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Floor Standing Vanity Installation

How to Install a Bathroom Vanity

Installing a bathroom vanity properly can be a long and possibly confusing project, especially if you’re new to DIY furniture installation. Usually, we recommend to our customers that they contact a professional to install their vanity. But if you’re handy around the house and have some experience assembling and installing furniture or appliances, then you’ll definitely save money doing it yourself! For those of you who are ready to dive in and DIY, we’d like to offer this step-by-step guide to help you on your way to the perfect bathroom design.

This guide assumes that you are installing a large floor-mounted vanity, but it also assumes that you intend to fix the standing vanity to your wall for added stability and permanence. If you intend to keep your vanity free-standing and therefore more portable, just ignore the steps that involve screwing the back into the wall, etc. If you are going to install a wall-mounted (hanging) vanity, please read our helpful wall-mounted vanity installation guide.

Before you begin make sure you have the following items:

- Adjustable wrenches
- 3” drywall screws
- Slip joint pliers
- Tape measure
- Carpenter’s level
- Stud finder
- Shims
- Utility knife
- Hole saws
- Power drill
- Caulking gun and caulk
- (optional) Belt sander or electric sander with beveled edge

First and foremost, you need to remove the old vanity cabinet that’s taking up space in your bathroom! So we will start with instructions to remove that piece before going into instructions for installing the new one.

Out With the Old…

Step 1:
Shut off your water supply. You can find instructions for doing so here. First, shut off the water control valves under the sink. If you don’t have shutoff valves, then turn off the water supply where it enters your house. To make sure that the water is completely off, turn on the sink faucet. In some cases, the water supply is beneath the vanity, in which you will have to shut off the main vanity supply. Then, disconnect and remove the plumbing connections and the waste trap below the sink.

Step 2:
Unscrew the supply tube nuts and loosen both slip nuts to remove the P-trap. Make sure that you have a pan below the P-trap, because the curved pipe will be full of dirty water. Until you’re ready to reconnect the P-trap, stuff a moist rag into the waste pipe to minimize odors and absorb any small drips that may occur from residual water in the plumbing.

Step 3:
Use a chisel to remove the vanity backsplash (the vertical decorative piece in the rear of the countertop, that is perpendicular to the top). If you have a plastic laminate top, use a utility knife to cut the caulk where the backsplash meets the wall.

Step 4:
For those who have a tiled top, you may have to pry loose nails from underneath the tile. Others may have to remove screws that fasten the top to the cabinet. If the top is glued, pry it loose a bit and use a keyhole saw between the vanity and top and cut away the adhesive. Now you can remove the vanity top.

Step 5:
Unscrew the vanity from the wall. If it has nails instead of screws, use a pry bar to remove them from the wall. Then, mark the stud locations in the fall for future reference.

Step 6:
Patch up damage to the wall with coats of drywall compound. It is recommended that you use a lightweight setting-type compound to speed up the process. Once the patch is dry, sand it smoothly and evenly with the wall surface.

…And in With the New!

Step 7:
Prime the wall patch, and then paint the wall. Make sure you use the correct type of primer, so that the old paint doesn’t show through the new paint. You may want to ask a professional about primer, depending on your existing paint or wallpaper, though most primer comes with on-the-container suggestions that should be helpful enough.

Step 8:
Mark the locations of the new cabinets on the wall. If you are installing a multi-piece vanity, just measuring the backs won’t do. If the cabinet has a face frame, the rear width of each cabinet should be ½ inch narrower than the front.

Step 9:
If filler strips are necessary, nail the filler strip to the side of the cabinet that meets the wall. These strips allow the cabinet doors to swing without rubbing against the wall. For a tight fit, you may need to taper the filler strip. To assist with leveling, build up the floor with wood strips nailed flush to the finished floor.

Step 10:
Screw the cabinet frames together. Then flush the fronts, clamp them, drill a clearance and pilot hole, then drive a screw near the top, middle, and bottom of the cabinets. Now, evenly space the cabinet sides and screw them together near the back edge.

Step 11:
Screw the cabinets to the wall into the studs you marked earlier. Some cabinets have a continuous panel along the entire back. If yours does, cut away a portion to get at the plumbing. To avoid hitting pipes, don’t use screws over 1 in. long.

Step 12:
Notch the kick panel to fit around the base trim. Spacers may have to be added behind the kick panel to cover any flooring problems.

Step 13:
Set the top onto the cabinet and check the fit. If the adjoining wall doesn’t allow you to set the top flush, remove a small portion from the front.

Step 14:
Sand the scribe line with a coarse 80-grit belt in a belt sander.

Step 15:
Now, you can install the faucets and drain the assembly on the sink top. Follow the instructions that came with the faucet and drain.

Step 16:
Apply a 3/8 in. bead of silicone caulk to the cabinet top. Next, set the top onto the cabinets. You may need a partner for this step.

Step 17:
Reconnect the faucet supply tubes and the P-Trap. You may have to trim pipe lengths to get everything to fit. In addition, you may need a tailpiece extension if your new vanity is higher than the previous one. Turn on the water to make sure there aren’t any leaks.

Step 18:
Finally, caulk where the backsplash meets the wall and smooth the joint with your finger. Let it dry and you are finished.
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