Do Vessel Sinks Require Special Fixtures?


Vessel sinks are fixtures finished on both the outside and inside. They are meant to sit on top of a vanity or pedestal, rather than within a countertop, and resemble an old fashioned basin that was once used for washing before indoor plumbing. Vessel sinks come in a wide variety of different styles and materials, and they work in many different bathroom designs. To help ensure that they function properly, use the correct faucets, fixtures and plumbing along with them.

Vanity Height

  • The standard height of a bathroom vanity ranges from 30 to 32 inches in height, with universal-height vanities measuring 34 inches in height. Vessel sinks measure from 3 to 8 inches tall. This, essentially, increases the height of the finished vanity to 33 to 42 inches high. Because these heights may be uncomfortable for some users, select the sink before selecting a vanity, and adjust the height of the vanity to place the sink at a comfortable level.


  • While vanities are frequently used with vessel sinks, some homeowners choose to use a pedestal instead. There are two basic types of pedestals used with vessel sinks: solid pedestals that act as a vanity with the vessel sink mounted on top, and pedestals that cradle the sink by allowing it to sit inside the top. The heights of these pedestals range from 24 to 30 inches in height; if you choose to use a pedestal, select one that works with the size and shape of your sink, as well as the desired finished height.


  • The faucet is a major consideration in the placement of a vessel sink. Standard sink faucets are too low to clear the rim of a vessel sink. Faucet valves with handles separate from the spout cannot be installed with a vessel sink because their placement would be too difficult to reach. Therefore the choices in faucet are a tall single lever faucet, a tall bridge faucet that has two handles up high near the spout or a wall-mounted faucet that is plumbed from the wall rather than from the counter. When selecting a faucet, take into consideration the height of the vessel; the spout needs to clear the rim and your hands should fit comfortably below it.


  • In most states, building code dictates that an overflow valve must be used with a bathroom sink, with the exception of vessel sinks. While some china vessel sinks do have an overflow channel, most vessel sinks do not. When installing a vessel sink with no overflow drain, use a grid strainer drain to ensure your sink passes code. If your sink does have an overflow drain, or your state does not require a grid strainer to pass code, you have the option of using a lift-and-turn drain with your vessel that allows you to fill it with water if desired.

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