When a person is ready to work on or replace a bathroom sink, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sink types available. The bathroom sink really is not as complicated as it can appear from all the items that are displayed in hardware stores. Most bathroom sinks have only five main parts.

Basin

The basin is the part of the sink that holds the water when the water is turned on. Most bathroom sink basins are porcelain on steel or vitreous china. Bathroom sink basins also can be made out of resin, glass, metal and stone. This allows the home owner a lot of options for getting just the right look and feel to the bathroom. Basins can be custom-made and can be matched to other fixtures of the bathroom, such as the bathtub. They can drop into a hole in the countertop, be placed underneath the countertop or be self-standing (on a pedestal).

Faucet

Faucets are the part of the sink where the water comes out of the main piping and into the basin. Like basins, faucets can be made from various materials, but most often they are stainless steel. They might be on the sink, but they also might be mounted on a wall. Faucets can be placed low near the basin, or they can curve up and be high away from the basin. This affects the flow of the water into the basin.

Controls

The controls of the sink, which usually are handles, knobs, levers or pumps, turn on the water and adjust water temperature. The controls come in two basic types. The first type is a single control, in which the hot and cold water are controlled by the same mechanism. The other type of control is the dual control, with the hot and cold water being controlled separately by two handles, levers or pumps.

Stops

The part that keeps water in the basin is the basin stop. The stop is sometimes just a piece of rubber that fits securely into the drain hole of the basin. It also can be a metal fixture that sits inside the drain hole. A lever or pull system is used to raise and lower the metal fixture, thereby opening and closing the drain. Some sinks do not have stops but may have a metal covering with small holes over the drain to prevent hair and other items from going down the drain.

Piping and Miscellaneous Parts

The faucet, handles and basin all are connected with pipes, which typically are made of copper. These pipes carry the water to and from the sink. The pipes and related fixtures might have miscellaneous parts such as washers to make the pipes and fixtures have tight seals and to prevent leaks.