OPtions for replacement sinks/faucet placement?

tinanJanuary 20, 2013

Our home has 3 baths, all with cultured marble vanity tops and undermount sinks. The sinks are in bad shape - they are enameled and have rust coming through from the overflow drain and multiple chips that were rusting. I have temporarily patched those with an epoxy repair kit but it looks bad. The powder room sink pictured here looks OK in the photo but much worse in real life.

I really hate the setup of these sinks - I dislike having the faucets on the sink itself rather than on the countertop, it's hard to clean. The master bath sink is slightly different thank the powder room pictured above - there is just enough space between the faucet and the edge of the countertop for gunk to accumulate but way too tight to wipe out, I have to clean it using our waterpik and Q-tips! I also just hate the look of the ledge below the cutout area.

We can't afford to replace the countertops and vanities at this point but I do want to do something about these sinks.

The opening is slightly oval overall and measures 18 and 1/4" wide by 15" deep. There are only a couple inches between the cutout and the backsplash.

I would love feedback on the feasibility and pros and cons to the following possibilities I have considered:

1. My first choice would be to remove these sinks and replace with a simple under-mount like below, drill new holes for the faucet in the countertop behind the sink. I would really like a faucet with single mixer handle linked here rather than hot and cold separate. Do you think there is space to drill faucet holes? With a single mix faucet would it look really weird to have off to one side?

2. Replace with the same type of sink and keep the same faucets, try to find a sink which would allow more space between the faucet and edge of countertop in the master bath.

3. Replace with drop-in sinks with faucet holes in the sinks (but at least there would not be a gunk trap like with the setup I have now).

What do you recommend?

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Option 4. Do one bath at a time instead of all at once. Do it with a remnant piece of stone and a new 8" centerset faucet. Remnants aren't that expensive. The expense will be in the faucet and the fabrication. You can actually probably do most vanities with a granite top with sink attached for less than $400 each. There are also prefabbed stone vanity tops from the big box stores that are fairly inexpensive.

This 49" vanity top with sink is only $188 at HD.

Here is a link that might be useful: 49

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:54AM
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Thanks for the link, I might actually do that for the powder room.

But the vanities in the guest and master are 69" and 105" long respectively - the vanity tops get exponentially more expensive for the larger sizes, and if I scrounge for remnants (if I can find any that long) won't it look a bit strange to have all 3 baths with different tops?

I was thinking of faux finishing the cultured marble as seen in a few tutorials online, you use an oil based primer, paint the faux and then use a self leveling epoxy layer on top. I could do all 3 this way for about $100, versus at least $500 each for the upstairs vanity tops....

This post was edited by tinan on Sun, Jan 20, 13 at 19:29

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:58AM
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I agree with GreenDesigns, replace the countertops and sinks in all three bathrooms. And no, it will not look strange to have three different countertops, it is done all the time.

Replacing just the sink may prove difficult anyway as it could be hard to find new sinks that will fit the current holes.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:29PM
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You could use drop-in sinks, that would solve the problem. The faucet sits up on the rim, with no ledge to catch dirt. You can get nice porcelain ones for very little at Home Depot.

If it was my house, I'd save until I had enough to put in new counter tops with new sinks and faucets, one room at a time. I prefer homes where the rooms are different- they look less assembly-line produced to me. It would also give you more places to express your design ideas and tastes.

It would look odd to have that type of a faucet off to the side, and there is not enough room to fit it behind the existing opening in your counter. You need room for the wrenches to tighten the faucet down underneath too- not just room for the faucet on the top.

With a new counter, the sky's the limit. You could get vessel sinks, or go with rectangular sinks.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Vanity tops this size (worth putting in - no point in replacing with more cultured marble) are minimum $600 each with no sinks. Yes I would love to have the luxurious bathrooms with granite and tumbled marble and all the trimmings that everyone posts here, but it is not affordable to us, at any time in the near future even if done "gradually". The sink I linked above is $40 and the faucet $50... I can't spend more than $100 per bathroom for the next several years. This is an entry level townhouse not a custom home.

I was in Ikea today, and I saw this display - this is the faucet I like which was slinked above and they have it off to the side! I think it looks good actually. But I have brushed nickel hardware in the bathroom so I don'y think this particular faucet will look right.

Anyway maybe I'll just try the epoxy appliance enamel I saw at HD today to refinish the sinks in situ, and replace just the master sink which is the wrong shape for the hole anyway (when I re-caulked it I found a 1/4" gap between the cutout and the sink edge on one side).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:26AM
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You know, I like Ikea and I like a lot of their bathroom stuff (I love that vitviken sink in your photo, for instance), but I would never buy an ikea faucet. Too many problems with them--read ikeafans. I'd watch your local stores for closeouts.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Top mount sinks will work. I wouldn't waste money on undermount sinks trying to match up hole size. And faucets are another place that you don't want to go cheap. That dosn't mean that you need to spend $200 per faucet, but do look for name brands like Kohler, Delta, American Standard, Moen, etc. You can find closeouts all the time for single faucets. Lowes is better than HD at actually reducing their clearance stocks. I'd haunt their back endcaps on a regular basis. You never know what you will find that way.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:29PM
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That kind of faucet looks great off to the side. I misunderstood your post and thought you wanted one similar to the one in your first photo. I don't think you have to buy Ikea, though. I have Glacier Bay, the cheap Home Depot brand, and it has stood up for many years to a lot of abuse and the chrome still looks brand-new.

