How to Replace and Install a Bathroom Vanity

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    Easy Bathroom Vanity Installation

    A new bathroom vanity is within reach with this easy to follow tutorial. Ann Marie Kurtz/E+/Getty Images

    The kitchen and the bathroom are the two rooms in the home that provide the best return on the dollar invested in renovation. One of the easiest ways to update your bathroom look is to replace the vanity with a clean looking new unit. For a few hundred dollars you can make your bathroom look like a million.

    In the tutorial How to Remove a Bathroom Vanity I provide you photos and step by step instructions on how to take out that old vanity. In this tutorial I’ll show you the next step,...MORE installation of your new bathroom vanity!

    Vanities most commonly come in a two styles including vessel style and cabinet style. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to install a cabinet style vanity along with some tips for corner vanity installations where there may be a gap between the edge of the vanity and a side wall.

    When you buy the vanity and take it home, carefully cut open the box following the instructions shown on the carton. You want to make sure not to damage the finish of the vanity. The vanity will have a countertop with sink separate from the body of the cabinet. It may also have a separate backsplash. Remove all the packing and place the countertop / sink upside down on carpet or some other soft surface out of the way to protect the finish of the countertop. Now you’re ready to start!

    Needed Tools and Materials

    • Power Drill (hole drilling and power screwdriver)
    • Electronic Stud Finder
    • Screwdriver
    • 24” to 48” Level or Torpedo Level
    • Power Jigsaw (may be needed)
    • (may be needed)
    • Small Profile Gauge (may be needed) [Profile Gauges are used for copying curved shapes]
    • Wood Shims (may be needed)
    • Pencil
    • Tape Measure
    • Silicone Caulk / Sealant
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  • 02 of 11

    Locate the Wall Studs

    locating wall studs

    Using an electronic stud finder, locate at least one wall stud on the wall behind where you will be installing the vanity. Mark the center of the stud. Repeat the process to find a second stud if possible (studs are typically 16” center to center).

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    Prepare for Vanity Attachment

    preparation for vanity mounting
    Next you will mark the height of the top of the vanity base cabinet on the back wall (and side wall if you have a corner installation). If no dimension was provided in the instructions, measure the actual cabinet and use that dimension. Measure from the floor to the top of the base cabinet (without the countertop). Use a standard level to lightly mark this height across the wall where the vanity is being installed.

    Once the height is marked off, place the vanity into position. If the...MORE vanity is installed just against a back wall you want to make sure to locate the base cabinet so that the vanity top has equal overhang on each side.

    If the vanity is installed against a back and side wall as in this tutorial, place the vanity base so the countertop is touching the side wall and there is still countertop overhang on the opposite side. (You will have to test fit the countertop to determine this).

    With the vanity in position, use a box level to ensure the vanity is horizontally level. If necessary use wood shims to level the vanity.

    Once the vanity is in position and level, fasten the vanity base cabinet to the wall by using a two 2” drywall screws through the back panel and into the wood studs. If you have a corner installation as shown in this tutorial, the second screw can go into a side wall stud and one screw can go through the back.

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    Corner Installation: Closing the Gap at a Side Wall

    filler strip
    With some vanity installations (such as this tutorial) you may have to locate the vanity against a side wall in a corner as opposed to just against a back wall. If that is the case you will end up with a gap between the vanity base cabinet and the side wall because of countertop overhanging and hitting the side wall and / or a coved ceramic tile base hitting the foot of the vanity. The solution is making a wood filler strip to close off this wall gap which I’ll explain how to do in the next...MORE couple of pages.
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  • 05 of 11

    Corner Installation: Making the Filler Strip

    using a profile gauge
    • Cut Filler Strip to Shape and Length:
    • Cut a piece of wood at least ½” thick to the length from the top of the vanity base cabinet to the floor.
    • Trim it to the width of the gap.
    • If you have a curved cove base tile as shown here, use a small profile gauge and press the gauge into the curved cove tile base to copy the profile of the coved tile.
    • Transfer the shape to the wood filler strip by tracing it with a pencil.
    • Using a manual coping saw or power jigsaw, carefully cut out the shape of the cove base...MORE from the filler strip.
    • Test fit the filler strip and adjust as necessary.
    • Once the filler strip is determined to fir correctly, sand, stain and finish the wood strip to match the base cabinet as closely as possible.
    • Attach the filler strip with glue or small brads (small nails). It just needs to be held in place.

    Compare Prices Manual Coping Saw

    Compare Prices Power Jigsaw

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    Corner Installation: Fasten Side of Vanity to Wall

    fastening a vanity to a wall
    • The side of the vanity needs to be fastened to a wall stud just like the back of the vanity. However, since the vanity side will be away from the wall, it will need to be shimmed for support before the fastening screw is tightened. Proceed as follows to shim and attach the vanity:
    • Cut two wood spacer blocks about 1/8” short of the distance of the vanity side to the wall.
    • Place two wood shims between the wood spacer blocks and the wall creating a snug fit.
    • Screw a drywall screw into the cabinet side...MORE and through the wall into the stud making sure the screw is long enough to go about ¾” to 1” into the wood stud.
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  • 07 of 11

    Installed Vanity Base (without countertop)

    installed vanity without top
    Once the vanity is fastened to the wall and the filler strip is installed (if necessary), the vanity will be in the state shown in the photo. The vanity is now ready for the countertop and installation of the sink.
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  • 08 of 11

    Install Vanity Top

    installing a vanity top
    Install vanity countertop / sink / faucet assembly. © 2013
    • The next step is to attach the vanity top:
    • Install the faucet and undermount sink to the vanity top before installation. This will make the faucet’s installation much easier.
    • Place a small amount of silicone sealant in the four corners of the vanity base and place the countertop / sink assembly into place.
    • If the vanity is installed just against a back wall you want to make sure to locate the vanity countertop top so it has equal overhang on each side.
    • If the vanity is installed against a back and...MORE side wall as in this tutorial, place the vanity countertop so it is touching the side wall and there is still countertop overhang on the opposite side.
    • Make sure the vanity top is now in the final position you desire with the back of the countertop firmly against the back wall.
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  • 09 of 11

    Attach Sink and Faucet Plumbing

    attcahing plumbing lines to a sink
    Once the countertop / sink / faucet assembly is in place, connect the sink drain and faucet hot and cold connections.
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  • 10 of 11

    Install Backsplash and Final Caulk

    installing a 4
    • If your vanity comes with a separate backsplash, now is the time to install it.
    • Apply a bead of silicone caulk in a serpentine pattern on the back of the backsplash.
    • Press the backsplash firmly into place.
    • Install a bead of silicone caulk at the vanity countertop and backsplash edge along the side wall, the joint between the backsplash and vanity top.
    • Let the caulk cure 24 hours.
    • If you have a granite or marble vanity top use a stone sealer before using the vanity.
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  • 11 of 11

    Finished Vanity Installation

    bathroom vanity
    Once your vanity is fully installed take a step back and enjoy your hard work! You did a great job and improved your home’s value. Now wash your hands!