Vessel sinks offer a sleek, classy, modern appearance to any space. The bowl of the sink sits on the top of the counter, offering a distinct look unique to other traditional types of sinks. Unlike standard sinks, vessel sinks don’t typically have an overflow drain.
So, if you’ve installed regular sinks, you might be wondering how the installation process differs without the overflow feature. Or, perhaps, you have no idea where to start and need guidance through the process. Either way, we have you covered, so keep reading to learn more!
Do Vessel Sinks Need Overflow?
No, vessel sinks don’t necessarily need overflow. Given the design of a vessel sink, an overflow drain doesn’t make sense. The majority of vessel sinks don’t even have an overflow drain. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this – some manufacturers get creative with incorporating an overflow drain in their vessel sinks.
Is There A Special Drain For A Vessel Sink?
Bathroom vessel sink drains are different from regular drains in sinks with drain overflow. For the most part, people use one of two drain types: pop-up and grid.
Pop-up drains are a good pick if you want to periodically plug or unplug the drain. You can’t plug grid drains, but they’ll do the trick. Make sure you choose one with big enough holes to allow quick drainage.
Typical drains allow proper drainage via the pop-up drain, which is linked to an overflow.
The sink overflow essentially promotes proper drainage by allowing air into the drain pipe through the overflow channel. When the sink bowl is filled with water, high enough to cover the drain overflow openings, the drain can’t get air through the water. This creates a suction effect and slows down drainage progress.
Since vessel sinks sit above the countertop, resting on the surface instead of below it, there usually isn’t an overflow in the design. So, there needs to be an alternative method to allow the sink to drain correctly. Because of this, you’ll need a specific drain to get the job done.
How Do I Install A Vessel Sink Without Overflow?
Installing a vessel sink can seem like an intimidating task. Add in the lack of sink overflow, and the prospect can seem even more daunting. Luckily, with the right tools, the job is straightforward. It shouldn’t take you long, and despite the intimidating thought of tackling the project, it’s not too bad.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the specifics. Before we start, make sure you have the proper materials. You won’t need any crazy, special tools, but you do need a few products that aren’t necessarily regular household items. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pop-up drain
- Silicone waterproof putty
- Pencil or chalk
- Putty gun or knife
- Plumber’s glue
- Leveling tool
- Mounting ring (optional)
Once you have all of your tools together, start by turning off the water. With most plumbing projects, this is an excellent precautionary step. Some homes have shut-off valves that control certain faucets, while others don’t. If not, you’ll need to turn off the main water shut-off valve.
Position Your Sink
Your first step (after shutting off the water, of course) is to position your sink. Line the vessel sink up with the vanity or countertop underneath. Use the drain holes as a guide for placement. Mark the edges with a piece of chalk or a pencil to have a clear visual guide.
Then, turn over the sink and apply a bead of waterproof silicone putty to the bottom edge. Using the marks you made as a guide, move the sink into place over the drain hole. Double-check that the sink is perfectly in place, preferably before the silicone putty dries.
While the putty is still wet, use your level to ensure the sink is positioned evenly on the surface. Adjust the sink accordingly if it leans to either side.
If putty oozes out from the bottom, let it try before trying to remove it. It comes away fairly easily with a putty knife once it dries, but you might make a mess if you try to tinker with it while it’s wet.
Tip: If your vessel sink is glass, you’ll need a mounting ring for underneath the sink. Glass sinks might be handmade, so there are some inconsistencies here and there. A mounting ring helps ensure the sink sits totally level on the countertop.
Assemble The Drain
The next step in this process involves the drain. Most sinks come with a drain assembly that perfectly fits the specific sink in question. If your sink doesn’t come with one, you’ll have to purchase the assembly separately.
Since your vessel sink doesn’t have an overflow drain, the main drain shouldn’t have a connection to a separate exit. This works great for easy installation, as it eliminates part of the process.
Apply a bead of waterproof sealant around the drain hole to install the drain. Then, using the correct drain model, insert the drain through the sink’s drain hole and into the vanity or countertop below.
If done correctly, the drain should fit snugly into the hole, and the sealant should be plentiful enough to hold the drain in place and create a watertight seal. Take a peek underneath the sink and make sure the rubber gaskets and other mechanisms are firmly in place against the bottom of the sink.
Be sure not to overtighten the drain, as it may crack or damage the vessel sink, especially if it’s made of glass or ceramic.
Install The Extras
The faucet is often separate from the sink, particularly with a vessel sink. While the spigot and handles will hook up to the drainage system beneath the sink, you’ll still need to install this part.
Install the faucet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you hook up the hot and cold water lines to the right sides. Add plenty of sealant, as leaks and seepage aren’t a fun side effect to deal with later.
Hook Up The Plumbing
Now, you need to install the plumbing. Once the upper portion of the drain is in place, and the sealant is dry, you can install the necessary plumbing. If the drainpipe is too long for the space, use a hacksaw to shorten the length to the appropriate size.
After you trim the drainpipe, connect the pipe that extends straight out of the bottom of the drain to the P-trap. The end of the two pipes should feature threads that easily screw onto each other. Then, attach the main pipe that extends from the wall to the other end of the P-trap.
Use plumber’s glue to secure these two ends and ensure they’re airtight and waterproof. Use the wrench to tighten the connections, but don’t overtighten them. This could cause cracks, resulting in leaks.
Check Your Handiwork
Now that everything is hooked up and in place, you need to check your work. Turn the water supply back on, then test the drain. Fill the sink up with water (if you don’t have a grid drain), then drain it completely.
If the water drains quickly and efficiently, great job – you did it! While the sink is filling and emptying, check above and below the sink for leaks. Keep an eye out for sneaky leaks, like water dripping down the side of the pipe below the drain.