How to Install a Sink or Vanity

The sink/vanity is the focal point of a bathroom. That’s why bath­rooms in many upscale homes feature a double sink, with deluxe tile or even stone for the vanity top. It makes an excellent impression. The quality of faucets used with the sink is also critical to the overall look and feel of the bathroom.

Use the highest-quality materials you can afford in your sink/vanity and that are consistent with the norms of your neighborhood. You’ll get a big payback later on when it comes time to resell. Potential buyers will walk in the bathroom and begin “Oohing” and “aahing” over your renovation.

Install Sink

What It Will Cost

The vanity is the cabinet supporting the bathroom sink and counter-top. Premade bathroom vanities are readily available from home supply stores. For a really polished look, you can order a specialty cabinet or a custom-made vanity to suit your bathroom. The price difference, however, can be astounding. A premade vanity 5 to 6 feet wide of good-quali­ty construction may sell for under $250. Having one built to spec could cost several times that much.

The faucets are critical in the bathroom. A good faucet can easily run $500 and higher. It’s not just that it’s better made; it’s that it uses more expensive metals. Some of the fancier faucets use gold or plat­inum plating.

The faucet should match the quality of the house. If a home is in the modest to moderate price range, a good-quality low-cost Price-Pfister or Delta faucet will probably do nicely. But, if the property is truly upscale, you should lean toward a specialty faucet.

When buying bathroom faucets and fixtures, be aware that many plumbing houses offer closeouts on older models at very deep discounts. Since you need only one or two pieces, you may be able to benefit from these sales. Be careful, however, because many of the top-quality manufacturers also produce loss leaders— inexpensive faucets that bear their name but that do not have the fine appearance or workmanship of their regular line. Be sure that whatever you get, the sink matches the tub/shower.

The installation of the vanity is simplicity itself. Once you get it into the bathroom, use long screws to attach the back supports into the studs. The countertop usually just sits on top and is held in place by gravity, caulk, and the plumbing. It’s a good idea to connect the plumbing to the sink before installation, since the small crawl areas underneath make later hookup difficult.

Installation of the plumbing is a little bit tricky. It’s easier if you run metal-sheathed flexible tubing to the hot and cold shutoff valves.

When connecting the water supply, use either solid tubing or flexible tubing that has a metal sheath. Beware of tubing that has only a nylon sheath. In very cold weather it could stiffen and allow the pipe to burst under changing water pressure conditions. Connect the drain to the drain opening using all new materials.

The work requires a modest amount of plumbing skills. There will prrobably be no pipe threading or soldering involved. All the joints should be compression fittings and use rubber or plastic washers.

What to Watch Out For

The only problem with the vanity installation is likely to occur in measurement. Be sure the vanity is small enough to fit the space available in the bathroom. Also, be sure that it will get through the bathroom door. You may have to cut a small portion out of the bot­tom side walls of the vanity to accommodate the baseboard.

Sink or Vanity

The plumbing can be difficult for a first-time renovator. As noted, the easiest approach is to connect the faucets to the sink before you install it. Otherwise, you’ll be crawling around underneath trying to get the fittings on.

For the tubes connecting to the hot and cold water, be sure to get hoses that aren’t too long or too short. Allow several inches extra for slack. Being way off either way could lead to trouble with the connections.

For the drain, use plastic pipe whenever possible. It’s much easier to handle. Today the trap and other drain materials are all available in plastics.

If you must connect the water faucets after the sink is installed, be aware of a special offset wrench that fits right up underneath to do the job. Ask at your local hardware store. It costs around $10.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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