Guide to Replacing a Bathroom Vanity

Is it time to give the bathroom a face lift? One of the best places to start is with a new bathroom vanity and a new counter top. While most would approach the job with fear and trembling, the job is not impossible for a DIY person and if you can accomplish the task yourself you will certainly save some money. One of the least expensive ways to approach buying a new vanity is to purchase a vanity that includes the counter top and sink with the unit. The big box stores all carry the complete unit and purchasing the unit in one kit will take the guess work out of the process and ensures you get a top and sink that will fit the cabinet properly.

Begin the replacement of your vanity by turning off the water under the sink and disconnecting the plumbing. Older homes may not have a cut off valve for the sink. This would be a great time to have a plumber put in a cut off for the sink. Disconnect the water lines and the trap for the drain.

Take a flat-bladed putty knife and run it between the wall behind the counter top and the back splash of the counter top to loosen caulking between the wall and counter top. Failure to do this may result in the sheetrock tearing and creating a larger job to be done.

If the counter top is a laminate it will be necessary to unscrew the counter top from the vanity to make it easier to remove the cabinet. Once the counter top is loosened remove the counter and the sink from the top of the vanity. Caution: Be sure to have help removing the top due to the weight of the sink and the bulkiness of handling the counter top.

Unscrew the cabinet from the wall and remove the vanity cabinet from the bathroom. Repair any areas of the wall that will show and paint areas that may be exposed. The foot print of the new cabinet may not cover the same foot print as the old. Be sure to think this through before you purchase the vanity. Flooring and wall space may be effected. The cabinet should cover the same floor space or flooring will need to be pieced to match the rest of the floor.

Center the cabinet so that the plumbing will enter into the sink area of the cabinet. A hole may need to be cut in the cabinet to accommodate the rough-in for the plumbing. Once centered, screw the cabinet securely to the wall with at least 4-6 screws. Always drill pilot holes to prevent splintering.

Another important consideration is whether the cabinet has a wall on one side, two sides or is open on both sides. If there is a wall on either or both sides, it is a good idea to have some filler between the cabinet and the wall. This serves two purposes. First, if the cabinet is full overlay (doors and drawer fronts completely covering the face of the cabinet) this allows space for doors and drawers to open properly. Secondly, this spacer allows for base board molding to return to the cabinet and the doors and drawers to operate.

Sometimes it best to opt for a smaller cabinet to allow for filler against the wall. It is always better to sacrifice three inches of cabinet space so that doors and drawers will work properly.

Once the cabinet is in place, scribe the filler to fit in the space between the vanity and any side wall. This gives the effect of the cabinet going to the wall. You should attach the filler with screws through the side of the face frame. Be sure to drill pilot holes first and make sure the screws are flush with the wood.

Attach the counter top to the cabinet. If the top is laminate, simple screw the top to the corner pieces provided with the cabinet. Caution: Be careful with laminate tops that the screw does not come up through the laminate. This will ruin the top and is not repairable. With granite, marble, etc. simple use a caulk made for stone.

If the sink is not made into the counter top, use the template provided with the sink to cut the hole and mount the sink into the counter top. Use waterproof caulk to seal the area around the sink to prevent water from getting between the sink and the top. Faucet holes will also need to be cut as well.

Let the sink set up for 24 hours before connecting the plumbing. This allows the caulk to set and seal properly. Once complete, connect the plumbing, the trap, and check for leaks.

Lastly, attach the hardware to the cabinet doors if needed. It is advisable to make yourself a template to get the hardware in the exact position on each door.

Replacing a bathroom vanity is not extremely difficult. Following these simple steps should make this job as painless as possible and give a wonderful new look to your bathroom.

Tools needed:
Key hole saw
Wide bladed putty knife
Caulk gun
Adjustable Wrench
Electric Screw Driver

Materials List:
Bathroom Vanity Cabinet
Countertop, sink, faucet
Water proof caulk for stone, plumbing (clear)
Cabinet screws

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