Not as much may have to be dealt with in bathroom sinks unlike that of the kitchen, but they're still very much important.
People often select new bathroom sinks simply from looks.
While appearance and design are essential, there are many other things which should be considered.
You may want to consider these few questions before you start you search:
- Do you want to replace a sink?
- If yes, are you making use of the same countertop, with the same cutout?
- Are you replacing the faucet as well?
Your options will obviously be limited if you change nothing, but then the process is also made easier.
Ensure to take careful measurements so that the new sink can fit precisely (and is compatible with the retained faucet).
Note that even if you cannot modify the installation area, you may be able to switch from undermount to drop-in or vice-versa for a vivid change without any real modification.
Do you want – or need – a vanity? It's nice to have a big countertop to place things, but it may not fit into all bathrooms.
If you have a worn out vanity, you may want to take it out completely and use a wall-mounted or pedestal sink for a better look.
If you want to retain the vanity or get something new, ensure you can easily modify the countertop.
Sink Buying Guide: Sink types
Besides being the most common type of bathroom sink, drop-ins are also the easiest to install (mainly in stone countertops, whose cutout edges do not require polishing, unlike undermounts).
The bowl is placed in a cutout on the counter, with the sink's outer rim resting on the countertop (sealed with SinkSEAL or silicone).
Precautions must be taken while a drop-in sink is being sealed, as the gap between counter and rim can eventually harbor excess water, filth, and mold.
These sinks have many varied rims – some large and bulky, while others barely noticeable. Be sure to select one based on the style of your bathroom.
Just about any faucet can fit into a drop-in sink, either mounted in the counter or the sink deck.
If you want to go for a deck-mounted faucet, select that prior to purchasing the sink so that it's compatible.
When installing on the countertop, ensure your chosen faucet can extend comfortably to the sink.
Pro Tip: It's always best to choose the faucet and then match the sink to its requirements.
Sink Buying Guide: Undermount
The undermount style is a good choice if you desire something stylish and sleek.
These are mounted below the counter, providing a neat drop off from the counter to the sink (and also easy cleaning of countertop).
This exposes the counter edge, so ensure to have waterproof countertop material before you choose an undermount sink (keep in mind that the edges of stone countertops must be completely polished and sealed when using an undermount sink).
A main thing to consider with an undermount is the sink's “reveal” – the visible part of the sink rim underneath the countertop as a result of cutout size.
The suggested reveal will be specified by most manufacturers, but many expert installers can give you what you want.
A positive reveal leaves a visible rim up to 1/2 inch; a negative reveal does not show any rim; a flush or zero reveal ensures the sink rim and counter edge flush (requiring the most skill for installation).
No matter the amount of reveal, the space between counter and sink must be properly sealed with silicone under extreme care. Intrusion of water and mold development can result from dreary installations and comprise countertop integrity as well as sink connection.
Due to the exact size requirement of the counter cutout, it may be slightly more challenging to replace an undermount sink than its counterparts.
During replacement, precisely measure the present cutout, and closely identify the specifications of the manufacturer for your preferred replacement undermount.
In the absence of a sink deck, undermounts necessitate a faucet installed on either the wall or the countertop.
For counters, once again choose a faucet which will extend conveniently over the sink.
If you're drawn towards a wall-mounted faucet, consider these things:
- Are there any studs blocking it?
- Can an access panel be placed nearby for servicing or repair?
- Will there be a risk of freezing of the water supply from being in an external wall?
Sink Buying Guide: Pedestal
These vintage-inspired freestanding sinks comprise of a slender, tall base (having no need for a countertop or vanity).
They are ideal for powder rooms (half baths) or small bathrooms based on their design and size.
Despite having a vintage look, there are many pedestal sinks available with modern appearances.
The major disadvantage of a pedestal sink is the absence of toiletries space around the sink, or “landing space”.
There's usually much counter space around undermount or drop-in sinks, but with pedestal sinks there's only a few inches maximum round the basin (which is quite insufficient).
Similarly, without a vanity beneath, there's vividly reduced bathroom storage space.
Ensure to take care of any bathroom storage or space needs you may have (through cabinets, shelving, etc.) before going for a pedestal.
Being wall mounted (a fraction of its weight sits on the base), blocking within the wall will be required to provide support for a pedestal sink.
Endeavor to consider this, as drywall must be removed and corrected, increasing time and cost.
Deck-mounted faucets are used on pedestal sinks, which will likely come with an 8” widespread, 4” centerset, or single hole.
You can ensure compatibility by choosing the faucet before completing the sink.
Pro Tip: Sometimes a plumber will be required or major DIY skills for your bathroom.
Sink Buying Guide: Wall Mounted
In the past, these were found mostly in commercial areas, but they have recently occupied many a home. Wall-mounting exposes the space underneath the sink, giving the bathroom a cleaner look and larger feel.
Blocking between studs is required for wall mounting. Apart from additional time from the main work, extra time will be needed for the patch to dry prior to sanding and painting (which also needs to dry).
Other sink types can accommodate a typical PVC P-trap under with help from the cabinet, vanity or pedestal which conceals drain piping.
Wall-mounted sinks would mostly require a same-finish P-trap. PVC is good, but not particularly pleasing.
The sink and prevailing circumstances may also expose the water supply – which means new supply lines and valves.
Having that much available space below the sink makes wall-mounted sinks a popular option for those seeking ADA-compliant stuffs.
They can be installed at a convenient height, providing more bathroom space, and are easy to use by mobility-impaired persons.
A kind of wall-mounts, console sinks earn their design from console tables mostly found in entrances.
They typically have two legs (since most of its weight has support from the wall) and a much bigger landing space for anything around the sink.