I think your refinishing idea is fantastic- and I can't wait to see the results. My sister-in-law refinished her bathroom floor tile with epoxy and it looks great- even six years later. Go for it! And heck, if you can find cheap sinks that will fit your existing sink opening, undermount usually look nicer than drop-ins. You can attach undermounts with no more than silicone, too. I was surprised, but that's what we just did for the concrete countertop we just made and it worked perfectly. By the way, if you like rustic, concrete countertops are very cheap to build. Ours cost us six dollars.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Do NOT "just" use silicon to fasten sinks to a counter! They will fail eventually. They'll develop a slow leak and have some water damage in the cabinet, and then if you let it go long enough, BOOM, they fail spectacularly and crash into your vanity. You need to use sink clips or mounting brackets or a cradle just like you would with a kitchen sink.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:32PM
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writersblock, thanks for the warning on Ikea faucets - I will check out the reviews. In fact in looking at the bathroom hardware I have and the general traditional style of our home, I don't think the Ikea faucets would fit with the feel, they are all too modern and institutional. The thing is the ones installed by the PO are actually less than 2 years old and of not-entirely-awful quality, I just find the configuration and finish to be less than nice. I love the simplicity of a single hole, single lever faucet.

hosenemesis, thanks for the encouragement - I have been studying dozens of blogs and DIY tutorials on the refinishing/epoxy topic. Some of the projects look tacky but several look really, really good for very little cost. I have been honing my DIY skills and have enough basic artistic ability plus practical skills to pull this off, I think. Since DH and I have priorities other than putting money into the house, I like the idea of making due as much as I can with what we have, but making it better and more attractive. Really, it can't get much worse than the chipped, yellowy 1980 cultured marble! Well, it can - I have seen some of the blog "before" photos of mauve and baby blue laminate, etc.

live_wire_oak, I think you misinterpreted something I said or perhaps I worded something incorrectly - I would never try to use silicone to keep a sink in place! The current sinks are enameled cast iron and pretty heavy - they are with definitely held in by screwed-in clips under the counter - there is caulk around the mater sink to disguise the fact that it is not the right shape and keep water out - that's what I was re-doing as the old caulk was messy and bumpy.

The master bath sink is more oval than the hole and there is a tiny gap between the cutout and the sink. I don't know whether the master sink was replaced more recently or if it is older but it's a different shape and size despite the countertop cutouts being the same. It is not rusted like the other 2, but fits much worse than the powder and guest bath (powder room sink is the photo at the top).

So, maybe for now I'll keep the faucets and sinks in the powder and guest bath since they actually fit correctly - and just refinish with epoxy where the chips/rust are (worst that can happen is the rust comes back through!) . Replace the sink in the master bath and a new faucet there, and refinish all the tops. And of course I am repainting the vanities.

Here's what I have done so far bath-wise - this is the powder room before purchase last summer and after a little paint facelift, hardware and a new mirror (I was going to make a frame with moulding but found this on clearance sale for less than the cost of moulding!):

Photo take before we closed - note the hideous sheet vinyl and the industrial gray vinyl baseboard,

During flooring

after painting and flooring, new hardware

after painting, flooring, mirror

And here is the master bath in all its current splendor, as inherited from the PO. Notice the enormous slab mirror (you didn't notice it, right?) the "makeup station", the high gloss paint (only rooms I have not painted yet are the upstairs baths) and the huge expanse of 9' of yellowish cultured marble. The guest bath looks almost exactly the same but toilet on the left and shower on the end. It was functional and had 1 year old acrylic tubs, surrounds, and faucets so we left it as a "next year" project... now it is next year!

But just so you can see I have not been idle, before we moved in I made this:

into this:

and this:

became this

So you can see I am not afraid of "DIY", and all of the above including 1500 sq ft of flooring and paint was done for less than $1500 :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Wow, you've done great with what you've done so far!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:11PM
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There are more traditional single hole faucets, like the moen Brantford, for example. That sells for right around $100 at regular retail, so watching for closeouts should produce something you like at a price that suits you. (This wasn't an endorsement of that faucet; it was just the first that came to mind.)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:30PM
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writersblock , that's exactly what I had in mind, the simple design and the streamlined interface with the countertop. I'll keep an eye out for one like it! I have been using Moen brushed nickel hardware in the powder room I'll probably stick with brushed nickel faucets (are they "out" now?)

So how much clearance is generally needed between the faucet hole and the edge of the sink/countertop edge. I realize this probably varies by faucet but I assume there is some average amount.

This post was edited by tinan on Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 23:50

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Wow, yeah, you have the skills! I remember your stairs now. Very impressive!

I had the same experience looking at DIY concrete countertops on the internet- most of them were not anything I would want to show to the world. But I figured what the heck- concrete's cheap. And I love the way mine turned out.

livewireoak was responding to me, not you tinan. I looked on numerous websites, including this one, before I used silicone to attach my sink. It's widely done and often recommended, but if others have experience with the method failing then better safe than sorry. There is also a neat thing called a "Hercules Harness" that is just wire that you can attach to the cabinet to hold up the sink, rather than drilling into the countertop. You could make your own with wire and little eyebolts if you want to save money.

Now I'm impatient to see your results. Hurry! :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:58PM
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As it happens, that particular faucet does come in brushed nickel as well. The best thing would be to look at the manufacturer's specs page for any faucet that interests you. Generally they'll tell you how much clearance is needed for things like handles or that popup for the sink drain.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:00AM
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Oh, BTW, just in case you weren't aware, lots of faucets are shown with the escutcheon (to cover unneeded holes in the counter/sink), but you can almost always use the faucet without that.

Here's the brantford in BN with the escutcheon. If you don't need/want it, you just don't use it:

This post was edited by writersblock on Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 0:06

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:03AM
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That is very good to know - that the base is detachable. I prefer it without and I thought they had changed the model!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 12:42AM
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