Design Considerations For Vessel Sinks

Vessel sinks are very popular in contemporary bathroom design. However, there are a few important details to consider to make sure the sink is placed correctly and the tap is compatible with the sink.

The first detail to consider is the height of the vanity. Typically, a vanity is 32 inches off the floor, but because a vessel sink sits on top of the vanity, the height of the cabinet may need to be lowered so that sink is not too high.

The second detail to consider is the location of the tap. Some vessels allow the tap to be top mounted on the sink itself while others require the tap to be mounted behind the sink on the counter. If the tap is top mounted, you need to make sure that the lever handle does not hit the mirror or backsplash when the tap is turned on. If the tap is mounted behind the vessel, you may need a deeper counter top to make everything fit front to back.

Finally, you will need to make sure that the vessel and tap are compatible so there is not a lot of splash created when the water hits the sink. This is particularly important for wall mounted taps. Ideally, these should be mounted so the spout is no more than a few inches above the rim of the vessel after the sink is installed.

Today’s Slides:

  • Li-Na

    *Thank you* for mentioning the splash issue! It is one of my pet peeves! I usually find taps mounted too high thus creating a lot of splash (and I’m not a messy hand-washer, I don’t think) or too low (making me feel cramped when I use the sink).

  • Matthew North

    Hi Li-Na – “spalsh” is a huge issue. This is one of the problems in the modern world where home owners and designers think that any sink can go with any faucet……wrong! There are some combinations that are particularly bad – for example a lot of the flat bottom sinks can be a problem if the faucet has an angled spray.

  • Steve in Van

    I don’t know how long the vessel sink fad will last, but it is an oppportunity for additional personalization and complexity in bath design.  For myself, I just don’t want more surface area to clean.  :) 

    Thanks for mentioning faucet placement.  I see many newer faucets placed to the right, and their spouts reach to the center of the basin, making it difficult to wash one’s face.  Ergonomically I’d think ideal placement would be centered with the spout near the back of the basin, giving more room to maneuver and accommodating left and right-handed users.  What do others think?

  • JesseS

    For me I find most vessel sinks a disaster both from a ascetic and practical perspective especially the round bowl type.  Far too often they are too small to be very usable or glass and impossible to keep looking clean or so fanciful they look dated before they get installed.  One great advantage if you can find one you like is that the install is top mount thus making for a simple cutout in the countertop with no edge polishing.  In that respect they are an easier choice than under-mount for the DIYer.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Jesse – I do think the “Neptune Zen” brand of vessels are an easy install – with the faucet top mounted, the placement of the tap is predetermined and there is no splash issues – it is also much easier for the counter fabricator as they only have to provide one hole for the drain and faucet.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Steve – we have off-set the faucets in some of our projects due to depth issues with the counter. Done well, the result can be good.

  • Li-Na

    Once you’ve picked a faucet and sink, how do you tell if there will be splash issues without having to install them first? Is this where eyeballing it and experience comes in? :-)

  • JesseS

    This is funny, I’ve had just this problem with a Cifal faucet and one of the low profile flat bottomed Duravit sinks. In a house where the water pressure was particularly good the water would splash all over your belt area if you accidentally turned it on past about half way!  My solution was to partially close the supply valves so that it tamed things down to a reasonable velocity…worked great.

  • Corrinafrank

    splash issue… grrrrr… I recently bought an expensive but beautiful goose neck tap, it looks fabulous but  it is way too high for the sink.  water splashes everywhere.  I wish someone told me about this before I purchased it.  It annoys me so  much I will have to replaace it.  waste of money.  not happy

  • ellen

    I am installing a counter top vessel sink. The height of the glass vessel is 6 inches. How high should the cabinet be?

  • Steph

    People keep saying not to put the faucet too high but no one says how many inches above the sink is too high. Some actual measurements would be helpful.

  • Bruce Shannon

    I am trying to convert a bedroom dresser into a bathroom vanity. I am using a vessel sink. Can anyone tell me if I need to reinforce the wood top of the dresser and if so how?