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What Height Should Your Bathroom Sink Be?

What Height Should Your Bathroom Sink Be?

2018-03-01

Whether you call it a bathroom vanity, a sink, a wash-hand basin, or just a basin, this practical piece of sanitary ware has come a long way since the days when people used a bowl and a jug of scented water to wash their hands. Now it’s not just about having a bowl or basin to hold water to wash your hands, face, and perhaps for shaving or brushing your teeth, it’s more about having a correctly installed fixture in your bathroom with plumbed hot and cold water, and drainage. Both aesthetics and ergonomics are important. You want it to look good, and you want to be able to use it without stooping or stretching. That’s where height comes in.

The First Bathroom Cabinets

In spite of its relatively recent evolution, the first bathroom cabinets were used in a rudimentary washstand form during the Victorian era in 18th century Britain. Initially, basins were dropped into a solid top that formed part of the washstand that was more an item of furniture than anything else. By the 1900s, the first one-piece washbasins were molded to incorporate not only the basin but soap dishes too. However, it didn’t take that long for them to make way for sinks and basins made from fired clay.

While technology has changed, we still have access to a range of different types including those that are molded from various acrylic materials and those made from vitreous china. Some are made for use with bathroom cabinets, others not.

Types Of Bathroom Sinks

The most common types of bathroom sink are:

  • Freestanding pedestal basins that incorporate a central column that hides the pipe work that supplies water and discharges it.
  • Basin units that are intended to be attached to the wall. Some have a half pedestal designed to hide pipes.
  • Insert sinks that are designed to be positioned into the cabinet tops.
  • Molded sink units that incorporate both a sink and work top, and are usually designed to be positioned so that the lip of the work surface fits neatly over the edge of the cabinet.

As you will see, only insert and molded sinks are intended for use with bathroom cabinets. Similarly, this generally gives them more versatility, certainly more than pedestal units when it comes to adjusting the sink to the height you require.

In the US sinks that are fitted into countertops are the most popular. This makes it much easier to design a kitchen. All you do is alter the height of the base on which the cabinet sits to ensure that the sink is at the optimum height for you and your family or those who will be using it.

The Best Height For Bathroom Sinks

Most people use bathroom sinks or basins to wash their hands, sometimes their face, to brush their teeth, shave, and even wash their hair or feet.

It stands to reason that you will usually stand upright when washing hands or brushing teeth, and will have to stoop somewhat when washing your hair. Washing your feet will be a different challenge!

While manufacturers determine the optimum height of pedestal sinks (usually 32 inches or 815 mm from the floor to outer rim), a little higher 34 inches or 860 mm is preferred. Ideally, if you are able to provide separate bathroom sinks for adults and children these could be as high as 36 inches or 920 mm or as low as 28 inches or 710 mm. Alternatively, you could provide children with a small movable step.

These mathematical norms can prove problematic if people in the family are vastly different heights – or if the bathroom fixtures need to accommodate any possible height, for instance in a guesthouse or hotel. Then proven averages are surely the way to go!