A dozen years ago or more, when I was considering what sort of sink I needed for my kitchen, I wanted stainless steel. I’m pragmatic – while the idea of a gorgeous stone or marble sink satisfies my sense of esthetics, a practical, gleaming stainless steel sink is more to my liking. You drop things in it and they don’t break; it wipes up clean in an instant; it lasts forever.
So, I began my research. Weeks later, I had all the information I needed to convince me that I could either buy a whole new house or a stainless steel sink – the cost was simply prohibitive. I turned to a friend in the U.S. who makes sinks. He’d do it for me, but with the shipping cost, it too was out of the question.
Somehow, I settled on zinc, a wonderful, pliable, beautiful material. If you drop something in zinc sink, it doesn’t break; it wipes up clean, it has no shine but instead a beautiful grey patina.
Fast-forward to a persistent leak in my gorgeous zinc sink a few years ago.
I got on the phone to zinc roofing companies, to see if they could do the repair. The response was uniform. “Quoi? An évier en zinc?” “What, a zinc sink?” This was code for “We will not come to your house to fix a zinc sink. We’ve never even heard of a zinc sink.”
I panicked. What was I to do? A friend of mine knew someone who knew someone, and that someone worked with zinc. My friend needed some unusual zinc work done too, so she had him come to her house to give an estimate. He was scheduled to visit mine right after. She called. “Get ready for him, Susan. He’s really drunk, but he insists he can do the job.”
He stumbled into the kitchen, and I feared for his health. But once he saw that zinc sink, he sobered right up. Soldering iron in hand, he did a decent job and my sink stayed dry for three years.
A few weeks ago I was presented with the same dilemma, a hole-y zinc sink. This time, though, I knew where to go. I’d just had part of my roof re-zinced, and the man who did it wasn’t afraid of a sink.
Oh, he complained and huffed and puffed as he snipped and soldered, but he got the job done. And because he’s an expert, he used heavy-duty zinc, made welds to last, and promised I wouldn’t have to call him back for twenty years.