Choosing the Right Bathroom Sink
If you're reconstructing your bathroom or building a new house, you will find that your lavatory sink options are far more plentiful than they once were. Gone are the days when a simple white, round sink was the only option you had. Pedestal sinks, wall-hung sinks and vanity-mounted sinks offer a host of colors, sizes and shapes.
If you're remodeling your home, a new sink can be a budget-conscious way to completely alter a bathroom's appearance. Consider how frequently the bathroom is used, what kind of look you're going for and keep the following questions in mind as you shop to find the perfect fit:
• What style of sink best suits your bathroom?
• What color will fit best with your décor?
• How big does the sink need to be?
• Do you need storage room underneath?
• What materials are available, and what are the advantages of each?
Design Considerations, Styles and Materials
The frequency with which you use your bathroom will help to dictate which type of sink will suit you best. Seldom used guest bathrooms for example, probably will not require as much storage or counter space. In this case a stylish pedestal sink could be a perfect fit.
If you're looking to alter a large master bathroom, you may have to consider installing multiple sinks to make it easier for two people to get ready for work side-by-side in the morning. Choose a material that will wear well, look good and fit within your budget.
Color, Shape and Size: Choosing a color for your new sink will depend on the surrounding decor. Whether you wish the sink to blend in or stand out is completely your personal preference. The available shapes include round, oval, rectangle and asymmetrical designs.
Some sinks are specially designed to fit into corners while others work better out in the open. If you need storage room, install a vanity-mounted sink. If you're installing the sink in a smaller bathroom and want to conserve floor space choose a pedestal or wall-hung sink.
• Colors range from muted earth tones to bold, bright colors
• Deeper sinks minimize the chances of water splashing back out
• Choose the largest sink you have room for to maximize available space
• 34 inch is a typical installation height
Pedestal, Vessel and Wall-Hung Sinks: In smaller bathrooms, powder rooms or guest bathrooms, pedestal, vessel and wall-hung sinks can provide style without taking up a lot of floor space. Because they do not provide storage room, however, they may not work well in large or frequently used bathrooms.
Be sure that the faucet spout is long enough to reach the bowl and bear in mind that freestanding sinks do not usually have an overflow hole and need to be fitted with a grid drain. Vessel sinks also called countertop sinks, sit directly on a counter and make a bold design statement. Faucets are often wall-mounted above a vessel sink.
• Wall-hung sinks are economical and easy to install
• Wall-hung sinks can easily accommodate wheelchairs
• Pedestal sinks offer a range of styles from victorian to contemporary
• Pedestal sinks may require a larger up-front investment
• Choose a toilet to complement a pedestal sink's stylized leg
• Make sure a countertop sink doesn't sit up too high
Vanity-Mounted Sinks: If you need storage space for toilet paper, cleaning products and more, a vanity-mounted sink is the perfect choice. They do require more floor space, so you'll want to install them in larger bathrooms. There are a number of styles available making it easy to choose one that best suits your bathroom.
Self-rimming sinks are dropped into a hole in the countertop and are easy to install, though the rim joint can be difficult to keep clean. Integral sinks are molded from the same material as the counter, usually a solid-surface material. They are stylish and easy to install and clean though you would need to replace the entire unit if either the sink or counter gets damaged. Integral sinks are often oval or round, but they may be rectangular or even trough-shaped.
• Self-rimming sinks sit just above counter level and can be matched to the faucet
• Self-rimming sinks may be more difficult to install and keep clean
• Under-mounted sinks have a low profile and emphasize the look of the countertop
• Countertops must be completely waterproof if you install an under-mounted sink
• Flush-mounted sinks are used with tile counters and have square edges equal in thickness to the tiles,
allowing them to sit flush with the countertop
Materials: Sinks are available in a wide range of materials though some styles such as under-mounted sinks, can only be made from certain materials. Use the chart below to learn more about some of the more commonly used materials.
Points to Consider
|Cast Polymer||Includes cultured marble, cultured granite and cultured onyx. Polyester resin mixed with ground marble and finished with a gel coating.||• Mixes the look of stone with the molding
potential of synthetic materials
• Extremely durable
• Gel coating may crack over time
• May not retain shine
|Composite Materials||Made from acrylic resins and ground minerals. Color is solid through thickness of sink.||• Tough and durable
• Available in a range of colors
• Use nonabrasive cleaners to prevent
|Copper/Bronze||Thicker materials will add durability and expense.||• Acquire a warm patina with age
• Use non-abrasive cleaners
|Enameled Cast Iron||Cast iron finished with enamel. Thickness provides a substantive look.||• Easy to clean
• Available in many rich colors
• Heavy−may require extra counter
|Enameled Steel extra counter support||Made by spraying enamel on die-cast sheet metal and firing at high temperatures. Resembles cast iron.||• Lightweight
• Slim edge profile
• Susceptible to flexing that can result in
cracks in the finish
• May chip easily
|Glass||Comprised of thick, tempered glass.||• Won't shatter
• May show water spots
• Use nonabrasive cleaners
• Ideal for countertop sinks
|Solid-Surface Materials||Made with acrylic and/or polyester resins and baked into sheets. Resin provides flexibility while polyester provides dramatic coloring.||• Stain-resistant
• Available in a variety of colors
• Withstand heavy use
• Can be used for integral sinks
• Require installation by an authorized
dealer to maintain warranty
|Stainless Steel||Quality varies according to thickness, or gauge, and nickel content. The thicker the gauge and greater the concentration of nickel, the better the quality and higher the expense.||• Durable
• Easy to clean
• Thicker steel (18 gauge) resists water
spots and dents
• Thinner steel is more economical
• Thin steel (22 gauge) may dent more
easily and show scratches more quickly
|Stone||Marble, granite, soapstone and onyx are commonly used. May also be cultured stone, a mixture of crushed stone and plastic resins.||• Highly durable
• Under-mounted and wall-mounted units
may require extra support
• Requires periodic resealing
|Vitreous China||A pottery product made of clay fired at high temperatures. Often features a decorative pattern.||• Easy to clean
• Low moisture absorption inhibits mildew
• Resists discoloration and corrosion
• May chip when struck by heavy objects
|Wood||Typical species used include oak, birth, mahogany, teak and maple. Natural resins are extracted and replaced with artificial ones, after which wood is sealed with layers of epoxy.||• Provide a beautiful, stylish look
• Should be cleaned and wiped down after
• Feature intricate construction
• Offer a warm, soft appearance
• Wax periodically to ensure durability
Shroud: If you choose to install a wall-mounted sink and don't like how the pipes look then you could use a shroud to cover them and provide a stylish look.
Painted Motifs: Hand-painted designs may add some cost but may also provide a unique and exquisite look. Designs may range from simple and classical to modern and intricate. You can even find animals and cartoon characters for sinks being installed into children's bathrooms.
Etching: Glass sinks with etched bottoms are less likely to show water spots.
Console Sinks: Console sinks are a sort of hybrid mixture of a pedestal sink and a vanity. They feature a large basin and two-to-four table-like legs. Some models include storage space below for added utility.