A big change for your bathroom doesn’t have to involve demolition, moving walls or swapping fixture layouts – rather, a refreshed bathroom can be as simple as a new vanity and faucet. Especially in a small bath or powder room, a clean coat of paint on the walls and an improved vanity can completely change the feel of a space! I know, I know, we chose to do a full gut remodel of our space, and ours was a decision 6 years in the making (hard to believe, right?). But today, we’re walking you through the steps that will have your bathroom feeling shiny and new! Our hope is that we can encourage you to take steps towards a weekend update that you can do all on your own.
- vanity (this is ours)
- faucet kit (optional, but this would be a great time to upgrade; this is ours.)
- hot and cold water supply lines (sometimes included with faucet)
- p trap kit
- adjustable wrenches
- caulk & caulk gun
- construction adhesive
- large channel-lock pliers
- teflon plumbing tape
- silicone caulk or plumbers putty (see instructions)
- Dremel cutting tool or hacksaw (optional for drain pipe trimming)
*Check instructions of new vanity, faucet and plumbing parts for each specific application as different tools may be required. These are the supplies we used for our installation.
1| Shut Off Water Supply Valves, Disconnect Plumbing & Remove Existing Vanity
This step is fairly self explanatory. Much like installing a new toilet, the first step is to shut off and remove the water supply lines. Disconnect the p trap and remove any fasteners holding the vanity in place, then slide the old unit out of the way. Depending on the style of the outgoing vanity, there may be screws, bolts or a big glob of construction adhesive to remove. If the new vanity isn’t the exact size and shape of the old one, the walls may require some patching and/or painting. Before moving on, the area behind the vanity should be at a solid, clean ‘baseline’ with all painting complete.
2| Install the New Vanity
Once the walls are patched, painted and clean, slide the new vanity into place, check for level and attach to the wall according to the included instructions. Our vanity has adjustable feet, which allowed us to get it to level easily. In some cases, you may need shims or furniture pads for this part.
To attach the vanity to the wall, it may involve a handful of screws into studs, a mounting bracket or some construction adhesive. In our case, we drove a few screws into the studs and the cabinet was rock solid!
3| Install Backsplash & Caulk Seams
This simple step will disguise seams and keep moisture and dirt from making their way into places they don’t belong. We chose a light grey tinted caulk that blended in nicely with the marble of our vanity top.
4| Install Faucet & Supply Lines Per Instructions
Next up? It’s time to install the faucet! There are countless styles of faucet available, so we simply referred to the instructions of the selected fixture here. Make sure to read the instructions for your specific faucet carefully. Our 2-handle Chrome Delta Cassidy offered easy step-by-step instructions and installed in about 30 minutes. She sure is pretty!
With the faucet is in place, you can now connect the supply lines to the hot and cold valves. Some faucet kits include water supply lines. Ours did not. Be sure to confirm this important bit of information before the project starts, or an additional trip to the hardware store will be in order (like it was for us – ha!).
5| Install Sink Drain Assembly and P Trap
Now that the vanity and faucet are installed and the supply lines are connected, the final step is to finish up the drain connections. Our faucet kit included the sink drain assembly along with detailed instructions. The installation steps happen in a very specific order, so be sure so pay careful attention to avoid mistakes that could result in leaky connections. At this point, you’ll also install the drain stopper and plunger if your kit is so equipped.
Tip: If you’re sensing a theme of Follow the Instructions, it’s because every faucet and most vanities will have slight differences for the step-by-step. It’s so important to read the instructions thoroughly!
1 1/4″ is the US standard for bathroom drains, and bathroom p trap kits are commonly available in either white PVC or chromed brass. While functionally identical, we prefer chrome units when we know the plumbing will be visible. We also added a chrome box flange (seen below left) to cover the drain stub out connection and provide a cleaner look.
The p trap may need trimming for a perfect fit, which is where a Dremel will come in handy! Once the p trap is connected and tightly fastened, grab a standby towel and open both supply lines. Next, flip the hot and cold faucet levers on and allow water to run for a few minutes, keeping an eye out for leaks at each connection point. If everything went smoothly and there are no visible leaks, perform one final check of all connections to make sure everything is tight. The new vanity installation is complete!
Projects like this can seem overwhelming the first time, but with proper planning and a thorough review of each set of instructions (1| the vanity itself, 2| the faucet kit and 3| the p trap kit), a feels-like-new bathroom can be accomplished in an afternoon. If there are questions or you have tips to share, please let us know in the comments below!