Basin Jargon Buster

Close up of basin

When you are buying a new bathroom appliance, the last thing you want is to be confused by a load of jargon. To help you make sense of bathroom basins, here is a quick and handy guide.

Basin waste

This little bit of kit is a totally essential item in your basin. This is the brass, chrome-plated device that the water drains through going out of the basin. There are different variations, including flip top and click top, as well as some that never close.

Bottle trap

A bottle trap is the small section of brass piping that connects the bottom of the basin to the drainage system, creating a space for the used water to flow through. These too are essential, and are chrome plated. They tuck neatly underneath the basin itself and come in a variety of styles.

Ceramic basin

Ceramic – a durable substance made from kiln-fired clay – is a very popular material for bathroom basins. It can look at home in almost any bathroom suite, from traditional rooms to more modern suites.

Cloakroom basin

Cloakroom basins are typically much smaller and shallower than standard basins, making them ideal for smaller spaces. They can be shaped either like the traditional basins or rectangular. You can also get corner cloakroom basins, which are perfect for saving space.

Inset basin

An inset basin is completely fitted into the worktop – enclosed on all four sides. This is an ideal space-saving solution, since it keeps the basin compact within the unit, often with drawers or cupboard space underneath it. This also conceals all the pipework, making sure everything is neat and tidy.

Overflow hole

This is a small hole that is drilled into the basin, just underneath where the tap goes. It is there to drain the water out if too much is poured into the basin, preventing it from flooding onto the worktop or floor. Overflow holes are not typically drilled into wash bowl basins, but are usually in all other basin styles.

Full pedestal  

If a basin is mounted onto a full pedestal, this means it is fixed onto the top of a full-length column-like structure, extending down to the floor. This is great for saving space, since the pedestals are narrow at the bottom and therefore do not take up much floor space. Despite this, they are very sturdy, and the pipework is concealed behind the pedestal.

Semi inset basin

A semi inset basin is built into the worktop, but is not completely enclosed. These basins stick out from the worktop at the front, and you can find them in both the angular and rounded styles. The pipework is tucked away into the unit, which keeps everything neat and concealed.


Semi-pedestals are shorter versions of the full-length ones, measuring at around 30cm in length. These are brilliant devices for saving space, since they tuck into the wall rather than using any valuable floor space, but still provide room to hide all your pipework.

Vanity unit

A vanity unit is a cabinet-like structure that can store all your bathroom essentials. These can also have basins built into the top, either fully or semi inset. The larger units can be freestanding on the floor, whereas smaller ones can be mounted onto the wall. These are often a great way of saving space. If you want to know everything about vanity units, click here. 

Wash bowl

A wash bowl basin is often more rounded or cylindrical in shape (there are exceptions however). Traditional basins have flat edges before curving downwards, whereas washbowls don’t typically have that flat edge – exactly like a bowl! They evoke a feel of luxury and decadence, and can be a real feature point in your bathroom suite.

Now you’re all clued up, check out our range of Basins here.



Writer and expert