Vanity tops are made of synthetic material such as cultured marble, acrylic and laminates. Natural materials like granite, marble and timber are also used.
The least expensive top is a one piece moulding in cultured marble or acrylic which acts as top and basin combined. Both materials are man made and designed to have the look of marble, although they often fail to disguise their synthetic origins. One great advantage of the one piece construction, which incorporates the basin, is the easy maintenance. There are no ledges and edges around the basin to collect water and grime.
A compromise away from the synthetic look but still using cultured marble is a slab top with the incorporation of a porcelain basin. This is a popular economical alternative to marble or granite and is strong and durable.Like any cultured marble it can be repaired if necessary during service life.
Marble and Granite
Marble and Granite are excellent design options. They have the ambience of natural material and seem to indicate a high and classy standard of finish. There are numerous colours to choose from all with strong relationships to available tile and porcelain colours. Porcelain basins may be installed either from the top – the drop in type or from below – the underslung type.
The marble and granite can be worked and polished to give either a square edge or 180 bullnose.
Most marble and granite tops are made from 20mm thick material. A thicker edge can be achieved by doubling the thickness along the visible edges to give a rich 40mm look while still maintaining the 20mm slab for the majority of the top.
The top is usually sealed by the marbleyard before despatch to protect the surface. Care must be taken in service not to spill acids or other chemicals which may penetrate the surface and be difficult to remove.
Timber tops can be successfully matched to modern or period style cabinets and usually compliment other timbers that may be present in the bathroom. Timber tops are always finished with a clear two-part polyurethane coating after staining to produce a hard water-resistant surface. Timber gives a good warm tone to a bathroom and is acceptable as a design option for modern as well as Federation style decors.
Built in or free standing are options for vanity installation. The most common vanity is free standing back against the wall with both sides free. This is usually the only option with standard off the shelf units. Wall to wall installations present a neat custom made appearance and are preferred when the space available is in between two walls that are reasonably close together or when a recess is available in the layout.
Pedestal and Wall Basins
Offer alternatives to vanities. Although they look neat, are less bulky, and occupy less space, they have the disadvantage of no counter or storage areas. This can be remedied by a mirrored wall cabinet, particularly if it incorporates an external shelf.
Wall Cabinets and Mirrors
Always match the style and design of the vanity unit. Wall cabinets in modern design, have mirrors which cover the door face completely. When all doors are closed the impression is of a clean mirror face. Some prefer the cabinet doors to be framed with inset mirrors.
Large wall mirrors are options which suit bathrooms where the impression of more space would be attractive. This is relatively cheap to install with the additional saving of not having to tile the area. The result is a spectacular feeling of space and light.
Forward Bowl Vanities:
The advent of the
semi-recessed basin design now makes it
possible to reduce the bulk occupied by vanities
and allows for the installation of a vanity with all
its facilities in small spaces. The forward bowl
design of the basin allows a full basin installation
without the bulk and possible intrusion of a deep
This type of design is most popular and is used in up to 25% of bathrooms and despite its modern design, is appearing with success in period bathrooms without great offence to purists.