Quality sinks last about 15 years, according to This Old House: Buyer’s Guide To Kitchen Sinks. Before you buy this plumbing appliance for your kitchen or bathroom, learn the plumbing anatomy.

  • Acorn-head supply tube: Part of the supply line

  • Actuator arm: Supply tube that connects to the faucet valve

  • Angle stop: Water supply shutoff valve that changes the direction of the flow of supply water

  • Compression nut/fitting: Tubing or pipe connection that forms a positive seal; a nut and sleeve or ferrule over a copper or plastic tube that's compressed around the tube as the nut tightens

  • Cover: Pipe that conceals plumbing in a neat and tidy fashion

  • Elbow: Angled fitting with female connections at both ends

  • Escutcheon: Flange or shield beneath a faucet handle that covers the faucet stem and hole

  • Faucet valve: Exposed plumbing fitting that controls the flow of water into a basin

  • Ferrule: Metal cover piece for the lavatory overflow opening

  • Gasket: Flat device made of fiber or rubber that provides a watertight seal between metal joints

  • Lift/connecting rod: Faucet component that opens the pop-up drain when the lift rod depresses to retain water

  • Lock nut: Nut fitted into a piece of pipe and screwed onto another pipe to join the two

  • Slip nut/joint: Connection made with compression fittings

  • Spout: Tube projecting from the top of the appliance for water to flow

  • Pop-up/trip level drain: Remote control waste assembly

  • Pop-up stopper: Part that protects and keeps drains flowing, eliminating clogs from foreign objects

  • Pop-up waste assembly: Lavatory faucet's drain mechanism

  • P-trap: Design that routes drainage horizontally through the wall to connect with drainage waste vent

  • Tailpiece: Part of a drain fitting that protrudes into the trap

  • Washer: Thin, disk-shaped plate with a hole used to distribute the load of a threaded fastener

  • Waste arm/pipe: Drain extension pipe that extends a sink drain into a wall 


What To Know Before Buying

Before you install bathroom sink plumbing, understand the best materials and common designs for your home.


  • Stainless steel sinks are for durability, value, and easy installation.

  • Acrylic sinks come in a variety of colors and patterns to complement other features of the bathroom.

  • Natural stone, marble, travertine, granite, and porcelain create farmhouse sinks. Farmhouse sinks are often carved with designs. If you want a metal farmhouse sink, use copper, brass, or aluminum.


Bathroom and kitchen sinks aren't too different in design. It’s common to find kitchen sinks with three compartments. One is for washing food, while the others are for rinsing and washing dishes, utensils, and cookware. These compartments are usually different sizes, with one small compartment acting as a drain board.

Many farmhouse sinks have one compartment to remain authentic to their original era.

Another factor is the number of holes (or knockouts) for faucets, sprayers, soap dispensers, instant hot water heaters, and water purifier taps. Most sinks come with three holes, but four- and five-hole sinks are becoming more available.

Most homeowners prefer top-mounted sinks, because they’re easier to install. Undermount sinks are becoming more prevalent. This sink mounts below the counter surface, eliminating the lip that’s present on a top-mounted sink.


A basic faucet offers hot and cold faucet handles. A better faucet has wrist-blade hot and cold handles or a single-handle, mix-valve faucet. The best faucet is hands-free or electronic-eye, because they’re the most sanitary and energy efficient.

Each operates on AC power, battery, or both. For more information, find a diagram here.


“Each...sink compartment has its own drain hole where the fitting attaches," according to eHow. The sink connects to a drain pipe.

"Kitchen sink compartment drains might be in line with each other, or they might be offset." (We suggest a stainless steel drain strainer.)

The National Kitchen & Bath Association suggests a standard 22-by-24-inch single-bowl model for bathrooms less than 150 square feet.

For larger homes, consider a deeper, double- or triple-compartment sink for more space. Account for the best material for your home, and you have great bathroom plumbing. 

Download Our Bathroom Maintenance Checklist