Vessel Sinks Guide, Glass or Copper, and a bit of History

2 vessel sinks in a bathroomIs A Vessel Sink Right For My Bathroom? As you do your research on vessel sinks, there are some important things to consider when trying to determine if a vessel sink is right for you and your home. Vessel sinks are a truly beautiful addition to any bathroom, but before adding one to yours make sure you know just how it will affect the look and feel of your bathroom, as well as other things like how much storage space you have.

As you probably know, vessel sinks are a fixture in themselves, meaning they do not really mount inside anything. Rather, they are mounted on top of some kind of cabinet. A vessel sink is not just a sink. A bathroom vessel sink is both sink as well as a piece of art.

Most are handcrafted and can be made of things like, porcelain, granite, marble, or stone. But while they are pretty to look at, they do come with complications:


First of all, you do have to have the right kind of cabinet on which to place the vessel sink. This means your cabinet or vanity will be lower than normal. This is because the sink is mounted on top of the cabinet rather than down in it. This means if you mount the sink on a standard cabinet or vanity, the top of the sink bowl would be much higher than that of a standard bathroom sink.


So, your cabinet will be lower in height. This will result in a couple of things. First of all the working surface of the counter top will be lower than you are used to having. Your toothbrush, shaving gear, etc, will all be several inches lower than it has been in the past. This is not a deal breaker to most people. In a short amount of time you will have adjusted and forgotten about the height difference of the counter space.


Here is the first of two more potentially bigger issues. Your cabinet is shorter, so you have lost some storage area. Many people find a great vessel sink, install it, admire it, then look under the cabinet and have a “wow, i didn’t think of that” moment. So consider just how big your bathroom is and what other storage you have available, if any, in that room. One positive is your sink will not be hanging under the inside of the cabinet like a conventionally mounted sink, although your drain will still have to come down through the cabinet. This gains a certain amount of space back.


The issue that usually is a bigger deal to people than losing a little storage is the issue of water lines. You basically have two options. First, and perhaps the most stylish looking, is to have the faucet and hot and cold knobs coming out of your wall directly behind the vessel sink. This keeps the hardware off the counter top and really lets you show off the vessel sink. Keep in mind this positioning of the plumbing will cost you more to have installed if it was not already configured this way.


Your water lines have to be run inside the wall and then mounted above the sink. A good plumber can do this in a couple of hours, so you are probably looking at a couple of hundred dollars in labor. The other option for your hardware is to use the standard top of counter top mounting. Chances are you will still have to have adjustments made to the mounting versus what you had with your conventional sink, but this will be a cheaper alternative than the wall mounted plumbing.

Vessel sinks are great additions to any bathroom. Just keep in mind all the little things we have mentioned in this article and you should not have any surprises!

Glass Vessel Sinks

Glass vessel sinkThe renewed interest in vessel sinks began approximately 10 years ago, but vessel sinks are one of the very earliest forms of sink known to man. Think about it, before houses had plumbing, people still had a need to wash themselves. The common technique was to have a vessel of some sort on their dresser and they could then wash their hands indoors rather than outside in the elements.

Even though vessel sinks are not new, the designs of modern vessel sinks can be true works of art that would have been beyond the thinking of that family a couple of hundred years ago that just wanted a convenient way to wash their hands.

People of this era want more than that. We want to make a statement about our style and we look for unique ways to do that. Putting a glass vessel sink in your bathroom is definitely one of those ways.

Glass vessel sinks come in many colors, sizes and shapes. Oh, and one more thing; they come in a wide variety of prices and can be very expensive. But with modern production technology it is possible to get a very beautiful glass vessel sink at a reasonable price. It will not be a one of a kind piece, but it will still be a thing of beauty and will definitely have your house guests talking.

The bathroom has become a target of people who are both upgrading their home and seeking to make a style statement at the same time. Since the bathroom is one of the smallest rooms in the home, there are only a few ways to really make an impact in terms of style. The sink is one of those places, and since a vessel sink mounts atop or only partially recessed into the vanity, a glass vessel sink gives you a great opportunity to have sink that is a real focal point and conversation starter.

