The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Sinks: Which Type Is Right for You?
There are many styles of bathroom sinks, and each has its particular pros and cons—including its price. Since this seemingly simple fixture can have such a big impact on how a bathroom functions and looks, you may be wondering: What’s the best basin for our home?
That depends, of course, on your sense of style, budget, how many toiletries you like to stash on your counter, and plenty of other factors. “There are a large number of sinks that can be used in the bathroom, and in many cases, it’s just a question of aesthetics,”
A pedestal sink consists of a wall-hung basin with a pedestal that covers the plumbing.
Cost: $50 to $600
Pros: This is the most common type of bathroom sink, which means that they are easy to find
Cons: Pedestal sinks have a small lip, which limits the room you have for setting out things like soap or toothbrush holders
Wall-mount sinks feature a basin that is hung from the wall at a location and height that you choose. The pipes are partially concealed behind the wall.
Cost: Sinks start at around $60 (the model below is $75 from American Standard and available at Home Depot) and can go up to $700 or so.
Pros: These can be very small or fairly large. And they are good from the standpoint of those who want to take into account universal design or to age in place, because a wheelchair can roll under them, says Walsh.
Cons: Wall-mount sinks have a flat horizontal steel hanger bracket that’s bolted to the wall with the sink fixture hung on the bracket. Because of this design, a gap can open between the sink and the wall if not installed correctly. “And you won’t have a lot of storage or counter space,”
These sinks, also called drop-ins and self-rimming sinks, fit into a variety of countertops. Thanks to their self-rimming nature, they’re the simplest type to install. “Countertop sinks are the style most commonly found in high-traffic family bathrooms,”
Cost: Starts at $100 and can go up to $1,000.
Pros: These come in a variety of materials from slumped glass to cultured marble. They are also easy to clean and install because it’s all one component.
Cons: If the sink doesn’t come with an overflow drain, it will end up requiring a grid drain (one that can’t close) in some states.
What’s the Best Bathtub or Shower for Your Bathroom Remodel? How to Pick
One of the most exciting phases of a bathroom remodel is picking out the perfect bathtub or shower. Choosing the right wet features for a bathroom warrants a hard look at all your options. After all, this is how you can turn a necessary room into a spalike retreat
But you probably already know that you have a lot of options to consider—and that it risks getting just a tad overwhelming in addition to figuring out your budget. That’s why, in this latest installment of our “Dream Bathroom Remodeling Guide,” we take you through the best ways to choose a bath, shower, and other wet features for your new bathroom.
Main wet feature considerations
Budget: Before you get your heart set on that Japanese wooden soaking tub, confirm how much cash you have on hand. Generally, you should expect to allocate between 10% and 15% of your total bathroom renovation budget to wet features. Just remember, you can’t take wet features with you when you move, so proceed with caution.
Space: How much space do you have, and what’s your ability to manipulate that space via plumbing? “If you currently only have a walk-in shower but you want a tub, square one is figuring out if you have room to add it,”
Bathing habits: Some people like the look of a walk-in shower, but really love a good soak in the tub. “Alternately, some people haven’t used the tub since their kids were little,”
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Bathroom Tile for Your Walls, Floors, and More
Types of tile: Pros, cons, and price
Let’s talk about tile choices. “The first thing you need to understand is that all bathroom tile is going to get wet, due to moisture and water vapor,”
That means that every single piece of tile in the entire bathroom—yes, even walls far from a shower or sink—should be able to withstand water. So you want a nonporous tile in the bathroom whenever possible. Porcelain, ceramic, and glass tiles are nonporous and hold up well; meanwhile, marble and many natural stones are porous and should be avoided.
Cost: About $2 to $15 per square foot.
Pros: This low-maintenance tile is ideal for both bathroom floors and walls, because the surface absorbs little moisture. That means it also resists stains. In addition, only soap and water are needed to maintain it.
Cons: The one big downside of porcelain is that it’s a pain to install. The material is very dense, which makes precise cuts harder and means that the installation takes longer to complete. This type of tile also requires a fair amount of grout, which can easily get dirty if it isn’t sealed properly.
