Micro-basins and Small Sinks
Sinks and basins with 24cm depth projection or less, made for tiny rooms like cloakrooms or waterclosets. These are a few tips on finding and installing them.
Finding Micro Basins
I encountered micro-basins when I was looking at a house with a friend. When the agent said the house needed modernising they weren't joking. It didn't have a cloakroom or a half-bath: it had literally a watercloset. Less than one yard wide, just over two metres long with a toilet, nothing else, and a door that opened inwards.
When they bought the house, one of the first orders of the day was to turn this tiny space into a proper cloakroom, which is when I started researching micro-sinks. These are small basins, usually wall mounted which project less than 25cm (8 inches) into a room.
With people now moving into smaller spaces - flats or apartments - or older houses, these sinks are something a lot of homeowners seem to be looking at.
Many Micro-sinks lack an overflow.
Many micro-sinks do not actually have overflows, as it is assumed there will be no space to fit the pipes behind it. With those that do have overflows they may require you to bury pipes in the wall behind it, which is not always ideal.
An ideal solution would be an overflow at one end - under or opposite the taps - but I haven't found any like this.
Click-waste or plug?
Filling the basin
To save space, many micro sinks come with click-wastes. Effectively these are small plugs that sit in the plughole. To open or close them, you click on the plug itself. They do have the small problem that if someone forgets to open them the next user has to put their hands in the dirty water. Standard plugs may be used but few basins come with a chain hole. You may have to attach the chain to the wall, which can be difficult through tiles.
A lever plug with a pull on the tap may be possible to fit, but it depends on the type of sink you purchase.
Click Waste Examples
Click-Waste on Amazon
|Samuel Heath V192.PN Basin Click Clack Waste In Polished Nickel|
Samuel Heath V192.PN Basin Click Clack Waste In Polished Nickel
Click Waste on Amazon.co.uk
A Click Waste on Amazon.co.uk for under £5
Projection from Wall
Projection need not be total depth
"Projection" is the measurement of how far the basin stands out from the wall. However some measurements assume that part of the basin will be embedded in the wall: a problem if you have partition walling or single brick. Check the measurements carefully, and any plans, to make sure you get the accurate total depth of the basin.
Internal Basin Size
Too small to use
The size of the internal basin for some of these sinks can be tiny. For example, the basin may be a tiny oval in the middle of the already small rectangular sink. If the sink is too small, you may find yourself with nowhere to put your hands, making it impractical and liable to splashing as people wash their hands over the sink.
It also means that the use of the basin to wash faces or freshen up is very difficult if that was something you were looking at. In general, although it may not look modern, the largest possible basin in the smallest possible sink is a good goal to aim for.
Remember, even if you can use it, it may be too small for guests.
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One or two, lever or twist?
The majority of Micro basins come with one tap positioned at an end or corner, for obvious reasons of saving space on piping.These will almost always use lever taps - I haven't seen any exceptions although there probably are - as they need to control mix and flow through one control.
There is one thing to consider, which is that many sinks position the tap close to the wall. If it is too close the wall can obstruct the lever. You need to consider angling it when the tap is installed, or the tap may end up running hot or cold only.
There are a few basins that offer two taps. In general these are on the ends of the sink, as taps against the wall cut into the sink space and force the sink to project further forward. These are normally shown and installed with traditional turning taps, although they are also usually slightly larger.
Decorative Basin Examples
Designed to work with another basin
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Meant to work with larger sinks
These need a special mention, because while they are nice features, they are not micro-sinks and not designed to be used as such. A quick look should show that these are not large enough to be used on their own. They could be fitted to a microbasin if you particularly liked the idea of two taps or the look of the stepped waterflow. However, that does take up more space in the cloakroom or half-bath, defeating the purpose of a space saving sink.
If you have an awkward location however, where taps may be fitted at one height but the basin must be at another, or you have an awkward corner to deal with, they could be useful and attractive.