Question #1: Currently what is more popular, a round- or a rectangular-shaped sink?
Matt: It all depends on the style and use for the bathroom. Usually, rectangular sinks take a little bit more countertop space. So there’s also a functionality question. I would say overall, we probably do 75-80% of the sinks in our countertops as ovals, with the balance being rectangles. Keeping in mind that vessels can be rectangles and they can also be round.
Question #2: So there’s undermount vs. vessel. What does that mean for the person who might not know?
Matt: You basically have four types of sinks. You have undermount, which sits totally under the countertop. So it’s easy to deal with in terms of cleaning, such as wiping things into the sink because it’s flush. And then you have overmount sinks, which have a lip so the sink sits on top of the counter. It’s a very small lip and they can be stylistic, in that they can have a detail around the edge of the sink. Some people like the way they look but functionally it does hinder you from being able to wipe straight into the sink. And then you have recessed sinks and vessels. Vessels sit on top of the counter. So the bulk of the sink is exposed on top of the counter. They can be glass, copper, different metals, or ceramic. Lastly you have the semi-recessed sink, where the bulk of the sink is below the counter, and then there’s a portion above the counter, which makes it look not quite as striking.
Question #3: Is there a big difference in cost or reasons why people would choose those options?
Matt: There are options in all those styles and it really comes down to the material of the sink, the detail and the size. There are a lot of variables. So I wouldn’t say one is more expensive than the other, necessarily. I just think it’s a stylistic and functional decision. I would say it’s a stylistic decision 9 out of 10 times. One of the things about vessels sinks is they create a challenge with the faucet needing to be tall. So it often ends up with a faucet coming out of the wall. In those instances, it can limit your faucet selection and may increase the overall cost. That’s why you see a lot of vessel sinks in powder rooms where you want to make a statement and less in children’s bathroom where cleaning and not getting water everywhere is important.
Question #4: Deck mounting a faucet or wall mounting a faucet. What’s the trend right now? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages?
Matt: So there’s not a trend to wall mounting a faucet, necessarily. I would say that 90% of the projects we build are deck-mounted faucets. There are a couple reasons why the wall-mounted faucet is a perfect application. And there are many reasons why it is a really bad application. Starting with the bad application, the valve for a wall-mounted faucet is in the wall, so that means that if that valve fails, you’re tearing out tile, you’re tearing out stone. If you have a deck-mounted faucet, and something goes wrong with the deck-mounted faucet, you can take it off, you can put on a new faucet, you can change it anytime, you can repair it, you can do whatever. Now, that’s the negative to them. The positive to them is that it gives you some flexibility if you’re going to use a vessel sink or different height sinks where you can have it come out of the wall and you’re not stuck with trying to find a different deck-mount faucet that’s tall enough to be the top of your vessel.
Question #5: Granite, quartz, or marble? What’s the most popular, what’s everyone going with, and what’s the variation in price?
Matt: Number one trend is quartz. No question. Number two would be marble, like Carrera type gray and white, and natural stones. Cremona fill, which is a beiger marble or travertine counter, things like that. Granite is not as prevalent. But there are some beautiful granite types in some black and dark brown shades. There’s no question that Carrera marble is one of the top choices in all bathrooms. The challenge is that it is porous, it can scratch easily and it’s not as durable as quartz. The problem with quartz is that there are not a lot of quartz products that look like the stone that comes out of the earth. Quartz products don’t need to be sealed: they are bomb proof. That’s why people hedge toward that material. Unfortunately, the quartz products are the most expensive of all. They are going to be more expensive than marble, they are going to be more expensive than granite, typically, in terms of the average slab price. The fabrication of those products is equivalent because fabricating quartz and fabricating granite or marble or natural stone is the same process.
Question #6: Any time you’re installing countertops; do you want the slab to cover the whole continuous surface as opposed to having a seam?
Matt: You want to avoid seams at all costs but slabs only come in certain sizes so seams can happen. It depends on what you’re building. If you’re going to do a seam, then you have to be thinking about a couple other things: where does the seam go, where is the most logical place for the seam, and how are you going to match up part A and part B, in terms of the pattern. So, with the quartz products, typically they are relatively homogeneous so you don’t have those challenges. But with the natural stones, you can have veins going in all kinds of different directions. So it just creates a level of complexity.