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Author Topic: Zinc worktop + copper pipe = expensive battery?  (Read 1163 times)
acresswell
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« on: August 07, 2017, 08:34:27 AM »

Our mud room is a space that's designed to act as a buffer between our decidedly muddy outdoor spaces and our hopefully less muddy inside spaces. 
It needs to be intensely practical, but is also the day-to-day entrance so it needs to be reasonably smart, too.

After much "prompting", I'm about to make a few cupboards and fit a sink (little ceramic thing in belfast style).  SWMBO has decided she would like a zinc worktop so it's properly waterproof and can be used for potting up plants, or leaving wet boots to dry after they've been rinsed off.  Unfortunately, she has also decided that she likes taps like this:



I'm worried that where the two metals are in contact, it will create a cell and there will be galvanic corrosion

Am I worrying unnecessarily?  or how can I work round this?

Presumably I need to earth the zinc worktop, so even if the taps can be electrically insulated from the worktop using some kind of rubber washer or top hat, I will still need to make a connection between a copper wire and the zinc worktop...

I can't use wall-mounted taps (because there's a window , so no wall to screw to!)
I've already suggested a concrete worktop and that's been vetoed.
Would it be better if I could find an acceptable stainless steel/brass tap, so there was no direct contact between copper and zinc

Thoughts please!  Thank you
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jotec
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 09:24:58 AM »

How about if the taps sit on a slate ot marble plinth, say 25mm thick. The zink could then be a good way from the copper an silicone used to waterproof it all.
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 09:46:26 AM »

Why earth the zinc worktop? Presumably the waste pipes will be plastic, what about the pipes supplying water to the tap, are they also plastic, if so earthing seems pointless imho.

Is the worktop zinc or galvanised steel - as many people seem to refer to the latter as zinc without knowing (or perhaps with knowing) the difference?
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Moxi
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 01:22:09 PM »

Hi

Definitely a galvanic cell in the making with the zinc giving up t the copper so at least you wont pin hole the tap and get a leak but the zinc would oxidise very quickly local to the tap area and if you are washing muddy bbots etc the chances of introducing minerals in to the electrolyte and exacerbating the reaction increase.

Could SHMBO be swayed by the argument that its a mud room and therefore lovely stainless steel is a lot easier to clean and more utilitarian ?  or will you be turfed out in the cold  freeze for such a suggestion ?

Moxi
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Nickel2
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 03:08:15 PM »

If stainless steel was used, it could be bead-blasted to give a rough surface that would hold the dirt and quickly discolour, giving a similar patina to 'aged' zinc.  tomatosplat
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acresswell
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 06:53:33 PM »

How about if the taps sit on a slate ot marble plinth, say 25mm thick. The zink could then be a good way from the copper an silicone used to waterproof it all.

I can make something like that work, but it still doesn't get round the question of earthing the zinc worktop...
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Antman
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 06:55:38 PM »

How about something like these https://www.bes.co.uk/search/?q=tap+fixing+kit
Pick the 1/2" version to suit thickness of worktop and tap is insulated from worktop from what I can see.
I was trying to find plastic flanged tap seating washers on their own but not managed it yet. I have seen them used them before to fit taps to oversize holes on old style sinks.
Antman
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acresswell
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 06:56:22 PM »

Why earth the zinc worktop? Presumably the waste pipes will be plastic, what about the pipes supplying water to the tap, are they also plastic, if so earthing seems pointless imho.

I have a memory of all metal sinks being earthed... and this is obviously a lot bigger.  There may be electrical appliances sat on the worktop.  If one develops  fault, the entire worktop could be live until someone touches it.  Admittedly it's less risk in these days of RCCDs, but...


Is the worktop zinc or galvanised steel - as many people seem to refer to the latter as zinc without knowing (or perhaps with knowing) the difference?

Just zinc (no steel) - it's much easier to work

Thanks
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acresswell
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 06:57:35 PM »

Could SHMBO be swayed by the argument that its a mud room and therefore lovely stainless steel is a lot easier to clean and more utilitarian ?  or will you be turfed out in the cold  freeze for such a suggestion ?

No chance!

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acresswell
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 06:59:33 PM »

If stainless steel was used, it could be bead-blasted to give a rough surface that would hold the dirt and quickly discolour, giving a similar patina to 'aged' zinc.  tomatosplat

You were doing ever so well until you said "hold the dirt"... at which point there's no way I can convince her!

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acresswell
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 07:01:10 PM »

How about something like these https://www.bes.co.uk/search/?q=tap+fixing+kit
Pick the 1/2" version to suit thickness of worktop and tap is insulated from worktop from what I can see.
I was trying to find plastic flanged tap seating washers on their own but not managed it yet. I have seen them used them before to fit taps to oversize holes on old style sinks.
Antman

They would work...

But do I still need to worry about earthing the worktop?

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desperate
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2017, 07:11:42 PM »

I would bet quite a lot of money that whatever you do to try and isolate the two metals it will be a disaster, it wont be properly waterproof for long . Ask SWMBO the question, why are 99.99999% of sinks in the country either stone, plastic or stainless steel?

Desp
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AndrewE
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2017, 09:45:22 PM »

Or just make it clear that the replacement, including all materials and labour will be at her expense!
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Warble
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2017, 09:59:12 PM »

Or you could have a copper worktop fight
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JohnS
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2017, 10:43:52 PM »

What about fitting an anode?
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