Glass sinks have become a popular choice for bathroom renovations due to their variety, and also their price. As we said, they can get expensive. But, a glass bathroom sink will likely be less expensive than a copper sink or a sink made from other, more exotic materials.

In terms of style, you can go with a clean, minimalistic look with a clear glass bathroom sink, or you can go crazy with color and art design on a more decorative glass sink. The bar area is ideal for a glass vessel sink for the same reasons as the bathroom. It is a smaller area and there are limited ways to input your style into the bar’s inherent look and feel.

Whatever glass vessel sink you choose, and whatever room you choose for it’s placement, there is no doubt it will be unique and probably unlike anything your house guests have seen before. The sinks in your home are great ways to make style changes, and the great thing is you are upgrading a functional item at the same time as you are upgrading your decor.

Copper Vessel Sink

Copper vessel sinkOK, you have decided that a vessel sink is right for your bathroom. But now the more difficult decision has to be made. Just what kind of vessel sink will you choose? Obviously you want to add style to the room or you would not have chosen a vessel sink. Now that you have made that decision, let the sink be part of the decor and go with a copper vessel sink.

Consider the rest of the room and any other decorations you have or are going to add to it. Be sure to consider how they will interact with your new copper sink. This sink will be a focal point, almost a central point of the room’s theme, so you will have to make sure to use other decorations that enhance it rather than clash with it.

Now that you have planned out the theme of the bathroom, let’s talk about the functionality of your copper vessel sink. Copper has qualities that you may not have know about unless you have dealt with copper before:

  1. First, it has some positive, healthy characteristics like the fact that it is naturally antibacterial. Bacteria cannot survive on a copper surface for more than a few hours. When you compare that to the surface of stainless steel, where bacteria can thrive for days, you quickly see there are other reasons to use copper besides it’s beauty.
  2. Another worry some people have is the worry about just how to clean copper. Again, the truth is this is not a problem at all. Copper is extremely easy to clean and you only need to use soap and water. There is no need for special cleaners, in fact you really do not want to use these products as they can inhibit the natural qualities of copper.

Useful to know

When selecting your copper vessel sink, make sure you choose a quality sink:

  • Copper vessel sinks are generally a bit more expensive than standard sinks, so the natural tendency is to look for a good deal. That is fine, but you should not blindly pick a cheap copper vessel sink.
  • Copper sinks are hand made, and may have welds in them. You must make sure if your sink has welds that the welds are copper like the rest of the sink.
  • A big reason for this is that as copper ages the finish will transform from shiny to a more rustic reddish copper look. If you have welds made from a material other than copper, your sink’s color will not be even as it ages.
  • Different copper sinks will age in different ways, but this process is one of the things that make copper so unique and beautiful. This is also another reason you do not want to purchase a cheap copper sink just because of the price.
  • Make sure the sink is truly 100% copper. You may find low prices on sinks that are not truly copper sinks. This is only an issue of you are bargain hunting and run into a smaller, foreign supplier.

If you stick to the copper sinks made in the United States and Mexico, you will have a huge selection to choose from and you greatly reduce the risk of being sold an inferior product.

The History Of Vessel Sinks

Vessel sink in historyGenerations ago, before indoor plumbing was created and affordable for everyone, people still had a need to wash themselves. Vessel sinks were the norm for that chore, as a vessel sink is really no more than a basin that holds water. In those days when people had a roof over their head but no plumbing, a vessel sink was simply a basin they placed on top of their dressing table or anywhere else that allowed quick and easy access.

That was the situation yesteryear. In modern times, we not only have plumbing in our homes, but we have both hot and cold water and full drain systems to take the waste water out of the home and properly dispose of it. As this situation became common, the use of vessel sinks dropped off to almost nothing. They were replaced with sinks much like you see everywhere today. These sinks mount in some kind of cabinet and come in all shapes and sizes. But really, they are more functional than anything else.

