Vessel Sinks Pros and Cons (Bathroom Designs)

Here we share our guide to vessel sinks pros and cons with design considerations and the answers to popular questions regarding this type of bathroom sink.Bathroom vessel sink with chrome faucetVessel sinks slightly differ from the typical drop in sink that we are used to. With this unique type of bathroom sink there are benefits and disadvantages when it comes to use, style, upkeep and flexibility.

These pros and cons could either point you straight towards or directly away from using the vessel sink in your home.[toc]

What is a Vessel Sink?

Vessel sinks on floating vanity wood backsplashA vessel sink is commonly known as a bowl sink. This type of sink is a sink that is freestanding on top of a counter.

Most other sinks are built into the sink, so the top of the sink sits flush with the countertop. A vessel sink is unique in that the bottom of the sink lines up with the top of the countertop and is attached at the drain.

For some shapes the entire bottom of the bowl sit on the countertop, but round bottom vessel sink there is just a small part at the bottom that is attached to the countertop.

A vessel sink is most commonly found in bathrooms, since they are not quite durable enough to withstand the needs and demands of a kitchen.

Vessel Sinks Pros

Bathroom with vessel sinks curved faucetExtra Space – A vessel sink add a little extra room in two spots. First, the counter space of a vessel sink is increased since the sink, which rounded, does not fully sit on the counter leaving extra room around the edges.

Additionally, there is extra room under the countertop since the bowl is not dropped into it. The under countertop space adds room for additional drawers or cabinet space.

Style – The style of a vessel sink is very elegant and versatile. The vessel sink gives a large wow factor even with a low up front cost.

There are a great deal of shapes, sizes and finishes that the vessel sink can come in, which can help in the coordination between the vessel sink and the other elements in the bathroom.

Installation – The installation is a breeze when it comes to vessel sinks. Most sinks need to be cut out and professionally installed, with a vessel sink, there only needs to be a drain hole in the counter and the sink sits directly on the top of the counter.

Flexibility – Similar to the ease of installation, the flexibility of the vessel sink is an extremely handy pro. Thanks to the lack of need to cut anything besides a drain hole, the sink is not stuck on a certain size or shape, it can be easily switched to follow trends or new users.Attic bathroom with vessel sink freestanding tub

Vessel Sinks Cons

Overflow – Typically a drop in sink has an overflow drain on the side, but with a vessel sink that is not possible. This means that a vessel sink could overflow if not properly watched. This causes the need for a special drain, which is described in detail below.

Maintenance – The maintenance of a vessel sink is a little more difficult that the average sink. Cleaning around the edges is difficult as the point where the sink meets the counter is a small angle and difficult to teach. This can cause extra needed maintenance as well as tools needed.

Durability – Vessel sinks are extremely exposed which can lead to cracking or chipping. The vessel sink is raised which can lead to added bumping into the bowl.

Style – While the style could be a pro, it could be a con as well. The vessel sink could potentially be a dated and unappealing item if not done correctly. Some designers think the sink is overdone and impractical.

Height – The rim of a vessel sink is higher than a typical sink which can make it difficult for shorter users. The height can also effect how functional using the sink for everyday activities can be.

Vessel Sink Designs

Bathroom with vessel sinks wood floating vanity freestanding tubAre Vessel Sinks Practical?

Unfortunately vessel sinks are not as practical as standard sinks. Vessel sinks sit higher than the average sink which can cause difficultly for shorter people or for completing everyday tasks such as washing your face or brushing your teeth.

The most practical space to put a vessel sink is a powder room or smaller bathroom where people will typically just wash their hands.

Vessel Sink Faucet Sizes

Another consideration to make is choosing the right bathroom faucet for this type of sink. Vessel sink faucets can be deck mounted or wall mounted. However, they differ from standard faucets in size.

Typically a deck mounted faucet for a vessel sink ranges in size from 12 to 17 inches tall. It often has a curved neck design that makes it easier for washing hands and to accommodate the higher sink bowl.

It’s important when installing to make sure the placement of the waterflow is directly in the center of the sink. This will help avoid unnecessary splashing of water.Small curved vessel sink in bathroom

Do Vessel Sinks Drain Slowly?

A vessel sink is commonly installed in combination with a grid drain. These types of drains can cause a slower draining process, but there are ways around that.

If there is proper venting to the drain pipes there should not be a problem with the draining. If there is a problem with the drain going down too slowly, it could become a larger issue since there is not an overflow drain to correct the problem if it gets too high.

Overflow drains are not an option for vessel sinks since the sink sits on the counter instead of underneath where it can be connected to a second draining pipe.Bathroom with porcelain vessel sink

Do Vessel Sinks Need a Special Drain?

As mentioned about the vessel sink does not have the capability to have an overflow drain, a typical drain has hookups for both the main drain and overflow drain.

To accommodate the lack of overflow drain there needs to be a special type of drain installed that only has the one pipe. This drain needs to be made to where it can drain at a correct speed by adding venting so that the sink does not drain too slow and overflow the sink regularly.Luxury bathroom with vessel sinks tub with views

Are Vessel Sinks Still in Style?

Vessel sinks are still a trendy choice if the correct style is selected. There are a lot of situations where the vessel sink is not the right pick for a functional bathroom, but that gives for of a rare and unique design.

The evolution on the design of the vessel sink has been keeping up with the changing fads by using differing materials and shapes. With more shapes, sizes and designs of vessel sinks they can expand to more styles, keeping the vessel sinks relevant.

Vessel Sinks Pros and Cons Infographic

Vessel sinks pros and cons

For more related content visit our gallery of the types of bathroom tiles.

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