How To Mount A Vessel Sink

Vessel sinks offer a classy, polished look from their place, perched on the countertop. These sinks come in various configurations, colors, and designs to meet the aesthetic preferences of multiple individuals. You can find stainless steel, porcelain, and glass vessel sinks, among others. 

Given their unique appearance, vessel sinks can be slightly tricky to install, depending on the model. So, if you recently purchased a vessel sink for your bathroom, continue reading to learn more about installing one!

What Does A Vessel Sink Sit On?

A vessel sink is a basin that rests on a countertop or vanity. Depending on the specific configuration of the sink, either recessed or above-counter, the sink may rest on a mounting ring. The ring helps dock the sink to the counter, giving it a surface for support. 

Since the above-counter appearance isn’t typically convenient for kitchen settings, vessel sinks usually appear in bathrooms, offering an elegant feel to the space.  

Can You Put A Vessel Sink On Any Vanity?

Can You Put A Vessel Sink On Any Vanity

Technically, you can put a vessel sink on any vanity or cabinet. Depending on the vanity’s available space, you may have to get creative with how you mount the sink. However, it may be doable if you’re up to the challenge.

The primary issues that affect placement include things like the height of the cabinet and whether it has available countertop space. In addition, keep your current plumbing situation in mind, as this may affect placement. 

Several companies offer vanities that are specifically designed for vessel sinks. So, if you want to avoid the headache of making the sink work with a complicated space, consider buying one of those. 

What Holds A Vessel Sink In Place?

Depending on the particular vessel sink you buy, your sink may fix in place via a secured mounting ring. On the other hand, the instructions may call for a bead of silicone caulk directly on the sink to seal it to the countertop. 

Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions for sealing and fixing the sink in place, as it varies from one to another. 

How To Mount A Vessel Sink

Mounting a vessel sink will consume an hour or two of your time, maybe longer, depending on the specific type. The following steps outline what you need to do to get your sink installed and ready to roll. 

Here’s what you’ll need for the installation process:

  • Vessel sink
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Drain fitting and tailpiece
  • Pipe-joint compound
  • Drain trap assembly (1 ¼ inch or 1 ½ inch, as necessary)
  • Tongue and groove pliers
  • Hacksaw (as required)
  • Rag 

Pick The Right Sink And Faucet

Pick The Right Sink And Faucet

When choosing your vessel sink, ensure you pick a faucet that will work with the sink. Since the bowl towers over the countertop, you’ll probably need a high-arc faucet for the two to be compatible. 

Alternatively, you could install a wall-mount faucet, but that will require you to open up the wall to handle the plumbing side of things. Whichever option you choose, it’s usually easier to install the faucet before the sink, so you don’t have to work around the raised bowl.

Prepare The Countertop

After you select your sink, you need to prepare the countertop. Ensure both the faucet and sink bowl have adequate room on the countertop before starting. If you don’t have ample space, you’ll have to replace your countertop or reevaluate your choice for the vessel sink.

For the sink and faucet to look aesthetically pleasing and provide optimal functionality, ensure you coordinate the two and drill holes in the suitable locations. Many vessel sinks come with a template that gives you a precise layout for cutting the hole. 

If the countertop is made of natural stone (quartz, granite, etc. ), engineered stone, or cultured marble, you may need a professional to cut the holes. If the countertop is a different material (wood slab, laminate, etc.) and you feel comfortable handling the cut, go ahead and do so. Remember that there’s no going back once the holes are there, so double-check your layout alignment! 

Position The Sink

Vessel Sink Rectangular - Sarlai 19"x15" White Bathroom Sink Rectangle Above Counter Porcelain Ceramic Bathroom Vessel Vanity Sink Art Basin

Once the holes are cut and everything is ready to go, start by positioning the sink on the countertop. Depending on the particular sink, you may have a mounting ring or gasket designed for between the sink and the countertop.

If your sink has one, position the ring over the drain opening and rest the vessel on the ring. On the flip side, other sink models may require a bead of silicone caulk to seal the sink to the counter. 

Assemble The Drain And Tailpiece

The next step is to insert the drain flange and tailpiece. Apply a bead of plumber’s putty along the bottom of the drain flange on the drain fitting. Some assemblies come with a foam or rubber gasket. If yours has one, place it against the bottom surface of the drain flange. 

Insert the tailpiece end of the drain fitting into the sink drain hole, then through the cutout in the counter. If the flange has lettering on it, ensure it reads upright when looking down into the sink from the front side. 

Secure The Tailpiece

After the drain and tailpiece are in place, secure the tailpiece. To do so, apply pipe joint compound to the rubber seal. Slide the seal around the drain tailpiece and into the countertop until it stops, working from the underside of the sink. 

Thread the friction ring onto the tailpiece, then follow up with the mounting nut. Tighten the mounting nut by hand as far as you can, then tighten it slightly with tongue-and-groove pliers, ensuring you don’t overtighten it (this can damage the sink).

Once it’s secured in place, check the overall alignment of the drain fitting and lettering to verify it is straight. Wipe away any excess plumber’s putty from around the drain flange using a rag.

Finish The Drain Assembly

Artiwell Sink Pop-Up Drain Stopper Assembly with Lift Rod and Overflow, Solid Brass Lavatory pop up drain assembly for Bathroom Faucet Vanity Sink, All Brass Construction (POLISHED BRASS)

The last step in the assembly process is to connect the drain assembly. Start by connecting the P-trap to the sink drain tailpiece using a slip nut and washer. Fit it snugly into place. Install the trap arm between the P-trap outlet and the branch drain pipe (usually in the wall or floor) using slip nuts. 

The trap arm needs to have a slight downward angle towards the drain line for it to work. You may have to incorporate a tailpiece extension or cut the trap arm to fit using a hacksaw. This is only necessary if the drain configuration and location of the branch drain opening don’t allow the trap arm to work as it should. 

Once everything is in place, double-check the fit of each drain part. Tighten the slip nuts further by hand or with tongue-and-groove pliers. Usually, slip nuts don’t require pliers. Be careful not to overtighten the slip nuts.

Test Your Handiwork

With the sink, drain, and P-trap assembly complete, check your handiwork. Run water into the sink and check for leaks underneath the sink. If all is well and the sink is operating normally, go ahead and fill the sink all the way to complete a volume test. If there are minor leaks at the slip nuts, slightly tightening them usually fixes the issue.

If the sink leaks around the bottom onto the countertop or around the rubber seal, the drain fitting isn’t correctly seated in the bottom of the sink. You’ll need to disassemble the drain and start over to fix it. Focus on placing the drain fitting correctly, so it seals in the sink drain opening.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do vessel sinks have overflow?

Given the design of a vessel sink, most of them don’t feature overflow. A few designs incorporate overflow into the finished product, but most don’t. So, if an overflowing sink could be a problem in your home, you may want to consider selecting a model with overflow or a different sink configuration altogether. 

Is a mounting ring necessary for a vessel sink?

Mounting rings are essential for some vessel sinks, but not all. They’re only necessary if you’re installing an above-counter vessel sink. If your vessel sink is recessed, the countertop itself directly supports the sink.

Do you caulk around a vessel sink?

Yes, caulk is necessary around a vessel sink. Apply silicone caulk to seal the seam between the vessel sink and the perimeter of the countertop hole. Sealing the seam prevents moisture from dripping down and causing issues.

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