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Bathroom Sink Basin, Material, Shapes and Sizes

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What is a bathroom sink basin?

You may like to have a little background of the word ‘basin’. It means a concave vessel or a geographical area that can hold water. The ‘vessel’ meaning comes from the French ‘bacin’ and the Latin ‘baccinum’ from ‘bacca’, a water vessel. On the ancient Gaulish side it means a water dam. In the UK and most of the Commonwealth countries, the word ‘basin’ remains the term for the vessel used for washing in a bathroom. In these countries the word ‘sink’ refers to the washing vessel in a kitchen. In the US the term ‘sink’ has evolved to mean both kinds of washing vessels, bathroom and kitchen. Sometimes, the term ‘sink basin’ refers to the basin section alone without the fittings or fixtures on which it is mounted. We will use it in that sense.

Materials, Shapes and Sizes

A sink basin can be made by a large variety of materials and comes in many shapes and sizes. It is not possible to take all bathroom sink basins into account in this article so some of the more common ones are given briefly here:

Ceramic Sinks

These are made of vitreous china or of pottery clay. They are among the more commonly seen bathroom sink basins. Because of this there is a very wide range to choose from, and they tend to be less expensive than some bathroom sink basins, yet still classy.

Their disadvantage is that they can chip or crack if something drops into them. They are, however, often repairable, and kits are available. If it is a crack and it goes right through, do your repairs from underneath. The basin should be clean and dry. Select an epoxy adhesive that dries into a waterproof finish, force it into the crack, chip or hole, and smooth out the inner surface. You may find that a ceramic impregnated polymer patch to repair a larger flaw or crack will work for you. Your repair should be left to dry overnight or as long as the instructions recommend. Gently rub the dry repair with a very fine grit black carborundum paper until smooth. Now it is ready for you to carefully apply the mixture of filler and paint in the right color from your kit.

Metal Bathroom Sinks

Sink basins are available in stainless steel, copper, brass, and many alloys. They are extremely popular at the moment. As they are very durable the only damage you are likely to contend with is scratches. Most scratches in metal surfaces will come out with a good metal polish, a soft cloth and lots of patience. Rub in one direction only. Don’t be tempted to take a shortcut with abrasive cloths or pads. The metal polish is abrasive enough. You can try a polishing machine with a soft pad. The job will be much quicker and easier.

Enamel

Modern porcelain enamel is very strong and durable and does not wear or crack or chip easily. However, old steel and cast iron sink basins are often antiques and you’ll be wanting to repair them rather than replace them.

They are easily chipped by hard, heavy articles being dropped into them. They also wear down in places from many years of hard scouring and develop dark scratches and blackish patches. If this damage isn’t repaired promptly rust sets in and the next thing there is a hole. Even these are repairable, but you had better get a professional to do that.

For a chip there are repair kits available. The tricky part is matching the color. Even whites can have variations in shades. Using a fine grit wettable sand paper remove all dirt and rust and then wash and dry your sink basin. Now mix your epoxy compound according to instructions and apply it to the chip, smoothing it out really well. It will dry overnight, but will only be properly hardened in about ten days.

Stone

Stone bathroom sink basins are strong and durable, but need to be well sealed to protect them from stains. If your stone basin does get chipped or badly stained so that you cannot clean it, your best bet is to get a stone mason to grind it out, and then seal it really well.

Glass

Glass bathroom sink basins are stunning, but sadly fragile compared with other bathroom sink basins. However, if your basin is scratched, you may like to try and remove the scratches by sanding it with wet silicon carbide or carborundum paper. The coarseness of the grit depends on the depth of the scratches, but whatever grit you begin with, you need to work layer by layer down to the finest grit you can get. Then you can mix a thin, runny paste of cerium oxide and water and put it on a buffer pad of an electric polishing machine. You need to keep the buffer pad wet the whole time you are using it.

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