How to Buy a Bathroom Sink: An Informative Guide

AAA Print

A Guide on How to Buy Bathroom Sinks

Bathroom sinks are available in a wide range of colors, materials, styles and designs. Available in standalone and counter-installed models, they are a great way to make a design statement in your bathroom.

Types of Sinks

  • Wall-mounted sinks: The most common and basic of bathroom sinks, wall-mounted sinks tend to be smaller and are ideal for bathrooms with limited space. They have no floor support, and the drain is often not concealed beneath.
  • Pedestal sinks: Classic pedestal sinks are mounted into the floor with no wall connection. Like the wall-mounted sinks, they are ideal for small bathrooms, but the plumbing is concealed within the pedestal.
  • Vessel sinks: The newest in bathroom models, vessel sinks sit atop countertops resting on wall-supported vanities. The base of the sink sits above the counter, giving it a modern, bowl-like look.
  • Drop-in sinks ("self-rimming" sinks, also "top-mount" sinks): Very popular, drop-in sinks can be installed into any type of countertop. They are made of porcelain-enameled cast iron or vitreous china, with piping covered by the counter below. In addition to the main drain, drop-in sinks commonly have an extra "overflow" drain, located near the rim on the basin.
  • Framed vanity sinks: Installed into plastic laminate vanity counter tops, framed sinks are common in apartments and older homes. Typically made from porcelain-enameled cast iron or pressed steel, they are trimmed with a metal frame.
  • Console bathroom sinks: Similar to a wall-mounted sink, console bathroom sinks connect to the wall, but they are also supported by two legs at front.
  • Undermount sinks: Recently popular, undermount sinks are installed beneath the countertop, its basin only slightly wider than the counter opening. While they offer a clean, modern look, undermount sinks can only be installed into solid surface counters, such as stone or synthetic composite. This makes them less common in lower-income homes, where plastic laminate and tile counters more frequently exist.

Important Sink Features

  • Configuration is an issue most people don't consider until after their purchase. Rather than having to return your beautiful new sink, consider, for example, what faucet you will be using, or how big (if existent) your counter space is. What models will work with those items? If you are completely remodeling, consider this when purchasing all components of your sink.
  • Compatibility can be slightly trickier than configuration, though just as important. Many sink types, like undermounts and drop-ins, require specific materials. For example, undermount sinks cannot be installed into plastic laminate or tile countertops. These issues can be discussed with store experts or by researching the products online.
  • Materials for sinks vary. The main options are these: cast iron, vitreous china, fireclay, porcelain, glass, metal, stone, concrete, solid surface, bamboo and wood. Many of these materials, while appealing, have specific cleaning instructions and limitations on what kind of materials can be used on them. Research all these issues before your purchase, to avoid any damaged merchandise down the line.
  • "Landing room" is an issue that people occasionally disregard during their shopping process. Particularly when small bathrooms are involved, shoppers will look to wall-mounted and pedestal sinks, which can be extremely attractive displays. However, these models also limit the amount of "landing room," a.k.a. counter space, on which they can rest their sanitary needs, such as washcloths, soap, toothpaste and many other toiletries. Depending on your needs and available cabinet space, this can become a serious problem, so consider it before making a sink purchase.

Sink Designs

Sinks are available in a wide range of shapes, colors, materials, styles and designs. The easiest way to determine which sinks work best for your style is to determine how much available space there is. During a complete re-model, dimensions can change, but the room size often won't.

If you have space for one, a vanity works extremely well, with a variety of sink and design styles. Depending on how long the vanity is, owners can install multiple sinks, which are extremely helpful in multi-person homes. If you prefer to stay well organized, cabinets below a vanity can be helpful. They hide sink drains as well as any additional toiletries. Vanities also offer the option of common or custom design materials, adding a personal touch. For well-lit bathrooms, dark vanities-black or rustic tiles-do well to draw the eye and add a touch of elegance. Light designs, on the other hand, brighten up smaller spaces.

Sink To-Do List

  1. Decide which sink mount works best for your space. Many sinks, like the wall-mounted sink, are ideal for smaller spaces. In order to choose which mount works best for you, determine how much free wall space you have to accommodate a sink. Consider whether you will need extra cabinet space above or below, and determine what mounts will best assist those needs. Pedestal sinks, for example, are great for smaller bathrooms, but sacrifice storage space.
  2. Double check compatibility. Many popular sink models are not compatible with all materials, so be sure of compatibility. Also, before making a purchase involving an uncommon material, consult a manual to see what, if any, chemicals are prone to damaging your surface. If, for example, you use nail polish remover a lot, a wooden sink would not work well.
  3. Don't forget the faucet. If, for example, you choose a vessel sink or custom model, examine your faucet limitations. Vessel sinks are not compatible with low-set faucets, and many custom designs require special accommodations.
Last Updated: January 19, 2012

Popular Searches in How to Buy a Bathroom Sink: An Informative Guide

AAA Print

About Emelie Battaglia Emelie Battagila is a contributing writer for

Note: The information provided on this site may be provided by third parties. The owners and operators of this site do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and compliance of the content on this site. Such content is not and shall not be deemed tax, legal, financial, or other advice, and we encourage you to confirm the accuracy of the content. Use is at your own risk, and use of this site shall be deemed acceptance of the above.