We have all heard the saying “Everything old is new again”. That is as true with vessel sinks than anything. In recent years vessel sinks have come back into vogue, and now they are not just functional, they are true works of art. These sinks are becoming more common in high end restaurants along with homes of all economic status levels.

Modern vessel sinks are sleek in design and made from a wide variety of materials:

Some of the more spectacular versions are granite vessel sinks. But good old porcelain is still popular and more affordable than granite. Glass vessel sinks are very stylish, and for something really high end, consider a marble vessel sink. The bowls of these sinks have become much like an artist’s canvas. You can get very elaborate and beautiful patterns and designs etched into your vessel sink. The result is your sink is not only functional, but a true work of art as well.

A vessel sink is more susceptible to damage since the entire sink is exposed at all times. You will also probably find your storage space has decreased. For these reasons give careful thought to which kind of vessel sink is best for your situation. You are likely to have added plumbing expense in addition to that of the sink and the installation of the sink. The water lines and drain will have to be adjusted at the very least, and more than likely moved entirely in order accommodate your vessel sink.

If you are seeking a touch of style and elegance in your bathroom, a vessel sink could be just what you need. Consider all the options and make your choice wisely. A vessel sink will cost more than a conventional sink, but you will be adding a functional work of art as well as a conversation piece to your bathroom.

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8 thoughts on “Vessel Sinks Guide, Glass or Copper, and a bit of History”

    1. Typically, you want to the waste stub out to be at 20 inches and the water supply stub-outs to be at 22. There is another type of height concern too. The typical bathroom vanity, the kind with a recessed sink, is usually between 32 and 36 inches high. When tall people live in the house they prefer the 36 inch height. However, when installing a vessel sink this height should be taken into consideration. If you sit a 6 inch bowl on top of the 36 inch vanity, will this be comfortable for you? If not, consider these two alternatives. 1) Use a vanity that is less than standard height. 2) Choose a vessel sink that is made of a material other than glass. If you choose a stone sink, you can recess the sink slightly into your vanity so that only the sides rise up above the vanity. Glass vessel sinks have to be mounted above the sink.

    1. Hi Jacky! The right faucet and faucet placement is critical to reduce splashing. The faucet needs to properly match the type of sink you’ve purchased. There are waterfall, cascading type faucets you can try. Where the water hits your sink is really a key. So, if you consider those factors before installing your sink, splashing should be kept to a minimum.

    1. Hi Tom! Yes, you can. Now, the type of bowl you use is going to make the job easy or hard. The things to keep in mind are:

      Making sure the bowl you choose has the proper slope towards the drain (or where the drain should go) so that you don’t have standing water when using the sink. You may want to have your faucet and drain fittings before you make the cut so you can make sure the circle you cut out will fit the faucet you plan to put in. I’ve mentioned many times before, the type of faucet used is very important when it comes to placement and use of vessel sinks.

      If you’re planning to use a glass bowl, you might want to have a professional glass cutter cut the drain hole for you. Make sure the glass you use is thick enough. You don’t want to use a thin glass that will crack easily if something is dinged against it. Also, with glass bowls you need to make sure you have some sort of silicone or connecting ring to use between the sink and the counter for cushioning.

      There are many other types of bowls to use though. Don’t forget about stainless steel and stone bowls. Also, who says the ‘bowl’ has to be round? There are troughs and square or rectangular types of containers that may work well. My personal opinion is that these other materials are easier than glass to use in a ‘make your own vessel sink’ project.

    1. If you’re going to use the type of vanity that has no holes drilled or any markings for a sink, you want to place the vanity exactly in the position in the room in which it will be installed permanently.

      • With the vanity in place, decide where you will want the faucet to be installed.
      • Draw on the vanity or create a paper template to mark the position of the faucet (remember, vessel sink faucets should be about a half inch from the sink).
      • Next, place the sink in the position in which you want it to be permanently.
      • Make a template for the outline of the sink.
      • Place the template directly on the surface of the vanity in the spot where the sink will stand. The spacing is up to you.

      Simulate using the sink and see what feels comfortable to you. Are you stretching to far over to get your hands above the center of the sink? Adjust as desired.

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