By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
Last week we reported some encouraging news about adding a bathroom to your home. The National Association of Home Builders has estimated that adding a bath can increase your home’s value by up to 19 percent. Of course, the increase in value will depend on several factors — from the size of the new bath to the number of bedrooms in the house.
When you are adding or remodeling a bath, there are many items you will need to consider and select: plumbing fixtures, tile, countertops, cabinets, mirrors, lighting, etc. Today we will focus on just one of these selections: the bathroom sink.
The sink is certainly a practical necessity in a bathroom. Running hot and cold water is required by definition. But with all the choices available, the sink doesn’t have to be just a practical choice. It can greatly add to the beauty of your bathroom.
Bathroom sinks can be as dramatic and elegant as this tiered basin designed by Salt Lake’s Lisman Richardson Interior Design, or they can be as practical as a simple white sink in the family bath.
Sinks are available in many styles. Counter sinks can be either self-rimming (the edge is above the counter) or recessed (the edge is under the counter). Self-rimming sinks are the most common and work well with any counter material. Materials such as plastic laminate or ceramic tile are not suitable to circular shapes or continual exposure to water and therefore require an edge trim. Recessed or undermount sinks require a counter material that does not need an edge treatment such as granite or solid surfacing material.
Pedestal sinks consist of a columnar base with a basin sitting on top. There is no cabinet or counter. The advantage is they work well in small spaces. The disadvantage is they have little or no storage. A console sink is a pedestal on steroids — self-contained and free-standing but with a larger top that provides a place for toiletries. Due to the size, this style has two or four legs rather than one central pedestal.
Another choice is an integral sink. This is when the basin is part of the countertop and is manufactured at the same time. Materials that allow this type of sink include solid surfacing, natural or cultured stone, and concrete.
The latest vogue is the vessel sink. This looks like a beautiful bowl set on the countertop and stylistically hearkens back to the days of washbasins. The bowls can be made of a variety of materials, from glass to metal to granite. In general, this and other artistic sink styles work best in a powder room rather than in a regularly used bathroom. The exposed sides predispose the vessel to potential damage, and these sinks can be more difficult to maintain with high usage. Besides, the drama of a vessel sink can be appreciated again and again by guests.
Sinks are available in many materials, some of which we have mentioned above. Options include vitreous china (the original material), stainless steel, enameled metals, true metals (copper and bronze), natural stone, manufactured stone, and glass. Costs range from less than $100 to thousands of dollars for a single sink.
While dramatic bathrooms may be all the rage, this is a room that must be also considered in terms of ease of use and maintenance. Analyzing your family’s needs and the primary purpose of your new bathroom will help guide you to a wise choice for that new bathroom sink. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.