Cost: About $3 to $30 per square foot.
Pros: Ceramic tile not only comes in classic white subway tile but offers a range of colors and patterns that give remodelers a lot of possibilities to choose from. It is exceptionally durable, and examples of ceramic tile have survived intact for thousands of years. It is often used on shower walls.
Cons: Ceramic is softer than porcelain, so it’s not a good option for high-traffic bathroom floors. And when ceramic chips, the color underneath is different from the shade on top, which makes the breakage more noticeable (porcelain is the same color throughout). The tile is also not as water-resistant as porcelain.
Cost: $1 to $18 per square foot.
Pros: The biggest advantage of stone tiles is their uniqueness and beauty. These eco-friendly tiles are also not as slippery as porcelain and ceramic tile, and their durability makes them a good choice for showers.
Cons: Acid like vinegar can stain or damage natural stone, so you have to be very careful when cleaning it. And because the stone occurs naturally rather than being fired in a kiln, it can have small natural cracks that get larger over time. Just make sure to seal the tile to make it water-resistant. “Never use natural stone in a steam shower, and try to keep green marbles out of the bathroom, as they have a tendency to get flaky around water,”
Crucial Plumbing Facts That Could Make or Break Your Bathroom Remodel
Planning to remodel your bathroom into the oasis of your dreams? Then you’d better get a handle on your plumbing. Even if you don’t see the pipes connected to your sink or shower, understanding how they work is essential if you want your bathroom renovation to turn out all right (and within budget).
Bathroom remodel 101: Types of pipes
In the past, most bathroom plumbing pipes were made of cast iron or galvanized metal. However, these pipes won’t work with many of the newfangled, water-saving setups like, say, low-flow toilets. Low-flow toilets will save about 17,000 gallons of water yearly. (Note: Flushing a standard toilet uses about 38% of an average household’s water.) The catch is, they require PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes. But updating to these kinds of pipes is both easy and affordable.
You also need to figure out if you prefer hidden or exposed plumbing when you’re looking to buy your sink, tub, or toilet.
If you have a lot of visible plumbing, you might want to use copper pipes instead of PVC or PEX, because copper is more appealing aesthetically. Just keep in mind that it’s more expensive and difficult to work with, since sawing and fitting these pipes into place will take more work than cutting soft, flexible PEX/PVC.
Plumbing can affect a bathroom’s layout
The existing water and drain lines in your bathroom usually dictate the location of fixtures in your renovation. You can move pipes and drains—although it’ll cost you—but some relocations might be impossible.
How to Hire a Bathroom Contractor Who’ll Design a Dream, Not a Nightmare
Is it time to turn your en suite bathroom into a personal oasis? Before you start poring over which tiles or slipper tub to install, know that the far more crucial choice is to find the right contractor for the job.
How to find a good bathroom contractor
Sure, ask your friends and neighbors who’ve redone their bathroom for recommendations. But that should just be the start. You’ll want to go online to conduct a broad search for contractors in your area, particularly those who specialize in bathrooms. While any contractor can technically work in any room of the home, it’s best to hire someone with specific bathroom experience. Sometimes it’s essential.
If you are only replacing fixtures that you can pick out, look for a contractor who can simply execute your plans, which will save you money. If you want a complete reimagination, then consider hiring a contractor who can also help you with design.
Questions to ask a bathroom contractor
To get a snapshot of the contractor’s business practices, interview all your potential hires before a meeting. Ask if they have experience with bathrooms similar to yours. Because if you have an older home with tricky plumbing, you likely want a contractor who can roll with quirks. Ditto if you live in a brand-new condo with high-pressure plumbing.
Finally, ask how often the contractor will communicate with you. If he has a lot of other projects that keeps him away, who will realize if, for example, the wrong cabinets were delivered? That may seem like a small thing, but there’s a six-week lead time for cabinets, so mistakes can have a massive impact.