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How To Update A Boring Bathroom, Part Five: Choosing & Installing A Vessel Sink

Updated on March 2, 2016

This is the year! The year I finally took the bull by the horns and renovated my ugly bathroom! So far I have painted my existing vanity to update it, put knobs on the handles and drawers which the builder never got around to, and put in a new countertop. Now at long last, I'm ready for my sinks! In love with the look of vessel sinks, I searched and searched for ones that were beautiful AND wouldn't break the bank. I tried to negotiate a couple of gorgeous Talaveras ones from Mexico from an e-bay seller, but unfortunately, could not talk her into the American way, a better price if I bought two. Believe me, I tried! I found ones I loved at a local salvage store, but I starting thinking about those bright flowers every morning and wondered if I will still be loving them five years down the road. Ummm...maybe not.


Choosing Your Drains For Your Vessel Sink

While I was at the salvage store, I saw a beautiful pale aqua one with a large bowl. It was the perfect match for my Caribbean blue walls. And lucky me, there were two since I have a double vanity in my bathroom. Once I got them home, I opened the boxes and found that they came with their own drains which were shiny chrome...ugh...not the look I was going for. So I bought rustic bronze drains on e-bay which turned out to be the wrong kind of drains once I got to installing them. Drains come as universal, with overflow, and without overflow. However, if you choose a laminate countertop, be careful of the type of drain you use or you will end up with one that spills water onto the UN-laminated part of your countertop INSIDE the drain...not a good thing. Also, if you're the kind of person who turns on the water and walks away from the sink to yell at your kids, feed the dog, etc., go with a drain with an overflow feature or you will be looking at an overflow of the bad kind. Although vessel sinks are lovely, they don't have the little hole near the rim that many traditional sinks do that prevent the sink from completely overflowing.

Supplies You Will Need To Install Your Vessel Sink

You will need the following supplies:

Vessel Sink

Vessel Sink Drain, get a universal

Silicone adhesive

Drill with spiral bit

Masking Tape

Plumber's putty

Plumber's wrench


Installing The Vessel Sinks & Drains

You should have installed your faucet first before you install your sink, so if you haven't, do it NOW!  Center the vessel sink under the faucet so the drain hole is lined up under the spout of the faucet.  If you don't, you will have a common problem with improperly installed vessel sinks and that is splashback.  You want to keep the water IN your beautiful sink and not all over your beautiful countertops!  Place a masking tape "X" in the drain hole of your sink to mark the point where you will need to drill the hole for the drain.  Now move your vessel sink out of the way, so it won't get broken.  Use a spiral drill bit to drill your drain hole, but before you go and drill that big hole, drill a starter hole with a small drill bit, so it will be easier to lay the tip of your spiral bit in it.  You will need to use a drill bit that will drill a hole the same diameter as the pipe which runs from your drain.  Once you have drilled the hole, you can drop the drain down  into it. 

Connecting The Plumbing To the Drain

Your drain should have come with a rubber gasket, a plastic washer, and a large lock nut. If these are on your drain, take them off now. You'll need them soon. Get some plumber's putty and roll it between your hands into a small snake just long enough to go around the underside of the drain. Now back under the sink you go! Run the rubber gasket all the way up the pipe leading from the drain, then the plastic washer, and last, the lock nut which will hold your drain securely in place. Don't overtighten it or you may crack your sink. Attach the drain stem and connect to the existing p-trap. Tighten everything, but again, don't overtighten. Now here's the crucial step, turn the water on. Make sure you have a bucket handy or towels to dry up any leaks. If you have some leaks, you need to pay attention to where they are coming from. Dry everything off and pat it down with toilet paper. This is a trick I use to help me quickly find a leak. You could have a bad connection due to old pipes you didn't replace while installing your new drain or faucet. It pays sometimes to spend a few dollars more and update your plumbing, particularly if you are living in an older home.

A Job Well Done

 And here's my beautiful vessel sink with the lovely rustic bronze drain all complete!  This has been quite a project, but what I've learned as you will too when you complete yours, it's not nearly as daunting as you think.  Just take everything one step at a time and if you get frustrated, walk away and come back to it later. Just make sure you turn the water off before you do!

My Beautiful Sink
My Beautiful Sink


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