How to Install a Bathroom Vanity
|Skill level: Advanced beginner to intermediate||Time: 2 to 6 hours, plus 24 hours of drying time||Cost: $380 to $695 plus sundries|
Bathroom renovations continue to top the list of popular home improvements, but what if you don’t want to invest the time or money on a full model? You can install a bathroom vanity as a weekend project. It is an easy way to add character and functionality to your bathroom without the commitment of a major project.
In this article, we will help you recognize when a vanity is ready for replacement, understand different vanity types, and know when to call in a pro. And if you decide to DIY, we have a complete how-to-replace guide, too. If you can spare a few hours on a Saturday, in most cases you can replace your bathroom vanity and begin enjoying it by the end of the weekend.
6 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Bathroom Vanity
There are a few reasons when a vanity replacement should be in your immediate future. If your bathroom vanity falls into one or more of these categories, it may be time for an upgrade.
Leaking water can cause lasting damage to a vanity. Cabinet material can swell and warp, affecting the vanity’s integrity and durability. If moisture was not properly mediated, mold growth is also a possibility.
Chips and Cracks
Over time, normal wear and tear will begin to take its toll, especially on a fixture like a vanity that sees daily use. Scratches, chips, and cracks in the surface will accumulate and affect a vanity’s visual appeal.
Planning to Sell the Home
If you plan to sell in the next year, renovating a bathroom could help improve your home’s resale value. A mid-range bathroom remodel has an average return on investment of 60%.
Better Use of Space
Sometimes you can improve the look and functionality of your bathroom through the addition of storage. A larger or better-designed vanity can increase drawer and cabinet space to clear surfaces of clutter.
While decades-old fashion has a way of coming back into style, the same cannot be said for bathroom fixtures. Unless you prefer a vintage or retro style, a bathroom vanity more than 10 years old is probably ready for an update.
Not Your Style
Sometimes it is necessary to make some home updates as style preferences evolve over time. The good news is that you can replace a bathroom vanity to change the look and feel of your bathroom without the commitment of a full remodel.
How to Choose a New Bathroom Vanity
Budget plays a large role in your bathroom vanity replacement, but it is not the only thing that should influence your decision. Here are a few factors to consider when vanity shopping:
Size: How big or small to go is a top consideration when deciding on a bathroom vanity. You will want to take your bathroom’s square footage into account in addition to usage and storage needs. Pay attention to scale, too — a too-large vanity will make a small bathroom look cramped.
Layout: If your vanity is flanked by a wall on one or both sides, you will want to choose something to fit the space properly. If a vanity replacement is part of a larger bathroom remodel, now is the time to evaluate its location and relocate it to a better spot for improved flow and functionality if needed.
One sink or two: Usage is also a factor in choosing a vanity. For example, in a large primary bathroom or shared kids’ bathroom, a dual-sink vanity may be the best choice. For a small powder room, a single sink will do.
Material: How a bathroom vanity is constructed will impact its durability, lifespan, and cost. There are several different vanity materials to choose from, each with its own pros and cons:
- Solid wood cabinets
- Laminate cabinets
- Fiberboard cabinets
- Stainless steel cabinets
Style: Your personal design preferences will also influence your vanity selection. The ability to create a bathroom space to reflect your personality or home’s design theme has never been easier. Flat-paneled, distressed, inset, and beadboard are a few of the many different styles from which to choose.
When to Call the Pros
While you can install a bathroom vanity as a simple weekend project, there are some situations where it might be best left to a professional bathroom remodeler. If you discover plumbing problems or desire a custom design, a professional can help make necessary repairs and create a bespoke bathroom design. There are other benefits to working with a professional:
Material and install knowledge: A bathroom remodeling pro is an expert in their field and knows the pros and cons of each vanity type. They can guide you through each choice and help find the right vanity for your bathroom style that offers the best value.
Fast turnaround: With all the appropriate tools and project know-how, a pro can have your bathroom vanity replaced quickly to save you time.
Average cost for installed vanity: $400 to $3,000
How to Replace a Bathroom Vanity
Equipment and materials needed:
- Adjustable wrench
- Caulking gun
- Drywall screws
- Filler strips
- Stud finder
- Silicone caulking
- Sink drain assembly
- Tape measure
- Vanity with sink and top
- Water supply tubing
- Turn off the water: To install a bathroom vanity, first turn off the hot and cold water shut-off valves beneath the sink. Place a bucket underneath the sink trap and disconnect it from the drainpipe. Use a wrench to disconnect the water supply lines from the valves.
- Remove the current vanity: With a utility knife, cut through the caulking along the vanity top. Remove the top by unscrewing its brackets or by using a pry bar if it is glued down. Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the screws and release the cabinet.
- Prep the wall: Check placement for the new vanity by positioning it in the desired location. Be sure both drain outlet and stop valves are accessible in the back. If not, mark and cut the new vanity to allow access. Use a stud finder to locate and mark studs along the back and sidewalls.
- Place and secure new vanity: Use a level to set the vanity’s final placement and screw it into the wall(s). Use wood shims as necessary to adjust vanity height and keep it level. If you are installing next to a side wall, use a filler strip to cover the side gap.
- Secure vanity top and faucet: Install faucet set in the vanity top and fittings. Place adhesive along the cabinet corners and set vanity top in place. Screw in brackets if they are included with your vanity.
- Reconnect plumbing: Reattach water supply lines to the faucet and connect the new sink drain to the trap. Turn water back on carefully to check for leaks.
- Install vanity backsplash: For vanities that include a separate backsplash, place adhesive along the backsplash and press firmly to the wall.
Apply caulking: Using a caulking gun, place a bead of silicone caulk along where the vanity top and backsplash meet the wall. Gently wipe excess caulking with your finger. Allow vanity to dry at least 24 hours before using.