Many of our clients ask us for advice on how to do installs of the items we sell. With this in mind, we at Global Value Supply- The Renovate for Less Outlet have decided to do a series of Blog Posts to deal with the most commonly asked questions. In this series, we will cover the installation of bathroom vanity cabinets, toilets, shower pans, and shower valves. We will also archive valuable links to help gather great resources in one place. As always, please follow the manufacturers suggested installation recommendations if they differ from our instructions in order to keep your warranty in tact.
Installing a Bathroom Vanity Cabinet:
Before getting started you should gather all the tools and materials needed for this project to be efficient in your work. From a tools perspective, here are the tools that we use during our installs: drill (or screw driver), pipe wrench or channel pliers, level, pencil, crow bar, utility knife, tape measure, bucket, towels, stud finder. As for materials, new vanity and top, faucet, new p-trap (recommended), caulk, water supply lines (if the old ones are too short for the new vanity or excessively old), painter's tape, 2 inch screws. Having these items available will make for an efficient install and will reduce the head ache of multiple trips to the home improvement store or garage for tools and materials. Lastly, with heavy or large vanities, we recommend you enlist a second person.
To insure you don't flood the area, it is important to shut off the water before removing the water supply lines. Start by turning the hot and cold water valves off. In some cases the valves turn counter clockwise for off and in others they are twisted perpendicular to the water flow. In older homes, always find the main water valve to the home or locate the water meter cut off as we have come across faulty valves on many installs.
Step 2: Remove the old vanity top
Now that the water is shut off, place a bucket below the water supply lines and p-trap/drainage pipe. Next, remove the water supply lines and p-trap ( residual water typically will drain out, so keep the bucket in place). If you notice water coming out of the valves despite them being in a shut position, immediately turn off the whole house shut off or the valve at the water main.
Once the supply lines and p-trap are removed, cut the caulk between the top and cabinet as well as caulk between the wall and the cabinet and back splashes. This will ensure that minimal damage is done to the walls during the removal/demolition process. As reaching the caulk between the top and the cabinet is usually a daunting task, we usually use a flat head screwdriver to pry the top slightly then insert a crow bar. Apply pressure slowly with the crow bar and eventually the caulk will give.
Step 3: Remove the old vanityWith the top removed, you will find a 3-5 inch mounting strip at the top of the backside of the vanity. Here you will typically find screws attaching the vanity to the wall/studs. With your drill or screwdriver, carefully remove the screws. Be careful not to strip the screws in the loosening process, as this will create more work! Typically this is the only area where you will find screws, but we have seen screws in crazy areas so if you pull the vanity and it is fighting back, check for hidden screws. The old vanity should easily come out at this point.
Step 4: Install the new cabinetBefore placing/positioning the new cabinet, it is helpful to mark your studs. We typically use our level and a pencil to draw a line up from where the old screws where to a point slightly higher than the new vanity. If you feel that the screws were not placed in studs, then find the studs with a stud finder. Finding the studs will ensure proper anchoring and avoid accidental puncturing of pipes and wires in the wall.
Now place the new vanity cabinet in place. Ensure that the vanity is flush against the wall. Place shims under the vanity if necessary in order to level the vanity cabinet. Now anchor the vanity by driving the 2 inch screws into the mounting strip at the top of the vanity, thus securing it to the wall studs.
Step 5: Installing the faucet(s)
In most cases, the top is sold separately from the vanity cabinet. In this case our experience has been that mounting the faucet onto the top prior to installing the top exponentially simplifies the process. In the case that the top comes pre-installed/attached, then you will have to endure some difficult reaching into tight space in order to secure the faucet to the top. Follow the faucet manufacturer's instructions to avoid cancelling the warranty.
Step 6: Install the vanity top (if it came not attached)
To secure the top to the vanity cabinet, you will need to apply caulk to the top of the vanity cabinet. We typically apply a generous bead across the front side of the cabinet and a few drops on the back corners. Now place the top onto the cabinet- ensure the top is level and square with your vanity cabinet. In some cases where the wall is bowed severely, you may need to carve out some of the sheetrock.
Now that the top is on, you can install your backsplash with caulk directly onto the sheetrock. Although a side splash is not required, it sometimes helps cover up the imperfections in the sheetrock created by the removal of the old vanity. Make sure to use clear caulk to water seal the joint between the backsplash and the vanity top using caulk that is specifically designed for kitcen and bathroom water areas.
Step 7: Connect Water a Plumbing
With the faucet and top now installed, it is time to do the most important part of the install- connect the water supply lines and plumbing. This is critical to do correctly as to avoid costly water damage. First, Connect your drain to the sink. Many new faucets come with a drain that is self sealing. If not, you will likely need to use plumbers putty. Simply roll the plumbers putty into a rope and then create a ring with the rope that matches the size of the drain opening in the sink. As you tighten the drain the putty will ooze out- remove the excess with your finger. Now connect the p-trap and drain control (if you do not have a pop-up drain).
Next, connect your hot and cold water supply lines. Make sure the lines/hoses are connected correctly to the cold and hot sides of the faucet. We typically apply Teflon tape to the male portion of the valve and faucet in order to prevent water leaks. Despite, being told it is not entirely necessary due to the fact that the supply lines are designed to resist water pressure, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With the bucket still in place, wipe down the supply lines, valves, and drainage pipes. Once completely dry, turn on the water for 3-5 minutes and inspect for any leakage.
Step 8: Seal your vanity top (optional)
With tops that are constructed from natural stone, it is typically advised that you apply a sealer to protect the surface of the vanity. This is a simple process of applying a liquid sealer to the top. As there are several sealers in the market, we suggest you refer to the instructions on the label of the product you choose.
Now you are ready to enjoy and show off your new vanity to your friends and family. We hope this post will help you confidently tackle this and any future vanity installs. As always, come by our shop and check out our wide selection of discount vanities and faucets or visit us on our website: www.globalvaluesupply.com.