Bathrooms are a significant selling point in a home. Whether you’re buying, selling, or building your home, a modern bathroom is an attractive feature. For most people, the bathroom is the first room they enter after getting out of bed and the last one they enter before going to bed.
Many people see the bathroom as simply a utilitarian space. However, it can be a beautiful, calming retreat with the right fixtures. We could spend all day talking about various bathroom fixtures, but let’s focus on the vanity. Specifically, let’s talk about a freestanding vanity and how to install one in your bathroom.
What Is A Freestanding Bathroom Vanity?
First, let’s be clear. Freestanding vanity is a bit of a misnomer. They technically don’t stand without being anchored. However, a freestanding vanity is a vanity that sits on the floor and supports the majority of its own weight.
It’s vital to secure these vanities because if you lean on one that hasn’t been secured, it could shift, causing plumbing damage. Besides the plumbing issues, you or someone else could get hurt if your vanity moves or topples under your weight.
Related: Bathroom Hacks Everyone Should Know
What are the Pros and Cons of a Freestanding Vanity?
Like other plumbing fixtures, Freestanding vanities have their own pros and cons. Let’s look at some of those.
- Many manufacturers make them
- Various styles, designs, and options to choose from
- Don’t rely on countertops for structural integrity
- Come in standard sizes
- Built-in storage space
- Typically easier to install than other styles
- Make it harder to clean bathroom floors
- Can feel bulky or make your room seem smaller
- Could have to change plumbing or flooring if you change vanity sizes
What Are the Benefits of Choosing A Freestanding Vanity?
Freestanding vanities are a versatile choice that gives you room to express your design taste. They come in standard sizes, but they are available in several styles and colors. You can choose a small, minimally decorated type or a more ornate larger piece to fit your style. Either way, you’ll likely spend less than you would on wall-mounted models.
In a small space, a freestanding vanity can give the illusion of more room. Many freestanding vanities offer storage in the form of closed doors or drawers. The pieces often have the look of furniture, or can be made from furniture, so you can use them to extend the style of your home into the bathroom.
How to Choose A Freestanding Vanity and Where to Find One
Choose the kind of countertop that works with your design style. You need to determine if you want one with a built-in countertop or if it has a faucet included. There are a variety of types of vanities available, so choosing the right one can be a bit of a challenge.
When choosing your new vanity, make sure you accurately measure the space. You can sometimes get away with going smaller, but you might not be able to get a bigger unit into your room without a major overhaul.
How Do You Install A Freestanding Bathroom Vanity?
If you’ve decided to replace your bathroom vanity, or if you’re building your home and want to install your own vanity to save cost, you may need a little guidance to get you started. Bathroom vanity installation can be a do-it-yourself project with the right tools and a few tips to get you started. It’s not difficult to do, but it isn’t necessarily easy either. While that sounds contradictory, anyone who has attempted a plumbing project will understand.
It’s best to carve out plenty of time for the project. Installing a new vanity is not an after work on Wednesday night kind of project unless you are confident you have all of the necessary tools and there will be no issues. One good idea is always to expect issues because you’ll run into something unexpected if you don’t.
Whether you’re an old hat at plumbing or this is your first attempt, you will need to gather a few tools to complete the job. The first tool you will need is a measuring tape. You will need to accurately measure the space for the new vanity before you purchase it. Keep the tape handy because you will need it again to measure for plumbing installation.
Other tools you will need are:
- A stud finder
- A level
- Adjustable wrenches
- Pliers—preferably slip joint pliers
- Shims for leveling the vanity
- A hole saw
- A power drill
- Caulk and caulking gun
- A utility knife
- A pencil
- A flashlight
- Depending on your plumbing, you could need plumber’s tape or glue
Now that you’ve gathered your tools, you’re ready to start. The first step is to turn off the water going to the vanity. If your sink doesn’t have a cutoff valve, you will need to turn off the water supply going to the house. This step will save you from having a large water mess during the process. After shutting off the water supply, disconnect the plumbing from the old vanity.
Once the plumbing is disconnected, start disassembling your old vanity for removal. You remove the sink first, followed by the vanity top. Using your utility knife, separate the old vanity top from the wall by cutting away the old caulk. Once the caulk has been removed, you can lift the vanity top from the cabinet.
Next, remove the old cabinetry. Once you’ve done that, it’s best to clean the area where it sat. This is also the time to patch any problem spots in the wall or flooring.
The next step is prepping the new vanity. If it has a back on it, this is the time to cut the holes for the plumbing. This is also the time to prepare shims to level the cabinet if necessary. Use your pencil to mark the wall where the new vanity should be and set it in place, securing it to the wall with screws.
Once you have your vanity securely installed, attach the vanity top. Start by caulking around the top of the base to eliminate any gaps where the top might not meet the base perfectly. Install your sink and faucets after you place your vanity top and have it secured. Typically, faucets have installation instructions to help you correctly connect them.
Connect your plumbing next. If you had to glue pipes, be sure to allow them adequate drying time before turning on the water. After everything is connected, caulk around the backsplash and smooth the bead of caulk with a damp cloth or your finger. Turn on the water, and you’re finished.
Installing a new free standing vanity isn’t a complicated process, but it can be time-consuming. Following the steps precisely will make the process go more smoothly.