Choosing a Bathroom Sink

Styles

Because the sink often sets the tone for the entire bathroom, it usually makes sense to choose it first. With so many different styles, however, the choice may seem overwhelming. Here's a guide to help you understand your options.

  • Self-rimming (drop-in) sinks

    This style is easiest to install and can be fitted into an existing counter. It features a finished rim that sits on the countertop to support its weight and keep it in place. This style of sink can be used with any type of material.

  • Undermount sinks

    Unlike a self-rimming sink which is installed from on top of the counter, an undermount sink is installed from underneath, offering a smooth overall look. This sink must be used with a solid surface countertop such as granite, marble, or concrete. The hole cut into the countertop is sized specifically for the sink, which means that replacement can be a bit tricky if it becomes necessary.

  • Integral countertops

    Similar in look to an undermount sink, these sinks combine a countertop and sink together. Their one-piece, seamless design allows for a clean, sleek look. Since there are no crevices they are also one of the easiest styles to keep clean.

  • Vessel sinks

    This type of sink sits on top of the counter like a bowl. These sinks require a pop-up drain and come in a variety of materials.

  • Pedestal sinks

    A free-standing sink supported by a small column, this style is installed instead of a vanity. It is an ideal choice in small bathrooms where space is at a premium and where storage is not a priority, as it takes up little floor space.

  • Wall-mounted sinks

    This style is another good option for small bathrooms with less floor space. A wall-mounted sink is supported by the wall and does not require a vanity, base, countertop, or legs. With this style, plumbing is exposed.

  • Console sinks

    Essentially, a console sink is a wall-mounted sink with two or four legs for support. Visually, this style might look like a cross between a pedestal sink and a wall- mounted sink. Plumbing is exposed, but base usually includes a low shelf which may be used for limited storage.

Materials

When choosing a sink, style, durability, and maintenance needs all play a significant role in determining which material is best suited for your bathroom.

  • Porcelain-enameled cast iron

    is extremely durable and is easy to care for, but its weight necessitates a sturdy support system.

  • Stainless steel

    Is extremely durable and is generally unaffected by household chemicals. To avoid spots from hard water and soap, it should be wiped dry after use.

  • Copper

    is also extremely durable and offers many of the same benefits as stainless steel, but it may require specialized cleaning products.

  • Vitreous china

    is the most common material. It has a lustrous surface, is easy to clean, and is the most resistant to discoloration and corrosion. Even so, these durable materials can chip or crack if struck by a heavy object.

  • Glass sinks

    have usually been tempered to increase strength and durability, making them more resistant to cracking or shattering. They are easily cleaned with household cleansers.

  • Solid-surface materials

    such as simulated or cultured marble, granite, and concrete look rich and elegant and are easy to clean. Stay away from abrasive cleaners, though, as they may spoil the finish.

  • Fiberglass-reinforced plastic

    can be molded into unique shapes, but it doesn't hold a shine as well as other surfaces and is not as durable.