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How to choose and install a bathroom sink | Ideas and practical tips

publicat in: Do it yourself // Publicata pe 30.10.2018

1. Nomenclature

2. Types of Bathroom Sinks

2.1 Bathroom sinks categorized by material

2.2 Categorizing bathroom sinks based on structure and type of installation

2.3 Categorizing bathroom sinks by the type of project (functionality)

2.4 Categorizing bathroom sinks by shape and size

3. Price range

4. Bathroom sink aftercare

5. Matching sanitary ware in your bathroom


1. Nomenclature

All around the world, we have different words for naming a bathroom sink. So, we have something that could be defined as washbasin – "installation used for washing people’s hands" named lavabo in Italian or lavabou in French. Therefore, starting from foreign nomenclature that separates “installations for washing hands” based on installation site, we need to differentiate between bathroom sink, as in something used particularly in bathrooms and sink as a dishwasher in the kitchen / garden washer. Moreover, besides the already mentioned French and Italian names for bathroom sink we have the German word "waschtisch" as in bathroom sink and respectively "kuchenspule" as in kitchen sink. Installations for washing hands are called “hand washbasin” or “handwaschbecken” and “lave-mains”. As a conclusion, from now on this article we will use the term bathroom sink for the sink located in bathroom.


2. Types of Bathroom Sinks

There are several criteria for categorizing bathroom sinks:

• material

• structure and type of installation

• type of project (functionality)


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2.1 Bathroom sinks categorized by material

When it comes to materials, we have:

• ceramic ware – obtained by pouring a mixture based on clay in shapes, followed by heat treatment in special ovens. Mainly white, the obtained products are durable, easy to maintain and can be also customized. This is the standard material for sanitary ware.

• porcelain ware – more efficient compared to ceramics, yet with the same production technology. However, prices are higher compared to ceramic ware.

• glass – a fresh material for this industry, offering transparent and colourful products. However, the quality is below ceramic ware.

• sanitary acrylic – mainly used for kitchen sinks, but also for low cost sinks.

• composite – a mixture of minerals and resins, with exterior look below the elegance of ceramics or porcelain. The option of colored products comes as an advantage.

• natural stone – a product obtained by mechanical processing from an environmentally friendly, durable and beautiful material. All natural stone bathroom sinks are unique, since we are talking about a one of a kind material.

• petrified wood – a surprising combination of wood and stone

• artificial stone – a material that replicates stone, yet not identical; the benefit is that it can be used in batch production

• metal – bathroom sink from enameled steel, stainless steel, even copper, manufactured with mechanical processing technology by bending, punching, pressing, galvanic coating or with enamel. A fine example for this is the old cast iron sinks from your grandma. 

• synthetic resin – less used but still available; able to deliver interesting shapes

• mix of materials – mainly involving ceramic bathroom sinks installed on metallic consoles


2.2 Categorizing bathroom sinks based on structure and type of installation

Depending on the installation site, there are several types of bathroom sinks, such as:

• freestanding bathroom sinks – the old models of bathroom sinks, wall mounted and suppported by semi pedestal from the same material as the sink. A drywall is fine for this type of sink, sink faucet is installed on the sink and you have also an overflow. Connection to water utility requires two hoses. Sink cutout is part of manufacturing process, for an easy installation. There are also sink models with pre-punched outlined for the cutout. Drain trap is installed in the lower area, for a correct draining.

• wall mounted and semi pedestal bathroom sinks – the new models, wth semi pedestal from the same material as the bathroom sink, designed to conceal the drain trap. Semi pedestal is attached to bathroom sink, but there are also wall mounted models. For semi pedestal models, you need to have a masonry wall (drywall is not recommended). This bathroom sink is installed just like the freestanding bathroom sink.

• console bathroom sinks – recommended for unsteady walls, unable to uphold the bathroom sink’s weight (not recommended for drywalls). Console are from chrome plated metal. Installation includes positioning the bathroom sink on console, connecting it to water supply and installing the drain trap; consoles are attached to the flooring and onto the wall as well. Usually, sink faucets are installed over these bathroom sinks.

• bathrooms sinks installed on brackets – designed for projects with drywall support wall. Behind the wall you have a metallic bracket, attached to the flooring and / or adjacent metallic structure. The bathroom sink is installed on this stand.

• vanity bathroom sinks – special structure for matching the furniture. These sinks are not wall mounted, only attached to the wall and connection of inlets and drain trap uses the standard installation procedure. Usually vanity bathroom sinks have sink faucets installed over the sink.

• vessel bathroom sinks – installed over the countertop, usually no overflow, nor coutout for sink faucet.  Vessel bathroom sinks are wall mounted or over the countertop. For installing the latter category you need to first make a cutout.

• recessed bathroom sinks – have protruding edge and are installed from top to bottom by cutting out the countertop. Cutout is narrower than sink’s diameter so that it can be placed over the countertop, supported by the edge. Sink faucet is countertop mounted or wall mounted and only the drain trap need to be connected with this sink.  The contact area between bathroom sink and countertop is sealed with sanitary sealant.

• undermount bathroom sinks – installed under the countertop by bonding the countertop cutout. Adhesive must be strong and waterproof. Cutout can be round, square, rectangular or oval shape. Sink faucet for this bathroom sink is wall mounted or installed over countertop. 

