Factors to Consider When Buying a Vanity Unit

01/19/2024

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    A vanity unit is a bathroom furniture piece that typically includes a countertop and a sink, concealing waste and pipework, as well as providing storage space while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the washroom.

    Vanity units are designed to offer a durable, streamlined solution that in turn provides ease of maintenance and fitting. Vanity units conceal unsightly pipework, and can even influence the aesthetic appeal of a room. However, when buying a vanity unit, it is important you choose the right unit for your public or commercial bathroom, since the size, style, material and more will all influence how well your vanity unit performs.

    Excelsior manufactures bespoke washrooms for the public and commercial sector; we have the experience and industry knowledge to advise our clients on the right facilities for their washrooms, including vanity units. In this article, we discuss the various considerations of choosing a vanity unit for a public space to ensure your washroom is manufactured to specification.

    Choosing the Right Vanity Size

    One of the most important considerations when including a vanity unit in the design of your washroom is the size of the unit.

    The requirements of larger and smaller bathrooms will differ, so it’s important that your vanity unit is suitable for the dimensions of the washroom it is installed in - and there are several ways you can make this happen.

    Some of the ways in which this can be achieved for smaller bathrooms include incorporating fewer basins within the unit; a wall-mounted design to give the illusion of increased floor space; or a narrow, space-saving unit. However, it is important to remember that there should still be a proficient number of handwash basins for the number of toilets; you can check the requirements of the number of handwash basins per person in your sector here.

    Larger bathrooms will have more flexibility when achieving the right size vanity and catering to an increased number of users. More sizeable vanity units can feature several washbasins along its length, or alternatively opt for a singular trough design. 

    As a part of our service, Excelsior can provide downloadable BIM objects and 3D models, helping clients visualise designs or choose between a number of design considerations for their vanity unit. This ensures that no matter your washroom dimensions, we’re able to provide you with the most suitable bespoke vanity unit. 

    The Various Vanity Unit Styles

    Excelsior provides a wide range of vanity units to meet all design preferences. Our vanity units are available in one of three styles: Magma; Mariner Solid Grade Laminate; and Select High Pressure Laminate.

    Our range includes:

    • Recessed Vanity Units. With a countertop vanity, the basin sits on top of the worktop; the basin can appear as either a sit on or inset design. This unit type is suitable for larger bathrooms that can house larger countertops.
    • Semi Recessed Vanity Units. The basin of a semi recessed vanity overhangs the worktop slightly, adding dimension to the unit, whilst also offering a suitable solution for narrower units in smaller washrooms; this style also reduces the reach distance required to access the taps, as standard a semi recessed vanity is 315mm deep.
    • Solid Surface Wash Trough. Wash troughs feature a singular trough bed that stretches the length of the worktop, as opposed to individual sinks, meaning there is greater flexibility regarding tap placement for larger washrooms. With this particular design, the vanity unit is manufactured from solid surface material.
    • Cantilever Vanity Unit. Cantilever vanity units are structurally supported by a wall fixed bracket and dependant on the stability and rigidity of the fixing, offering a modern aesthetic usually without a frontage, and complete with decorative waste trap and pipework.  
    • Stainless Steel Wash Trough. Manufactured from stainless steel material, this unit is suitable for hygienic functions, such as in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, pubs, clubs and government institutions. Stainless steel is easy to clean and provides durability against corrosion. 
    • Solid Surface Countertop Vanity Unit. This classic countertop design is available in solid surface. Solid surface is a manmade material, manufactured from around 33% resin and 66% natural minerals; it has a matte, soft surface and is a more cost-effective alternative to granite or quartz.
    • Clinical Wash Hand Basin. For medical environments requiring hygienic handwashing facilities, clinical handwash basins feature pre-hung duct panels, available with lockable panels, that house a vanity sink. 
    • Granite Vanity Tops. A beautiful and eye-catching piece of stone, granite is incredibly durable and waterproof for washrooms. Excelsior utilises granite mined from 100% pure, natural stone – perfect for sustainable and long-lasting washrooms.
    • Quartz Vanity Tops. Quartz is an engineered stone that is made up of 90% natural quartz, offering incredible durability and enhanced aesthetics whilst remaining a low-maintenance finish.

    Single vs Double Vanity Units

    Another style consideration is the number of sinks to be incorporated into the unit. This can range from a single handwash basin to multiple basins.

    When choosing vanity units for smaller washrooms, such as Superloos, a single or double vanity poses a more suitable option, whilst larger bathrooms catering for a higher volume of users may choose to incorporate several sinks.

