary to run both hot and cold water to the sink. Unless there is a need for hot water, it is cheaper to run cold water only to the outdoor sink.

Second, you will need to select the materials for your backyard sink. Stainless steel sinks are the most common, but for a more upscale look bronze and copper are also popular. Grade 304 stainless steel is ideal for outdoor sink applications. Some backyard sinks are also constructed of concrete or tile. Brass faucets work extremely well with stainless steel, bronze and copper sinks. Bronze and copper will change colour over time, so these work best for homeowners that enjoy a rustic look.

When selecting a sink and faucet, avoid materials like rubber or plastic. These materials will break down in hot or cold weather, UV rays and other outdoor conditions. Stick with materials that can withstand rain, sleet, snow and direct sunlight for extended periods. You can avoid some of the wear and tear on sinks and faucets by shielding the outdoor sink with a cover or awning, but realize that the materials still must endure extreme temperature fluctuations.

Planning for your outdoor sink

During the design phase, you will also need to consider how to drain the backyard sink and how it will be winterized. Many municipalities have strict codes regarding how outdoor sinks must be drained. In places where such ordinances are in place, the sink will need to be connected to the home's sewer or septic system.

In unincorporated areas or municipalities without such regulations, it might be possible to drain the backyard sink into an unused area of the property. However, this is inadvisable if you plan to work with chemicals or unsanitary materials in the sink, due to environmental and health concerns.

You will also need to plan how to winterize the outdoor sink so that the pipes don't freeze and burst when temperatures plummet. Address this problem by installing a shutoff valve inside the house, and using pressurized air to blow out residual water before the season's first freeze.

For a casual backyard sink used for gardening or cleaning fish and game, plumbing need be no more complicated than running a garden hose to the faucet and running a PVC pipe to the drainage point. If you are constructing a more formal sink to use with an outdoor wet bar or kitchen, the sink will need to be attached to the home's water supply via PVC pipe. This can usually be done through the kitchen water supply located at the sink or dishwasher.

Taking the time to plan ahead assures that you will end up with the outdoor backyard sink that meets all your needs.

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