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Five Things You Should Know Before Upgrading To A Vessel Sink

Vessel sinks are becoming a popular option for bathrooms of all sizes – from petite guest bathrooms to big, sprawling master suites. And it’s no wonder: vessel sinks have a glamorous, striking appearance, and are available in a nearly infinite variety of colors, patterns, materials, shapes, and styles. Vessel sinks add personality to your bathroom, no matter the size of your space or budget. But vessel sinks are fundamentally different from traditional sinks in a few small but crucial ways. It’s important to take these differences into consideration during the early planning stages of your remodel to make sure you get the most of your new sink.

You Can’t Upgrade To A Vessel Sink Without Replacing Your Vanity Top

The most fundamental difference between vessel sinks and most other types of bathroom sinks is that you need to install the sink on top of the vanity rather than in or under it. This leaves the whole sink visible, which is part of why this trend is so desirable. But it also has a few other implications that might not be so obvious. Standard undermount and drop-in sinks are fairly interchangeable with each other and with most pre-cut vanity tops. But the hole those sinks sit in is too big for a vessel sink to sit on. If you currently have a standard sink, you’ll need to replace your vanity top before you can install a vessel sink. That gives this project a bigger scope and budget than most sink replacements.

But You CAN Install Them Yourself

That said, vessel sinks are probably the simplest bathroom sinks to install. They’re held in place by their own weight and the drain pipe, so installing one is only slightly more complicated than setting the sink down on the counter. You won’t need to remove the vanity top or worry about caulking; simply line the sink drain up with the hole in the vanity top and insert the drain pipe. You’ll need basic tools and materials – like a good wrench, plumber’s putty, and teflon tape. But the traps of vessel sinks are very straightforward. Hooking up water lines is also easier when the underside of the sink isn’t in the way. As an added bonus, once you have one vessel sink, it’s easy to change out, either as part of a small facelift, or if you’re especially crafty, with seasonal or themed sinks.

Vessel Sinks Don’t Use Normal Faucets

Because vessel sinks sit above the vanity top rather than inside or under it, they require taller faucets. Since vessel sinks themselves can come in varying heights, it’s crucial to make sure you choose a faucet that matches the height of the sink, both for accessibility and to prevent splashing. It can be wise to buy a sink and faucet together; it’ll save you the math of figuring out the measurements yourself. Also, while it’s possible to find vessel faucets with a three-hole installation (two for handles, one for the spigot), they’re rare. More likely, you should be looking for a tall, post style faucet with a single lever handle. This is another important consideration when having your vanity top cut, since you don’t want more holes than you need.

They Offer More Space Under The Sink

Having to get a new countertop is a pain. But the fact that vessel sinks go on top of your vanity means there’s more room left inside the cabinet. That can be a huge bonus. Traditional drop-in or undermount sinks take up space directly beneath the vanity top. The size of the sink and the length of the plumbing means that about 20 inches of vertical space in your vanity are rendered basically useless. But vessel sinks eliminate the intrusion of the sink and streamline and reduce the size of the plumbing; that makes it possible to build drawers around the pipes. This makes for a more efficient, accessible vanity that provides more (and better!) storage in the same amount of space.

On A Standard Vanity, A Tall Vessel Sink Might Be Uncomfortable To Use

This is probably the one thing about vessel sinks that’s the easiest to overlook, especially if you spend the early stages of your design planning looking at pictures rather than browsing in-store. Most bathroom vanities are a comfortable average height… with a traditional sink. Doing a one-to-one swap can put the vessel sink at a height that’s uncomfortable to use. That’s why vanities that come prepackaged with vessel sinks are often wall mounted: to compensate for the height of the sink. If you want a more traditional vanity with legs, look for models with height-adjustable legs, or ones with removable “stilts” that allow the vanity to accommodate a taller sink. After all, once you’ve got a beautiful signature sink, you want to be able to use it comfortably!

Where are you planning on installing a vessel sink? In a primary bathroom, guest bath, or something else? Let me know in the comments below!