Small bath vanity, sink and faucet. New Vanity, Sink, Faucet:

Part 1 - Installing A Small Bath
Vanity And Sink

In This Article: Related Articles:
Skill Level: 3 (Moderate) Time Taken: 1.5 Hours

By , Editor

Installing The Vanity:

24" wide cherry vanity before installation. The 24" wide vanity as it came from the store.

The location for the vanity. There is a drain pipe, hot and cold water supply pipes, a hot water return pipe (for a future hot water recirculation system) and a return air duct. We installed an extra outlet, seen on the wall above the pipes, to possibly power a hot water recirculation pump, at some time in the future. 

When doing a project ourselves, adding an extra outlet costs almost nothing. There are some special intermittently-run pumps available that allow the homeowner to quickly summon hot water, without running water down the drain. With a mind towards resource conservation, we decided to prepare now.

Return air register cut into vanity side panel. Since the only practical location for the heating system's return air duct was underneath the vanity, we cut a hole in the side and installed a 4 x 10" floor register.

We had to drill holes in each end, so we could screw it in place. We also spray painted this unit with a brass-colored paint. It was originally plain white.


The pipes had been capped off during the rough plumbing installation. We turned off the water supply and cut the tubing just below the cap. Cutting off capped ends of water supply pipes before installing vanity.


Unfortunately, we did not leave long enough pipes in the first place. All of these pipes had to be extended later.

Notice the white drain pipe is gone. When the drain plumbing was installed, this piece was intentionally not cemented in place, to make this job easier.


We cut the necessary holes in the cabinet. No matter how hard we try, we are never able to foresee all the possible problems, as you shall soon see.


We set the vanity and top in place, just for kicks.

You can see the little problem in this picture... but do you think we caught on? Heck no !

The problem is... the vanity top is not centered on the vanity. These "cultured marble" sink/tops are made one inch longer than the standard vanity sizes. That means the vanity must be at least 1/2" away from the wall, or the top will look a little odd.

Our solution was to sand down the left-hand edge of the sink/top, which turned out to be pretty easy.

We used a stud finder to locate the framing, and them drove a couple of 3-1/2" long cabinet mounting screws to hold the vanity in place.

Why such long screws? The vanity back rail is 3/4" thick. The drywall is 1/2" thick. There is 3/4" foam behind the drywall. That's 2" of material before the framing is reached. The screws must penetrate at least 1" into the studs. Ideally, we should have used 3" screws, but we only had 2-1/2" and 3-1/2" cabinet mounting screws.

There is a risk, however, that we could cut a wire with our longer-than-necessary screws. This is one reason why wiring must always be run through the absolute center of the stud... it minimizes the risk of a nail or screw reaching it.

We had to add a few shims to make the cabinet level.


Supply and Drain Plumbing:

We soldered short pieces of 1/2" copper pipe to the stubs. Then we installed the shut-off valves, also called stop valves

There at least 3 types of stop valves, with different types of connection methods. We chose valves with compression fittings, which are very reliable as long as they are not over-tightened.

The other two valve types are Iron Pipe thread (tapered pipe thread) and solder-type.

We tested the fit of the drain pipes, just for kicks.


Prepare To Say Oops!

Now pay attention and learn from our mistakes:

We used clear silicone to seal the drain fitting to the sink. Silicone works better than plumber's putty, in our opinion. But for a lavatory sink, there is a problem, which we'll explain in Part 2.


Note the holes in the drain tail piece (right next to my thumb). They are of no consequence, this time. 

If a sink has an overflow drain, the extra water gets into the main drain via these holes.


But first, another little problem. The sink had tapered gaps at the side and back. The house framing was out-of-square.


So we took the sink/top outside and sanded the edges down with a portable belt sander. This took about 10 minutes.

By sanding down the edge of the cultured marble top we were able to solve two problems: The non-square corner and the need to lop off the left-hand overhang.


Next, we set the sink on a pair of small step ladders, so we could access the back.

The drain tailpiece had been installed the previous evening, and the silicone had dried completely, which actually became a small problem.


Installing The Lavatory Faucet:

The Moen 84200 faucet has a plastic gasket that seals the body to the countertop. This piece simply sits on the surface.


And then the faucet body is set on top. Installing Moen bath faucet.


From below, two large plastic nuts are threaded on to the pipe stems.

This is much easier when the sink/top is not yet mounted to the vanity.


We put a little pipe thread compound on the connections... 

...And then attached the supply hoses. Again, this is so much easier when you don't have to crawl inside a cabinet.


Gluing The Sink/Top To The Vanity:

We ran a bead of Liquid Nails around the top edge of the vanity.

We don't really like any of these construction adhesives, and we don't often recommend them. But this is one place where we use them.

Applying construction adhesive before setting sink top in place.


The sink/top was set in place. The glue dries faster if the top is picked up for a few seconds and then set down again. (It seems the glue begins to dry rapidly as the stringy strands are exposed to air. Afterwards it holds well and won't let go.)

Continue To Part 2 - Plumbing Connections


Tools Used:

  • Cordless Drill/Driver
  • Electric Drill
  • Spade Bits & Hole Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Stud Finder
  • Small Level
  • Caulk Gun


Materials Used:

  • Vanity, 24"
  • Cultured Marble Sink/Top
  • Faucet
  • Liquid Nails
  • Silicone


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Copyright 2000, 2005

Written August 9, 2000
Revised January 3, 2005