Often called a bathroom sink, bathroom wash basins are used by everybody from family members to guests and in this challenging new times, we are washing our hands more than ever.
Before you decide on a sink, think first about where it is going to go and how it will be used. If you are placing the sink in a downstairs cloakroom, for example, then you'll probably only be using it to wash your hands so a small, shallower basin will suffice. If you have a larger space, you can choose a bigger, deeper basin which will give you the room to wash your hair or hand wash clothes.
Remember that the bulk of bathroom basins will need to be fixed to the wall so you need to be aware of the type of wall you plan to mount the basin on especially since most people tend to lean on the sink at some point, children especially, so you need to ensure the basin is secure. If your wall is made from brickwork, masonry or blockwork then you should be fine with any type of basin but if you only have studwork wall you'll need to reinforce the wall before you add your sink. If you are not sure what type of wall you have, try knocking on it - a hollow sound means you have a stud wall.
BATHROOM BASIN MATERIALS
The most popular materials that a bathroom basin will come in are ceramic, porcelain and marble.
Ceramic is a material that will stand the test of time, produced from moulded clay and fired in a kiln making it very durable. It is easy to clean and care for and does not stain.
Porcelain is made from ceramic in a kiln and comes in two different types - fine fire-clay and Vitreous China. Fine fire-clay is more porous of the two and needs to be glazed to prevent it from absorbing too much water. Porcelain can be good value for money but there are higher-end pieces on the market.
Marble sinks are definitely the luxury option and are the most expensive. Due to the nature of marble it is very strong, easy to clean and is not prone to scratches.
TYPES OF BATHROOM BASINS
The most commonly recognisable basins are full pedestal basins which are handy to hide pipework and plumbing. These are the least complicated to fit and with a larger pedestal you can have a larger, heavier basin. These are common in family bathrooms and you'll have plenty of variety to choose from, whether you prefer traditional or ultra modern minimalism.
Be aware, however that the pedestal itself isn't designed to hold the full weight of the basin so you need to ensure the wall is strong enough to take the weight of the basin.
You can also find semi-pedestal basins which are wall hung basins with a smaller pedestal that doesn't reach the ground. They help give the illusion of space underneath with all of the ugly plumbing hidden within the small pedestal. It makes cleaning super easy but remember the wall needs to take the weight of the basin.
Counter top basins sit completely on top of a worktop or vanity unit - it looks like you have simply set a bowl down on the counter that you could lift off and walk away with.
They offer an uncluttered look as no pipework is visible. Since they often do not come with tap holes, you will need tall basin taps to reach over the side of the basin or wall mounted taps.
A counter top basin might not be the best option for those with children as the taps can be difficult to reach.
Wall mounted basins maximise floor space and create a clean look. They are a great option for en suites, cloakrooms and smaller bathrooms.
The wall has to support the full weight of the basin as with pedestal basins and the plumbing is exposed so it pays to have a chrome finish trap (the pipework drainage) to give a more polished, clean look.
Corner basins are designed to fit into a right angle corner which is often the only space available in a cloakroom or small bathroom.
They can be wall mounted or floor standing. If opting for the wall mounted version, all of the plumbing will be exposed as with any wall hung basin so you will probably want to fit a chrome bottle trap to make the pipework look neat and tidy.
Furniture basins are typically a vanity unit with a basin sunk into a cut out portion, sealed into place with silicone - they can also be placed into worktops or shelves/ledges.
Fully recessed basins merge seamlessly with the counter top, taking up minimal space whilst offering a sleek design.
Semi-recessed basins are partially exposed at the front rim, while the pipework remains hidden.
Double basins can be the ideal solution for busy homes or couples who like to perform their bathroom rituals at the same time. These work best for large bathrooms as they take up more wall space than any other type of basin.
Glass basins offer a contemporary look and make a bold statement.
You can find them in almost any colour imaginable and in a variety of styles from clear to mottled glass.
The two main types are the ones which look very much like a regular bathroom basin and those which are a large glass bowl with separate tap.
Resin basins are made from a poly-resin blend, also known as 'man made stone'.
They are incredibly durable, easy to clean and can be cast into any shape or size.
Resin has a nonporous surface that makes it resistant to stains, scratches and discoloration.
Washstand basins will give any bathroom a classic, vintage feel but there are more contemporary designs available that will work in any modern bathroom. The frame doubles as a handy towel rail and there is plenty of space underneath giving an airy feel. Again, the the plumbing is exposed underneath so you will need to purchase a bottle trap.
To complete your basin the choice of taps is just as important as the basin itself - you need to opt for taps that match the style and theme of your bathroom but are also compatible with your chosen basin. If your basin only has one hole you'll have to chose a mixer tap - this is more common with modern basins. Traditional basins have two holes meaning you will need pillar taps (separate hot and cold tap). You can find out more about buying the perfect bathroom taps here.