How to Choose a Vessel Sink
When it comes to Bathroom Sinks, there is one type that stands out due to the shape: the vessel sink. Vessel sinks are wash basins that are placed on top of a vanity or counter as opposed to drop-in or undermount sinks which are installed into the countertop. They’re typically only found in bathrooms as they are simply not practical in the kitchen. They’re mostly used in powder rooms or guest bathrooms, but they can be a wonderful option for the master bath as well. So here’s our advice on how to choose a Vessel Sink, and some tips to help you reduce any headaches.
There are a few things that need to considered while renovating an old bathroom or constructing a new one. One needs to know the importance of the vanity area and realize that it will remain the focal point in a bathroom. Therefore there is a need to concentrate on the vanity, mirror, countertop, sink and other trimmings to spruce up the space. A bathroom must appear classy and yet be practical and easy to maintain. There is nothing better than a vessel sink to help create the perfect bathroom although; a few things need to be considered before the installation of the sink. Since vessel sinks stand atop the countertop, regular plumbing and faucet will not do. The plumbing needs to be redone and a taller faucet added if the bathroom is being renovated. The normal 5 inch faucet is too short for vessel sinks.
1. Consider the Plumbing The first thing to consider is the plumbing, but more specifically the faucet. Vessel sinks are mounted on top of the countertop deck, therefore a regular 4 or 5” high faucet simply will not do. Vessel sink faucets essentially come in two styles, wall mounted and deck mounted. The deck mounted faucets required for vessel sinks are quite tall, and usually feature some type of goose neck design which allows the faucet to reach above the edge of the vessel giving enough room for you to wash your hands. Deck mounted vessel faucets are the easiest to install because they simply require a hole in your countertop and can use the existing under counter plumbing. Wall mounted faucets however, require some preparation in advance. If you are building a new home or have completely demolished your old bathroom, a wall mounted faucet is definitely feasible. These faucets require hot and cold water lines to be run through your wall and above the level of the vessel sink basin, the faucet is then attached to the wall and reaches out towards the middle of the basin.
2. Decide if you want an above or recessed mount. There are two main types of installation types for Vessel Sinks: Undermount vs Recessed (also known as drop in). Above Counter Vessel sinks are more traditional and “drop-in” from above the counter to rest on the countertop or surface. Recessed sinks, on the other hand, are mounted within a hole that is cut out from the vanity or counter top with part of the sink sitting beneath the surface.
– Above the Counter Installation In this type of installation, the vessel sink rests on the type of your bathroom vanity or counter. The only modification that you will need to do to your counter is to drill a hole that has a specific diameter. Once that is done, the sink will easily be fitted without any other adjustments.
– Recessed Installation Though a recessed bathroom vessel is more difficult to install, it provides more stability. The counter top is cut into a hole that is bigger than the drain hole, but smaller than the diameter of the sink. This size allows the sink to fit firmly into the counter.
3. Choose the right size. There’s no standard size for a bath sink. Some petite basins are just big enough for washing hands, while the largest sinks are big enough for washing hair or delicate clothing. Most round sinks are 16 to 20 inches in diameter, and most rectangular sinks are 19 to 24 inches wide and 16 to 23 inches front to back. Typical basin depth is 5 to 8 inches. Sink size and shape are generally matters of personal preference unless you’re replacing an old fixture and wish to reuse the vanity and countertop. In that case, the new sink has to fit the existing opening in the countertop and mount the same way. If space is at a premium, consider using a triangular sink that’s designed to fit in a corner.
4. Choose a Finish or Material. Perhaps the biggest differentiators among bath sinks are the materials used to make them. Traditional ceramics, such as porcelain, vitreous china and fireclay are familiar choices. They’re rivaled by the striking looks of glass, natural stone, vitreous china and solid surface. Here are a few common options to consider:
Glass Glass has become the most popular material when choosing a vessel sink today. They come in various textural combinations; and can have printed images located between the glass layers. These sinks are relatively inexpensive and are very easy to clean and maintain, however, they can break quite easily. Rapid temperature changes, over-tightening of the drain, strong impacts, and improper installation can cause the sink to crack. When selecting a glass vessel sink, make sure you choose one that is made of tempered glass, because it will not damage your countertop if it breaks.
Stone Stone is the next most popular material when choosing a vessel sink. There are a large variety of stone vessel sinks available like marble, onyx, soapstone, granite, travertine and many others. However by far, granite and marble are the most popular choices. Sinks that are made of stone are truly unique since each one of them is hand-carved from a single piece of stone. A natural material like stone can offer a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Stone vessel sinks come in many different shapes. The most popular and practical is the stone bowl. However, the down-side of stone sinks is that they can absorb and hold water, because of this; it will need to be cleaned and sealed with a stone sealer solution every year.
Copper Copper is another material that is available when choosing a vessel sink. Copper does consistently reacts with the environment, so things like temperature, moisture, and water mineral content will determine what the sink will look like in years to come. They do require regular cleaning, but with soap and water, and they should be kept dry after each use to avoid an uneven patina layer. When selecting a copper vessel sink, it is best to choose one that has thick shells, because they are more durable.
Vitreous China, originally made for bathrooms, is now also used for Farmhouse kitchen sinks. The glazed clay material is hard and nonporous with a glasslike shine, but the sink material is prone to chipping. Similar to fireclay in construction, durability, and cost, vitreous china is less porous because of the nature of the construction process. It is easier to mold double bowl sinks from vitreous china than from fireclay.
Solid Surface, made from a polyester or acrylic base, is chosen for its stonelike appearance and easy care. Like solid surfacing countertops, it can be susceptible to heat and dings from sharp objects.
Some pros and cons:
Pros: Vessel sinks are one of the most stylish and elegant styles currently available to dress up your bathroom. While being contemporary they also have an old world charm. The design is actually inspired by wash basins that were used in bathrooms in the 18th and 19th century. A large bowl with warm soap water was usually placed on a table and used for washing by the inmates of the house. The modern version is a close copy of the same basic design with new features incorporated into it. Installation is a plus: Avoid costly and difficult sink cut-outs. You need only one hole cut out for the drain pipe.
Cons: Though vessel sinks are aesthetically appealing they are not suitable for bathrooms frequented by young children. They are installed pretty high and are not convenient. Smaller kids find it difficult to reach the sinks since they are placed higher than normal wash basins.Gimmicky and dated: Some designers consider vessel sinks to be impractical, verging on gimmicky. Has the fad come and gone already?