Picking the right bathroom sink
Q: You are our last hope for making our new master-bathroom planning stage a little easier. We're at the point of choosing and ordering our final plumbing fixtures. The toilet, tub/shower unit and even the faucets were pretty easy. But we were never told that choosing a new bathroom sink could be so confusing. Our heads are spinning and we have read some of your past columns on choosing plumbing fixtures. Can you walk us through this category?
— Jill and Fred, NevadaA: If it makes you feel any better, many people write in to tell me that their bathroom plans were sunk while trying to choose a sink. The good news is that since I grew up in a plumbing family and I've been a master plumber for more than 25 years, I can break down the basic categories for you. This can make your choice a lot easier, and hopefully you'll end up with the dream sink for your new bathroom.
Let's start with the proper name for any bathroom sink: the pros call them "lav" sinks, which is short for "lavatory" sinks.
Now, let's talk about your first choice, the material that you want your lav sink made of. We'll keep to three basic materials to choose from: China, cast iron and, on the higher end, spun glass. Pick the material, texture and color that will best fit your family's needs and your bathroom.
Once you choose the material, move on to the style of sink. Here you can choose from five basic types:
1. Countertop: Also called "drop-ins" because they are self-rimming and are placed on and into a vanity countertop.
2. Under-counter: Similar to a drop-in, but these sinks are mounted completely "under" the countertop.
3. Vessel sink: Technically a top-mount sink, but these high-end lavs expose the entire bowl above the countertop. This sink gives the look of an old-time wash basin.
4. Pedestal sink: These are decorative lav sinks anchored to the wall, and sit atop matching pedestal bases.
5. Wall-mounted lavs: Often called wall-hung sinks. Wall-mounting a bathroom sink not only saves space, but can increase accessibility for special-needs bathrooms.
Bottom line: If you concentrate on just these basic choices, you shouldn't get bowled over by too much information when choosing a new bathroom sink.