If you desire your bathroom to have a bit more space and style, then these sinks are for you!
There are two options for mounting faucets on wall sinks – the wall and sink deck. For a deck mounting, try to choose the faucet before the sink in order to specify the right spacing and number of holes.
Wall mounting is stylish, but challenges may present themselves, as mentioned above.
If you have studs blocking your preferred faucet position, you can either have the faucet relocated (easy, but could spoil the appearance) or have the studs moved (added time and cost).
Sink Buying Guide: Vessel
Very common in the 2000s, vessel sinks may be past their prime but still have lots of admirers.
This is basically a bole having a hole which is mounted above the counter. They likely have the easiest installation, and can be constructed from just about any material.
Vessel sinks can be installed in two ways:
- The typical installation above-counter, which has the sink base fixed around the drain hole.
- The dipped installation, which involves drilling a larger hole to accommodate the sink right in the counter.
With dipped installation, the sink is a bit more stable with its rim a few inches down – which is good considering the height of a vessel above the counter (as well as their awkwardness in usage).
Vessel sinks commonly do not have an overflow. However, we offer various designs featuring this flood prevention, should you choose to fill your sink up.
If your preferred sink is without an overflow, you need to have an “unstoppable” grid drain installed so as to prevent any accidental stopping of the drain (which can potentially cause flooding or overflow).
A vessel faucet (or “tall spout”) is required for vessel sinks. These are usually single-handle faucets which are sufficiently tall to clear the rim of a vessel.
Closely observe the faucet and sink height – you want to have the faucet at a convenient height from the rim of the sink.
Sink Buying Guide: Sink Materials
A highly used material for sinks, ceramics are identical with the bathroom. Porcelain is a classic, and mostly called “vitreous china”.
A similar material is fireclay, which is produced at extreme temperatures (common in the kitchen due to their higher heat resistance).
These kinds are normally lesser in cost than cast iron, but are still more preferable to others.
These materials yield aesthetically pleasing sinks which naturally resist mildew, stains and bacteria – not to mention easy to clean.
Yet, they can crack or chip easily if hit by a heavy object, or if the drain flanges are overtightened – causing cracking or "crazing" (glaze cracks), as from very hot liquids (should not be present in a bathroom anyway).
These sinks also do not tolerate tough chemical cleaners because of the risk of engraving the enameled exterior (resulting in stains and other issues).
Sink Buying Guide: Cast Iron & Steel
Yet another common sink and tub material, enameled cast iron provides the strongest and costliest option built to last forever. The porcelain enamel is bonded to the core iron by high heat, creating an incredibly strong and beautiful sink.
Sink Buying Guide: Acrylic
A worthwhile and striking material, acrylic sinks consist of plastic, resin and fiberglass – obtainable in various designs and colors.
Their lightweight quality makes it easy to install them on nearly any counter material.
Since they're made up of a single, compact material, modest grazes can be simply sanded and polished off.
It is also rust and stain resistant, but one must be watchful of heat – which may melt an acrylic sink if kept close to it. Besides that, they're quite tough – ideal for a children bathroom!
Sink Buying Guide: Solid Surface
Solid surface is a non-porous substitute to natural stone, consisting of minerals and resin. It is generally used for sinks, countertops and tubs, and can be crafted as marble, granite and other materials to give a more economical design option.
Similar to acrylic sinks, grazes on these sinks can simply be sanded and polished off. They have a uniform composition making chipping no much concern and cleaning easy.
However, metal polishing pads are to be kept away as they can cause severe scratching to a solid surface sink.
Sink Buying Guide: Stainless Steel
Not only is stainless steel an essential in kitchens, but it is increasingly popular in bathrooms recently.
This material is likely the most durable, as it doesn't chip or crack (maybe only dent) and can last forever.
Stainless steel can be used in almost any design arrangement, but it requires frequent cleaning to maintain its shine.
Keep in mind that water spots can be easily noticed with stainless steel (especially hard water) and it can also scratch, mostly during polishing or use of abrasive cleaners or materials.
Stainless steel grading is by gauge, mostly between 16- to 22-gauge. Lower numbers represent a denser and higher quality sink.
The least preferred (builder quality) is 22-gauge, and 20-gauge sinks are still convenient for many.
While kitchen sinks would require 18-gauge at least, builder quality sinks would do just fine for the bathroom.
Sink Buying Guide: Brass & Copper
Brass and copper are the most common metal sinks besides stainless steel.
These heavy-duty sinks are known for their natural beauty – particularly copper, which can be polished and sealed often to maintain a shiny “copper-colored” appearance, or allowed to develop its exceptional coating which can be various shades of copper, green, and blue.
Sink Buying Guide: Glass
Some of the most expensive and attractive sinks consist of those not-so-common materials.
Tempered glass can be found mostly in vessel sinks. It is tough, and does pretty well in an adult bathroom.
However, dropped heavy/pointed objects can chip or shatter the sink. Cleaning would be required religiously.
Sink Buying Guide: Stone
Stone sinks are durable, quiet, and beautiful sinks which are worth the investment.
Being heavy, these stone sinks cannot be mounted on simply any vanity, and are likely to require additional support – keep in mind the likely added expense.
These sinks require regular resealing against staining, and cleaning should only be with water and mild soap or such non-abrasive cleaners like Gel-Gloss (also containing Carnauba Wax which helps to protect the sealing with each cleaning).
If you simply want the stone sink appearance without spending much, there are composites which combine quartz or granite with acrylic resin, reducing cost and weight.
Keep in mind that the complexity or variations of natural stone won't be found with these, and neither will they age similarly. However, they're a remarkable alternative and also available in many more shapes, styles and colors.
Check out our shower conversion guide next.