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What Is a Recessed Basin?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 16, 2024
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A recessed basin is a bathroom or kitchen wash basin that mounts flush with a solid work surface, thereby leaving very little of the basin protruding above the countertop. There are three basic types of recessed basin: self rimming or drop in, under-mount, and flush mount. All feature a basin bowl located under the counter and differ only in the mounting systems and the amount of basin surface which protrudes above the counter surface. Recessed wash basins may include faucet mounting points and often include extra features such as soap holders. These basin types are available in a selection of designs and are typically made of stainless steel, porcelain, high impact plastic, or resin composites.

Unlike surface mount wash basin designs, a recessed basin is located below the countertop. There are several types of recessed basin, each with unique design characteristics and which deliver specific practical and aesthetic benefits. The first of these are the self rimming or drop-in basins featuring a rim or a flat plate along the upper lip. The hole cut into the countertop when installing this basin is large enough to accommodate the basin bowl but not the plate or rim; this means that the rim lies on top of the counter and supports the basin. These basin variants come available in a wide range of shapes, bowl configurations, materials, and colors; flat plates or flange models generally have additional draining ribs embossed into the plate surface.

The second type of recessed basin design is the under-mount basin. This basin features large, flat lip flanges which are glued to the underside of the counter or clips and brackets designed to be secured with screws to the counter material. Flange types, particularly heavy varieties such as stone or cast iron models, may also be supported by the casing of the cabinet, thereby lending the assembly additional support. This type of basin offers attractive, sleek installation and is practical due to the lack of catch points on the surface of the counter which usually trap dirt and water.

The third type of recessed basin is the flush mounted unit. This variant is similar to the under-mount style in that it has no surface protrusions and mounts with clips or a flanges to the underside of the countertop. It does include a raised shoulder around the basin lip which is designed to go through the hole in the countertop and sit flush with the surface. Also known as tile edge basins, they are mainly used in installations with tiled or granite tops. The join between the countertop and the basin shoulder is typically grouted or sealed with a strip or gel type sealant after it is secured in place.

Most recessed basin designs are available in a wide range of designs, colors, and materials to suit many decor requirements. Common materials used for these basins include high quality stainless steel, porcelain, plastic, and resin composites. Many feature integral faucet mounting points and may include extras such as molded-in soap dishes and drainers. This type of wash basin is also available in single or multiple basin configurations.

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