Vessel Sinks | Pros, Cons & Things To Consider
Are you scanning the real estate listings and notice that luxury flats note that a vessel sink is included in the master en-suite? Whether you are catching up on your favourite DIY shows or strolling through the home improvement store, these basins are popping up everywhere. Are vessel sinks something that you should add to your bathroom renovation?
In this post, I’ll explain what a vessel sink is, its pros and cons as well as answer some common questions around the topic.
Let’s dive in!
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What Is A Vessel Sink?
A vessel sink is a basin that sits on top of your bathroom vanity counter instead of an undermount or drop-in style. It became more popular about 10 years ago as it was often highlighted on home improvement shows and home decor sites.
The style is a resurrection of the antique basin and jug that served as a handwashing station in bedchambers before the installation of indoor plumbing. New designs have turned the decorative painted porcelain basin into something that is more in line with contemporary fashions and have replaced the jug with taps.
A vessel sink becomes more of a centrepiece to your bathroom as it sits above the counter, drawing your eye to its shape and colour. At the same time, because its lip rises above the counter height, it can be damaged. Especially if you opt for one made of glass.
Pricing Range for Vessel Sinks
If you have your heart set on a vessel sink and are designing a bath on a budget, you can find a simple porcelain vessel sink for around £40. For an upscale look, the sky is the limit with custom stone or glass pieces ranging up to £800.
Installation Concerns For A Vessel Sink
You will need a vanity to support the vessel sink, so if you were planning on a pedestal basin, you may want to look at a different style.
Your plumber will need to drill a hole in the counter for the basin drain. If you are working with custom solid surface counters, let your installers know. They will want to double-check the position of the vessel sink before drilling.
You can find vanities that include a vessel sink as a single unit, which will save time for installation.
Pros Of Vessel Sinks
- Available in unique modern styles
- Creates a centrepiece for the bathroom
Cons Of Vessel Sinks
- More likely to be damaged as they sit above the counter
- Possibly a fashion trend that may fall out of style
- Can be exorbitantly expensive
What Materials Are Vessel Sinks Made From?
I’ve listed the most popular types of materials used to made vessel sinks. You can also find handmade items out of copper, mosaics, or pebbles.
The timeless look and durability of white porcelain still make it a very popular choice for basins in all styles, including vessel sinks. It is easy to match your porcelain basin to the rest of your sanitaryware. It is affordable and available in a wide range of shapes.
You can find a vessel sink crafted out of marble, granite, or soapstone for your spa bathroom. It will be incredibly durable, nearly impossible to chip, and can be chosen to match or contrast with your stone counters, flooring, and wall panels. It will be a custom piece and cost more than porcelain. The stone should be sealed regularly to resist staining unless you are aiming for a rustic or industrial finish to your bathroom.
After stainless steel took over the kitchen appliance world, it is also trending as a popular finish in bathrooms. Stainless steel is easy to clean and will stand up to plenty of abuse. It can be dented if the kids get into a splashing fight over the basin.
Some of the most striking vessel sinks available on the market are crafted out of coloured glass. The tempered material is designed to resist scratching and cracking under normal wear and tear. They look much like a bowl you may use as a centrepiece for your dining table. Select one in any colour that you can imagine.
How High Should The Top Of A Vessel Sink Be?
It is recommended that any bathroom basin be mounted at a height between 800 and 850mm. The average vessel sink stands about 150mm high. You should anticipate dropping the height of your vanity counter by about the same measurement as the height of the basin so that it is at a comfortable level for the whole family. If you are taller and this will be your basin, you can adjust the height of the sink, so it is more comfortable for you to use.
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Do Vessel Sinks Need Special Taps?
Yes, you will need appropriate taps to work with your vessel sink. Your regular basin taps and spout are only about 150 to 200mm high; just tall enough to dip your hands under the water as it flows down into the sink. Since your vessel sink stands on top of the counter, your taps need to stand that much taller, so the spout clears the top edge of the basin, and you can reach the handles.
This could also be achieved by using wall-mounted taps. You will find a wide variety of taps designed for vessel sinks at any home design centre or online bathroom store.
Are Vessel Sinks Going Out Of Style?
The industry is split on this decision. Vessel sinks are still a popular choice for homeowners looking to add some upscale style to a bathroom remodel. For those that want to stick to the traditional designs, it is not recommended.
If you are building a luxury spa for yourself or a high-end lease, a vessel sink can be the right choice if the rest of the bathroom complements your choice. If you are working on a redo for a bathroom in a modest home, skip the marked down vessel sink and stick to more traditional basins.
There you have it. Pros, cons and everything you need to know when considering a vessel sink for your new bathroom renovation.
They may not be to everyone’s taste. However, if you’re looking to create a bit of a feature and wow factor to your bathroom without blowing the budget, then a vessel sink could be just the thing you’re looking for.
So, will you include a vessel sink in your new bathroom?
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Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.