Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.
When designing a bathroom for wheelchair accessibility the bathroom sink is of utmost importance. Probably one of the first things to think about is the material the sink/vanity will be constructed of, here are the pros and cons of several common materials.
Almost all materials can fit almost any style. When choosing a sink for an accessible bathroom I always want to make sure it's beautiful (that is what universal design is all about) but also low maintenance (keep life easy.) Here is some information to assist in choosing a sink material.
Ceramic Sinks – Plain or decorative vitreous china, or custom-made pottery sinks.
Pros – Low moisture absorption, easy to clean, keeps color well, many styles, shapes, colors and designs to choose from, plain is very affordable, pottery gives a custom look. Cons – Can chip or crack. Pottery, freestanding, and decorative sinks can be pricey.
Stainless Steel – Quality and cost depend on gauge and nickel content. Smaller gauge numbers are thicker, but cost more. High nickel content gives the sink a smoother, shinier look.
Pros – Durable, easy to maintain, better quality (18 gauge) resists water spots, dents and scratches, thinner is readily available and very affordable. Cons – Thinner stainless (22 gauge) is easily dented and shows scratches more easily.
Enameled Steel Sink
Enameled Steel – Resembles cast iron, but thinner.
Pros– Lightweight, thin. Cons – Enamel finish can chip easily or crack.
Enameled Cast Iron Sink
Enameled Cast Iron
Pros– Thickness gives solid look, affordable, easy to clean, chip-resistant and available in a wide range of colors. Cons – Heavy – Countertop may need extra support, do-it-yourselfers may need extra hands to install. Colors and special shapes can be pricey.
Cast Polymer – Cultured Marble, Granite or Onyx
Pros – Looks like stone, but comes in various shapes for themed decor, affordable. Integrated sink and countertop eliminates the need to use caulking (which can get moldy). Cons – Top gel coat may crack and burn, doesn’t hold shine well, especially on darker colors.
Solid Surface – Acrylic or Polyester Resins (such as Corian®)
Pros – Stain resistant, lots of colors, durable. Pieces can be fused to integrate sink into countertop or make custom shapes and designs. Cons – Must be installed by licensed professional or warrantee is voided. Integrated designs can be expensive.
Marble Sink Copper Sink and Counter Top
Other Materials – Stone (Marble, Granite, Soapstone), Metal (Copper, Brass), Glass
Pros – Create a custom look. Cons – Expensive to very expensive, metals high maintenance to keep new-looking, glass can crack or chip, stone can scratch.
Marble Sink and Counter Top