    This decision should be supported by technical measurements as well as adherence to current regulations surrounding the provision of handwash facilities. Regulations require that a sufficient number of handwash basins are provided for the number of toilets available in a public washroom. 

    Materials: Durability and Aesthetics

    Laminate, solid surface, quartz and stainless steel are some of Excelsior’s most popular materials when manufacturing bespoke vanity units for public washrooms.

    Our choice of materials ensures our customers can meet the requirements of their project, ranging from durability needs to aesthetic requirements, whilst remaining within budget. 

    • Laminate. Our vanity units and countertops can be constructed from Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) or High Pressure Laminate (HPL), offering durability against wear and tear and impact in public environments. SGL provides water imperviousness for wet and humid environments. We offer a range of finishes for our laminate vanity units, ensuring you can achieve design requirements.
    • Solid Surface. Made from natural minerals and resin, solid surface is a hygienic and low-maintenance solution whilst achieving a luxury appearance that resembles granite or quartz.
    • Quartz. For countertops where durability and appearance are key, quartz is a naturally occurring stone that offers unrivalled resistance to impact. Quartz countertop is manufactured using natural quartz combined with resin for binding at the surface of the material, making it an engineered stone.
    • Stainless Steel. Stainless steel offers resistance to corrosion, and is an affordable solution for environments where hygiene and functionality is prioritised. Excelsior’s vanity unit troughs are available in quality stainless steel for long-lasting performance.
    • Granite. Our countertops are further available in 100% pure granite. Granite is a beautiful, eye-catching material. However, it will require more maintenance compared to quartz – including a yearly resealing, due to its porous nature.

    Material choice will depend on the specifications of your project, and Excelsior’s experienced team is on hand to discuss the most suitable material for your washroom vanity unit based upon your needs.

    Concealing Unsightly Pipework

    Vanity units are the perfect solution for concealing pipework within washrooms.

    Whilst leaving pipework exposed can be a purposeful design choice for contemporary bathrooms, there are many reasons why architects may want to conceal pipework within washrooms.

    Pipework can be unsightly as well as pose a safety concern in some public environments, therefore concealing it with ducting can make for a more appealing user experience. Pipework can also be exposed to vandalism and damage by the public, resulting in costly repairs and washroom downtime.

    Concealing the pipework will also make the washroom easier and quicker to clean.

    Excelsior’s vanity units are available with a full CNC frontage complete with hinged or hook-on panels to conceal pipework. These easy-to-remove panels ensure maintenance is made easy with access to pipework as and when required.

    Wall Strength and Mounting Types

    Your washroom wall strength and the mounting type of your vanity unit should also be considered hand in hand. When deciding on the right vanity unit for your public washrooms, technical specifications such as these are key. 

    For vanity units that rely solely on the strength of a wall to support them, such as wall-hung vanities, calculations must be made as to the maximum weight the wall can support and what the appropriate mounting type will be. This affects the size of the vanity, as well as what it will hold. 

    It is important to ensure the vanity unit remains secure for the safety of users, as well as for preventing damage to the wall, pipework, and the unit itself.

    Mounting types for vanity units include:

    • Wall-hung. A wall-hung vanity is mounted directly to the wall with space underneath, which can help enhance the illusion of floor space in smaller washrooms.
    • Freestanding. With freestanding vanity units, the weight of the vanity is supported by the floor, however, the unit is still secured to the wall for safety precautions.
    • Cantilever. Cantilever vanity units are mounted to a wall by a cantilever bracket, offering increased flexibility as to where the vanity can be placed so long as there is fixing built into the wall to support it.

    Excelsior offers site surveys and can further advise contractors and architects on the most suitable mounting type for your washroom. This may depend on the size of the bathroom, design requirements, and wall strength.

    Plumbing Considerations When Buying a Vanity Unit

    Finally, the refreshed design of your public washroom may require a new plumbing layout; this depends on whether the new washroom design is in keeping or not with the layout of the old washroom.

    For this consideration, Excelsior strongly advises enquiring with a plumbing professional to discuss your needs, ensuring your plumbing is installed professionally and in line with the latest regulations.

    A well-installed vanity unit should be designed, manufactured and installed as per plumbing designs. Excelsior provides expert manufacture and installation, and can work alongside you to ensure your vanity unit provides access to pipework and plumbing.

    There are many factors to consider when selecting the right facilities for your washroom – including vanity units. From the size of your vanity, to its appearance and technical specifications, ensuring your vanity unit has been designed with careful consideration is essential to the performance of your handwashing facilities.

    Buying a vanity unit? Get in touch in touch today for guidance on choosing a Vanity Unit suited to your needs.

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