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Washbasins (bathroom sink)

April 22, 2013

Ergo washbasin by Galassia

There are four types of washbasins forms; pedestal, wall hung, countertop and vessel.

Traditional pedestal basins are the most frequently specified basins primarily because the pedestal that the basin rests on conceals the waste and supply pipes. Even though the bowl is fixed to the wall the added support the pedestal means that the bowls on pedestal basins is often larger than wall-hung varieties. The manufacturing process of vitreous china is such that there will often be a slight distortion in basins and pedestals so to improve the joint between both a sealing compound should be applied to the top edge of the pedestal.

Wall-hung basin can either have their plumbing concealed behind a semi-pedestal or have it replaced with decorative plumbing elements such as a chrome bottle trap. Their benefit of this type over a pedestal basin is two-fold. Firstly you can fit the basin at whatever height you like and secondly it makes cleaning the bathroom floor much easier.

A hand-rinse / cloakroom basin is a wall-hung basin that only project 350 – 400mm into the room, making them ideal for smaller bathrooms. Corner versions are also available but your walls need to  be plumb for them to fit well.

Countertop basins are fitted either on top of or under a countertop. There are four versions; over-mounted, under-mounted, semi-recessed or one-piece. An over-mounted / self-rimming basin is made with a lip that sits onto the counter when fitted, whereas an under-mounted version is fitted under the countertop. A semi-recessed basin has its front edge projecting clear of the countertop and gives a greater sense of space in smaller rooms than the previous two types. A one-piece basin is formed out of the same material as the countertop and gives a streamline elegance to a contemporary bathroom. When countertop basins are being installed it is important that the cut edges of the countertop are sealed before the basin is fitted as this will limit damage to the countertop in the event of a leak. Countertop basins are called vanity basins when the area underneath the countertop is enclosed with a cupboard.

A vessel basin is a the modern day equivalent of the basin on the nightstand and in homage to it’s origins it is typically referred to as washstand if legs are fitted to the underside of the countertop.

Tip: Not all vessel washbasins have the rear of the bowl finished and this raw / bisque side will be visible if the mirror over the washbasin extends down close to the countertop.

Material Options
Most washbasins in this country are made of vitreous china, which is composed of fired white clays and finely ground minerals giving a very smooth and hygienic finish to the final product.

Scientists in Australia have recently announced an environmentally friendly coating of titanium dioxide to viterous china, which becomes excited by ultraviolet light with a wavelength of less than 380mm nanometres. These excited particles can then break down organic compounds and bacteria. In addition the surface is hydrophobic, i.e. it does not like water, and so any water applied to it simply slides away instead of forming droplets.

A recent trend in washbasin design and selection has seen a huge increase in non-china washbasins appearing on the market. Now washbasins can be bought in stainless steel, chrome, cast iron , copper, stone, glass, crystal, timber, polyethylene, pvc, concrete, and composite plastic products such as Corian or Durat.

Durat  is a polyester based surface material made in Finland with approximately 50% recycled plastic and is itself recyclable. Because the product is homogenic, i.e. the same the whole way through, surface cuts and cigarette burns can be removed with a light sanding.

Components Of Washbasin
Plugs have given way in recent years to pop-up waste which either operate by way of a press-release mechanism or by a lever near the taps. If you are considering installing one of these be aware that the mechanism for the pop-up waste is below the bowl and will need to be concealed but remain accessible.

Basins can come with zero, one, two or three tap holes depending on the type of tap you intend on using.  They also tend to come with an integral overflow, although not always so check before you buy.

Installing a Washbasin
If plumbing cannot be concealed then aim to locate the washbasin so as to minimize the length of pipe shown.

Brass screws should be used when fitting vitreous sanitaryware because brass is a relatively soft metal and will give slightly when tightened, whereas harder screws won’t and may crack the china.

It is near impossible to scribe around the base of pedestal so make sure you’re floor is installed before the pedestal washbasin is permanently fixed in place. This will of course require the plumber to take into account the thickness of the floor finish when setting out his/her pipework.

When positioning basins with basin-mounted taps make sure enough of a turning space is provided to allow the tap to be screwed into place.

Make sure that washbasins fed from wall-mounted spouts are positioned relative to the length of the spout.

The Part H of the Technical Guidance Documents state that waste pipes from washbasins must discharge into a gully between the grating or sealing plate and the top of the water.

Also ….. Technical Information on Taps, Bidets , Toilets (WCs), Baths and Showers

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3 comments

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