Sinks (Bathroom) Buying Guide

Sinks (Bathroom)
  • Getting Started

  • Functional, the bathroom sink may be an afterthought unless it is part of the aesthetic of the room. Bathroom sinks will receive a lot of usage and should be well thought out in the design    

  • Materials

  • Porcelain is a white clay baked at high temperatures to create a strong and hard material. Less dense and less porous due to the nature of the clay and manufacturing process, porcelain produces an elegant material.

    Vitreous China sinks are created from porcelain clay and coated with enamel made from powdered glass that is baked at high temperatures to produce a non-porous, high gloss, stain-resistant surface. Better at withstanding stains and spills, the surface is also more sanitary as the enamel is non-porous.

    Fireclay sinks are produced from a unique clay that is baked and then glazed at high temperatures to create a new, fused material. Fireclay is non-porous and resistant to acids as well as alkali; strong and durable, it resists scratches and dings. Only available in white, but the styles should fit any design. Fireclay sinks will last a long time.

    Cast iron sinks are manufactured from an iron alloy that is glazed to produce an easy-to-clean surface. Available in a variety of colors and finishes, including high gloss, cast iron resists stains and fading. Cast iron is heavy and may require additional structural support. If the enamel surface chips, and the iron underneath exposed, the iron may rust.

    Glass sinks are created from tempered glass that is treated to increase its strength and durability. Non-porous, the glass is easy to clean but has been found to shatter if a pointed heavy object is dropped into it. Glass sinks are produced in a variety of colors and shapes, most frequently installed as vessel sinks.

    Metal sinks add beauty to the bathroom, but will require regular cleaning to eliminate water spots.

        •  Stainless steel bathroom sinks resist stains and are easy to clean.

        •  Copper sinks demand special cleaning products to maintain the beauty of the surface. Most frequently created as vessel sinks.

        •  Brass sinks, also most often used as vessel sinks, offer a bright surface that will require regular cleaning to protect the color and maintain its beauty.

    Solid Surface bathroom sinks are manufactured from the countertop materials used on the vanity. May be integral to the counter, or installed as undermount, the sinks are easy to clean, non-porous so they resist stains, mold and mildew, but acids such as nail polish remover may damage the surface. Colors, sizes and styles abound, which can match the countertop or contrast to produce the desired aesthetic.

    Natural Stones can be carved and molded into bathroom sinks.

        •  Quartz is a man-made material of crushed quartz stone mixed in a resin. Created in a variety of colors and designs, quartz sinks can look like stone without the need for sealing and maintenance. Quartz is nonporous and easy to maintain and clean. Quartz can be heavy and may require additional support.

        •  Granite is a natural stone with warm colors that may contain veins. Granite will be sealed and will require resealing to maintain its stain and water resistance. Heavy, granite will require professional installation.

        •  Marble is a natural stone often used for sinks. White is the most popular color. As a soft stone, marble will require sealing and resealing to provide moisture and stain resistance. Marble provides a warm, generous feeling to the bathroom and may require professional installation.

        •  Soapstone is a natural stone that is ideally suited for use in the bathroom. Nonporous, it will not require sealing, but it is softer so scratches or nicks will show if not sanded out. Soapstone is available in a range of colors and patterns; professional installation may be required.

  • Types

  • Drop In sinks sit upon the countertop. Self-rimmed, these are the easiest to install and to replace without damaging the countertop material. Available in a wide variety of materials, sizes, and styles to enhance any bathroom design.

    Undermount sinks are installed under the countertop material, which is cut to the size of the sink. Undermounts make the counter easy to maintain as any debris can be swiped into the sink.

    Pedestal sinks are freestanding units so they take up less space in the bathroom. Excellent for powder rooms, as the sink sits upon a column, usually of the same material, that is easy to clean and maintain.

    Vessels mimic the earlier bowls and pitchers. Since they sit upon the countertop, the height of the vessel sink should be considered as it relates to the vanity and faucets. Vessel sinks are available in a wide ranges of materials, colors, shapes and styles.

    Console sinks are mounted into a stand of 2 legs or 4 legs. Utilitarian looking, the water and drain pipes are exposed under the stand. Consider the faucet material when choosing this design so the faucet complements the exposed pipes.

    Wall-mount sinks are hung on the wall to provide more floor space in the room. Pipes will be exposed, or can be concealed with a separate kit. Accessories such as towel bars can be purchased.

    Vanity Top Sinks are manufactured integral with the countertop. Created from the same material as the counter, these sinks are installed onto the vanity. Allow at least 1-inch overhang when sizing the unit.

  • Cost Considerations

  • Material: Bathroom sinks are available in a range of prices.

        •  Porcelain, Vitreous China and Cast Iron sinks are prevalent and available in a range of sizes and styles to fit any budget.

        •  Fireclay sinks usually will cost more than porcelain or cast iron due to the manufacturing process and the life expectancy of fireclay.

        •  Glass sinks are among the affordable, or can be among the most expensive, depending upon the manufacturer and style.

        •  Metals range from affordable in stainless steel to several thousand dollars for brass and copper.

        •  Solid surface sinks also will range in price depending upon the manufacturer and the size, but they are less expensive than copper or brass and stone.

        •  Natural stone sinks are among the more expensive options due to the product, the production process and installation.

    Type and Size: The larger the sink, the more it will cost.

        •  Drop In sinks are the more affordable options and easiest to install, but as the size of the sink increases, so does the price.

        •  Undermount sinks usually cost more than drop ins and again the size will have an impact on the price.

        •  Vessel sinks are available in a vast array of materials, sizes, styles and price tags. Affordable options may suit the space and room style, or several thousand dollars can be spent on extremely decorative ones.

        •  Pedestal sinks are costly as the material for the column is included in the price of the sink.

        •  Console sinks can be affordable, but the structure upon which the sink sits will increase the cost of the unit.

        •  Wall mount sinks vary in cost as the size increases and the style varies, but simple units are affordable.

        •  Vanity tops will actually save in the budget as the sink does not have to be purchased separately from the countertop.

    Maintenance: Stone and metal sinks will require sealing or regular maintenance, which should be considered in the price. Other materials will maintain their beauty with a simple cleaning or wiping at the end of use. Time is a factor as well as the price.

    Installation: Drop-Ins, Pedestal and Console sinks plus some Vessels can be installed by a handy homeowner, if the drains or water pipes do not need to be moved. Natural stones may require extra support since the stone is heavy.

    Faucets: If the sink requires faucets installed in the unit, a new faucet set will cost extra.