How to Choose a Bathroom Sink

Looking for a budget-friendly way to update your bathroom? Install a new sink

How to Choose a Bathroom Sink

If you are remodeling your bathroom or building a new house, you will find that your bathroom sink options are more plentiful than ever.

This guide will help you make sense of the pedestal sinks, wall-hung sinks and vanity-mounted sinks that all offer a host of colors, sizes, styles and shapes.

Design & Size

Sink shapes include round, oval, rectangle and asymmetrical. Some are specially designed to fit into corners while others work better out in the open.

Tip: If you need storage room, install a vanity-mounted sink. If you are 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 blues and greens.
  • Deeper sinks minimize the chances of water splashing out.
  • Choose the largest sink you have room for to maximize available space.
  • The typical installation height is 34 inches.


Pedestal, Vessel and Wall-Hung Sinks

In smaller bathrooms, powder rooms or guest bathrooms, pedestal, vessel and wall-hung sinks provide style without taking up a lot of floor space.

Because they do not provide storage, 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 don’t usually have an overflow hole and must be fitted with a grid drain.

Pedestal sinks offer a range of styles from Victorian to contemporary. They may require a larger up-front investment.

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, easy to install and can easily accommodate wheelchairs.
  

Vanity-Mounted Sinks

If you need storage space for toilet paper, cleaning products and more, a vanity-mounted sink is the perfect choice. These require more floor space, so install them in larger bathrooms.

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 may need to replace the entire unit if either the sink or counter gets damaged.

Integral sinks are often oval or round, but some models are rectangular or even trough-shaped.

  • Self-rimming sinks sit just above counter level and can be matched to the faucet. They 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

Most sinks are available in a wide range of materials, though some styles, such as under-mounted sinks, can only be made from certain materials. Commonly used sink materials include cast polymer, copper, enameled cast iron, enameled steel, glass and stone.

Sink material Characteristics

Cast polymer

  • Polyester resin mixed with ground marble and finished with a gel coating
  • Includes cultured marble, cultured granite and cultured onyx
  • Extremely durable
  • Gel coating may eventually crack or shine may fade

Composite

  • Made from acrylic resins and ground minerals
  • Color is solid throughout sink
  • Tough and durable
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Requires nonabrasive cleaners to prevent scratches

Copper/ bronze

  • Very durable
  • High upfront cost
  • Acquires a warm patina with age
  • Requires nonabrasive cleaners

Enameled cast iron

  • Thickness provides a substantive look
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in many rich colors
  • Chip-resistant
  • Heavy weight; may require extra counter support

Enameled steel

  • 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 or chips in the finish

Glass

  • Comprised of thick, tempered glass
  • Won't shatter
  • May show water spots
  • Ideal for countertop sinks
  • Requires nonabrasive cleaners

Solid-surface

  • Made with acrylic and/or polyester resins baked into sheets
  • Resin provides flexibility while polyester provides dramatic coloring
  • Stain-resistant
  • Can withstand heavy use
  • Requires 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
  • Easy to clean
  • Thicker steel (18 gauge) resists water spots and dents
  • Thinner steel is more economical but may dent or show scratches more easily

Stone

  • Marble, granite, soapstone and onyx are commonly used
  • May also be cultured stone, a mixture of crushed stone and plastic resins
  • Highly durable
  • Heavy; 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 growth
  • 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
  • Expensive
  • Should be cleaned and wiped down after every use
  • Features intricate construction
  • Wax periodically to ensure durability

Features

Choose from features such as painted motifs and etching to personalize your bathroom sink to match your décor.

  • If you choose to install a wall-mount sink and don’t like how the pipes look, use a shroud to cover them and provide a stylish look.
  • Hand-painted designs may add some cost, but they provide a unique, exquisite look. Designs range from simple and classic to modern and intricate. You can even find animals and cartoon characters for sinks being installed in children’s bathrooms.
  • Glass sinks with etched bottoms are less likely to show water spots.
  • Console sinks are a sort of hybrid 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.