Does a Pedestal Sink Need a Backsplash?

traditional pedestal sink in small bathroom

If you’re trying to save a bit of money on your bathroom renovation, you might be questioning whether a backsplash is strictly necessary for a pedestal sink. Alternatively, your current backsplash might be outdated or just a little bit “meh”, and you want to know if you can simply remove it instead of replacing it. So, does a pedestal sink really need a backsplash?

A pedestal sink that rests against the bathroom wall requires a backsplash. However, if you have a small pedestal sink with a shallow basin, you will need a backsplash regardless of whether it’s positioned against the wall. This is because it is easier to splash when you have a small sink.

Let’s have a look at the purposes of a backsplash behind a pedestal sink and when it is necessary. We’ll also have a closer look at the necessity of backsplashes with vintage-style pedestal sinks and modern pedestal sinks. 

The Purpose of a Backsplash in the Bathroom

The purpose of a backsplash in a bathroom is two-fold: The first purpose pertains to function and the second pertains to design. 

A Backsplash Protects the Bathroom Wall

vintage pedestal sink with tile backsplash

The functional aspect of a backsplash in a bathroom is to protect the area of the wall behind the sink from water damage. 

If you think about your daily use of your pedestal sink, how much water ends up on the wall? Splashes occur when you turn on the faucet too hard, you put your hands too close to the faucet, or you shake your hands to get rid of excess water before drying them on the towel, etc. 

These splashes are usually not one-time occurrences. The wall behind a pedestal sink is continuously being exposed to moisture. Over time, this can lead to physical damage and the growth of fungi.


Physical Water Damage

When the drywall behind a pedestal sink is exposed to water, it absorbs the moisture and expands, which can cause warping.

Another issue is rotting. Drywall is made from wood, which breaks down when exposed to high levels of moisture. This means that the wall behind your pedestal sink can start to rot and crumble.

The Growth of Fungi

The two major fungi that are a problem when walls are constantly exposed to moisture are mold and mildew. 

Mold and mildew can both grow on the surface of the drywall where you can see the problem and deal with it, or they can grow in deeper parts of the wall and not be found until it has become a very serious issue. (If you suspect you might have bathroom mold, be sure to read my post about how to track down bathroom mold and eradicate it.

In any case, mold and mildew are unsightly, and, as fungi, they also pose a health risk. Fungi release spores into the air which can come into contact with a person’s skin and cause irritation, or they can be inhaled and cause allergies and illnesses. 

A Backsplash Provides a Design Element

A backsplash can be used as an additional design feature in a bathroom. Now, in light of the functional aspect of backsplashes, design might seem like a secondary objective, but it can really make a massive difference. 

And don’t only think of tile when you think about a bathroom backsplash. In this post, I show you 9 different materials that you can use as a backsplash for your pedestal sink.

A Good Backsplash Adds Drama

Not all bathrooms are suited to the sweeps and angles that give a bathroom a certain dramatic feel. But a good backsplash can be just the right touch to take a simple bathroom décor style and make it something special. 

A Good Backsplash Ties Everything Together

Your tub may not match your basin, your hardware may not be the same color or style, but a well-chosen backsplash can pick up colors and style notes from all around your eclectic bathroom and unify everything into one look. 

A Bad Backsplash Can Draw The Eye, But In a Bad Way

There are some backsplashes that you know were an afterthought. They are two-tiles high, two-tiles wide, and so bland or non-cohesive that they can actually ruin the whole look of the bathroom. 

Do All Pedestal Sinks Need a Backsplash?

modern pedestal sink placed inches from wall
This pedestal sink is several inches from the wall.

All bathroom vanities need backsplashes because they adjoin the bathroom walls, and so water can easily sit against the wall or get behind the vanity if it is improperly sealed. With pedestal sinks, however, backsplashes are not always necessary. 


If It Rests Against the Wall…You Need a Backsplash


If your pedestal sink rests right up against your bathroom wall, then the chances of splashing the wall with water while using the sink are higher. Additionally, water can sit in the space between the edge of the sink and the wall. This will cause even worse damage than intermittent splashes. 

On the other hand, if your pedestal sink is set further away from the wall, then the chances of splashes reaching the wall are lower, and there is no risk of the water sitting against the wall. In this case, you won’t need a backsplash.

Also, if your bathroom has tiled walls, then a backsplash becomes superfluous, even if the pedestal sink rests against the wall. Alternatively, you can think of the whole wall behind the sink as a massive backsplash. 

If the Basin Is Shallow…You Need a Backsplash

Even if your pedestal sink does not sit against your bathroom wall, you may need a backsplash if the sink is small and shallow. 

If you have ever attempted to wash your hands in a small sink, you know why; it’s almost impossible not to splash water while using it. The floor does get the worst of the water exposure, but the walls are not exempt. 


Impact of Style on Need for Backsplash

Pedestal sinks are amazing in terms of their variety and versatility. These days you can get a pedestal sink to perfectly suit almost any décor from vintage to modern and every style in between. But, you might be wondering if there are certain design styles of pedestal sink that need a backsplash, and the answer is potentially. 

Let’s take a look at examples of a vintage pedestal sink and a modern pedestal sink so you can see what I mean.

Vintage Pedestal Sinks

Vintage Pedestal Sinks

If you want a vintage bathroom décor look, start with a classic pedestal sink and you will be more than halfway there. And if you’re searching for a classic pedestal sink, might I recommend the Cheviot Antique Pedestal Sink?

It is made from luxurious vitreous china, whose glass-like finish is attributable to the fact that they actually fire it with a fine glaze of powdered glass. This not only makes it beautiful, but also makes it durable, easy to clean, and resistant to microbes. Isn’t it gorgeous?

But, back to backsplashes! The shape and style of the Cheviot Antique Pedestal sink is typical of a vintage pedestal sink, and it is most suitable for installation right up against the bathroom wall. So, if this is the style you are going for, the chances are that yes, you will need a backsplash.

Modern Pedestal Sinks

Modern Pedestal Sinks

Modern pedestal sinks, on the other hand, can be placed against the wall or further away from it, and look wonderful in either position.

Look at the Island Pedestal Sink by Fine Fixtures as an example. 

In the photo, it has been installed closer to the wall, but its contemporary rounded shape and the lack of a lip at the back of the sink means that it would still look fabulous if it were installed a few inches forward and away from the wall.

By the way, the Island Pedestal Sink is not just the perfect blend of elegance and bold statement, it is also made from vitreous china, which makes it durable and an absolute breeze to clean.

The Pedestal Sink Backsplash

If you would prefer not to install a backsplash in your bathroom, then a pedestal sink is the best option for you. You would have to find one with a sink that has a larger basin to minimize splashing. And unless your walls are tiled, you’d want to install it a few inches from the wall.

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Tags: backsplash materials, bowl, Cheviot Antique Pedestal Sink, Does a pedestal sink need a backsplash?, Fine Fixures, fungus, installation, Island Pedestal Sink, mildew, modern pedestal sink, mold, pedestal sink, position, shallow basin, shallow sink, vintage pedestal sink, vitreous china, water damage

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