Replacing the vanity in your bathroom can be a cost-effective way to enhance the space. Whether the cabinetry and countertops are showing wear or they simply don’t reflect your style, you can install a bathroom vanity as a DIY project.
You’ll find bathroom vanities at a big box retailer or specialty store. Measure carefully before shopping to ensure that the vanity and countertop will fit the space the existing unit occupies. Remember that the countertop will be wider than the base. For ease of installation, you might want to purchase a set that includes cabinetry and a countertop with a built-in sink.
It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you install a bathroom vanity, but here’s the general process.
Remove the Old Vanity
You’ve seen those home improvement shows where people start a project by smashing everything with a sledgehammer? That’s not the way to approach this project. Begin by shutting off the water (YouTube has lots of videos) and removing the old vanity.
- Find the water shut-off valve (usually under the sink), and turn the water off.
- Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the mounting nut on the P-trap (the curved pipe in the center).
- Disconnect the water supply lines – use a wrench and place a bucket under them to catch drips.
- Once that’s done, cut the caulk or sealant holding the vanity top to the wall with a drywall or utility knife. If the top is sealed to the vanity base, use the knife to separate them, then carefully pull the counter away from the wall.
- Remove the screws holding the vanity to the wall and pull it away from the wall.
Installing the New Vanity Base
If the new vanity is heavy, consider removing the cabinet doors or drawers before installing it to lessen the weight.
- Position the vanity and lightly outline it on the wall with a pencil.
- Use a level to make sure the cabinet is set correctly. Place shims under the cabinet as needed to level it.
- If there’s a panel on the back with no holes for the plumbing, mark where you need holes. Use a hole-saw attachment or spade bit to drill them. Make the holes larger than the pipes that’ll go through them—that way, you’ve got room to adjust the cabinetry level.
- Locate the wall studs and mark them.
- Attach the cabinet to the walls using 3-inch drywall screws through the studs and wall anchors in other spots.
Add the Top and Faucet
Install the faucet and drain on the countertop sink before you attach the top to the base. This step saves you from crawling into the vanity to perform these steps after the countertop is set.
- Place the countertop on the base and check the fit before gluing. Recheck your level.
- Run silicone around the top of the cabinet. Place the countertop on the base and press it into the silicone to get good adherence.
- Reconnect the water lines and P-trap. Check for leaks by turning on the water.
Installing Floating Vanities
Wall-mounted, or floating, vanities provide a touch of contemporary style and a feeling of spaciousness to a bathroom. You can install them at your preferred height, and you don’t have to worry about shimming for uneven flooring.
While the steps are similar to installing a bathroom vanity that rests on the floor, there are differences.
Because the floating vanity doesn’t sit on the floor, find something to hold it at the height it needs to be during installation. If you have basic carpentry tools, you can build a box stand the exact size you need. Otherwise, a couple five-gallon buckets or milk crates might work.
Since all the weight of the floating vanity hangs from the wall, it must be screwed into wall studs. If the studs aren’t in the right position, you’ll need to add a brace to the wall. That entails cutting out some drywall, attaching a board between the studs, and repairing the drywall.
Some manufacturers have additional support systems, such as a mounting strip or L brackets that go under the bottom of the vanity to help support the weight. However, these systems still need to be attached to studs.
Or … Hire a Pro
If cutting into drywall or loosening drainpipes is more than you want to take on, hire someone to install your bathroom vanity. The cost for a simple vanity installation should be a few hundred dollars, although the price is higher if the contractor has to remove and repair drywall.
As long as the plumbing doesn’t need to be rerouted, you shouldn’t need a certified plumber to replace your vanity.
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