• semi – recessed bathroom sinks – special structure bathroom sinks, with two areas of different thickness, installed partially on the stand unit and partially on the countertop.

• corner mounted bathroom sinks – with special shape that allows to be installed in a corner. Sink faucet is installed over the sink and attached directly to wall.

• double sinks – two bathroom sinks processed from the same large piece of ceramics. Sinks are wall mounted on masonry wall.

• freestanding bathroom sinks – large bathroom sinks installed directly over flooring; sink faucet is wall / floor mounted. Water connections (inlet and drainage) are concealed.

• commercial use bathroom sinks – usually made from steel sheet and recommended for public areas with mixed traffic; wall mounted on masonry wall.

• poured in countertop bathroom sinks for public use – processed by distorting a countertop sheet for obtaining a bathroom sink that is an integral part of the countertop.


2.3 Categorizing bathroom sinks by the type of project (functionality)

According to the type of project (functionality), bathroom sinks are divided in:

• bathroom sinks for residential use – usually made from natural stone, enameled steel or sanitary porcelain (including vessels and recessed types) and porcelain ones, heat treated for easy aftercare ("Wondergliss" technology). Besides being quite expensive, additional benefits include the special design, durability and longest lifespan.

• bathroom for apartments and low traffic public toilets (bed and breakfast facilities, museums) – made from sanitary ceramics, acrylic, composite materials or glass. Vanity bathroom sinks are also used for this, with a design that allows large scale industrial production.

• bathroom sinks for public toilets with low, medium or heavy traffic and mixed catergory of users (offices, schools) – the same as apartment bathrooms sinks. Models have common design and you can also use poured in countertop bathroom sinks.

• bahroom sinks for heavy traffic public toilets and mixed category of users (malls, hospitals, airports, train stations) – produced from ceramics, acryl, sheet iron, molded bathroom sinks.

• bathroom sinks for high risk public toilets (from prisons, correctional schools) – made from thick steel sheet.

• hotels bathroom sinks – made from sanitary ceramic; depending on hotel rating, can be also made from expensive materials and have unique finishes.

• bathroom sinks for disabled persons – special bathroom sinks with specific shapes and sizes; made from sanitary ceramics and installed in toilets designed for disabled persons.

• bathroom sinks for nursing homes and elderly people – produced from special size sanitary ceramics or steel.  


2.4 Categorizing bathroom sinks by shape and size

Bathroom sinks have different shapes and sizes depending on the use and material. Bathroom sinks from ceramic and sanitary porcelain have round, oval or square shape, the most popular being the medium size of 600 x 460 mm. Vanity bathroom sinks are usually rectangular. Small size bathroom sinks and corner mounted sinks can be included in the washbasin category. Vessel bathroom sinks have round, oval, square and rectangular shape, the most popular being the round shape. Recessed bathroom sinks have usually round, square or rectangular shape. Iron sheet bathroom sinks are usually rectangular.


3. Price range

Usually, it depends on material, technology and size of the manufacturing series, sizes, shape and obviously design. Ceramic sinks produced by casting have affordable prices only if the manufacturing series includes hundreds of units. Porcelain sinks are more expensive because of the material. Composite materials bathroom sinks have mixed prices. Handmade products obtained by mechanical processing (e.g. copper bathroom sinks) and quantities of several units will be more expensive. Natural stone sinks installed on countertop will have medium prices. Designer of a manufacturing series will establishe not only the shape and look, but also the price. As a result, products from famous design houses will be more expensive. Also quite expensive will be bathroom sinks for disabled persons, because technology and manufacturing series are different from those of standard sinks. 


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4. Bathroom sink aftercare

The aftercare depends on material, shape and installation site. The "Wondergliss" technology for sanitary porcelain bathroom sinks repels water from the surface, are very glossy, so water will quickly glide over the surface. As a result, aftercare is simple and cheap. The aftercare of ceramic sinks is more difficult, yet costs are moderate. These two types of sinks are not sensitive to staining nor scratching and do not withstand strong blows. Transparent glass bathroom sinks needs constant aftercare, because can be stained easily and are also sensitive to blows. Aftercare of metal bathroom sinks is simple, but is more difficult to clean joint corners. Acid staining agents will easily stain stainless steel surfaces. Composite sinks are stained easily, so the aftercare is more complicated. Most of the sinks are white and have glossy finish. Because of this type of finish, surface cleaning is easier. Sinks from honed material (especially composite ones) need more aftercare. Natural stone requires waterproofing for maintaining its original appearance.


5. Matching sanitary ware in your bathroom

All modern designers created manufacturing series to match the sanitary ware from your bathrooms. These series usually includes bathroom sinks, toilets, bidets and sometimes sink faucets or accessories. We recommend using sanitary ware from the same series (same design) in your bathroom. For standard decoration projects there are no such strict requirements. Sink faucets are made of chrome plated brass, and matching design for sanitary ware. Bathtub and shower cabin maintain the main design line; sink faucets and bathroom sinks come from the same family.

Photo sources: stoneforest, tradewindsimports, homify


Bathroom sink can become the showpiece of your bathroom and natural stone adds something extra to this. Visit our website for the full collection of bathroom sinks and you can also get in touch with us at +40318.222.333 or email export@piatraonline.com

How to choose and install a bathroom sink | Ideas and practical tips
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