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Install a Bathroom Vanity and Sink

A worn-out sink and vanity can really be a sore thumb. You’ll be glad to know replacing them is probably easier than you think.

Tools & Materials

Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Buying a New Vanity and Sink

For the easiest installation buy a new vanity and sink that are the same sizes as the old ones. Of course you can always measure your space and find a sink and vanity that will fit.

Remove the Old Vanity and Sink

Step 1

Turn off the water supply. The valves are typically under the sink. If not, turn off the water at the main valve. Then turn on the faucet to relieve any water pressure left in the lines.

Step 2

Loosen the slip nut at the top of the P-trap. Remove the entire trap if necessary. Have a small bucket ready to catch any water left in the trap.

Step 3

Disconnect the water supply lines. You might need a wrench to loosen them. Again, use a bucket to catch any water left in the lines.

Step 4

Cut the sealant along the backsplash with a utility knife. Then tug on the sink top to free it from the wall.

Step 5

Remove the sink top from the vanity base. Some tops are held on with screws and some are glued to the base. If yours is glued, use a hammer and chisel to separate it from the base. Try using the chisel on the inside if you’re going to reuse your sink or vanity.

Step 6

To remove the vanity, take out the screws at the back of the base and pull the vanity out.

Good to Know

If you're rerouting your plumbing, painting your walls, or installing wall tile, now is the perfect time to do it.

Install the New Vanity

Step 1

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for specific steps. Typical installations start with marking the outline of the new vanity on the wall. Mark the height in three different locations. Mark the width too.

Step 2

Use a stud finder to locate and mark any wall studs within the outlined area.

Step 3

Most vanities have open backs. If yours doesn't, you’ll need to cut holes for the plumbing. Measure the distance from the outline on the wall to the pipes.

Transfer those measurements onto the new vanity back and cut the holes with a hole saw. 

 

Good to Know

For ease of installation, make the holes a little bigger than the plumbing pipe's width.

Step 4

Sometimes it’s easier to install the vanity if you remove the doors and drawers first. Just follow the manufacturer’s direction on how to remove them.

Step 5

Set the vanity in place, lined up with the marks on the wall. Check that it’s level front-to-back and side-to-side. Make adjustments with the adjustable feet on the bottom. If your vanity doesn’t have adjustable feet, use shims. Slide them under the base and cut to fit with a utility knife.

Step 6

Drill a pilot hole through the vanity back into a stud. For a tile wall, first use a tile bit. Once you’re through the tile, use a wood bit to drill into the stud. For holes that are not in line with studs, use wall anchors made for your wall type — drywall, plaster, or tile. Secure the cabinet with screws.

Install the Sink

Step 1

Assemble the faucet and drain on the sink before you install it on the vanity. To see the steps, check out our How to Install a Bathroom Faucet video.

Step 2

Add a thin bead of silicone adhesive to the rim of the sink opening in the vanity. Try not to get it on the face of the cabinet.

Step 3

With the help of another person, carefully set the sink top on the vanity, making sure the plumbing is lined up. Let the adhesive cure.

Step 4

Once the adhesive has cured, reconnect the drain. If the tailpiece is too long, cut it with a hacksaw. If it’s not long enough, you can find plumbing kits at Lowe’s with extension pieces to reconnect your drain.

Step 5

Reconnect the water supply lines.

If you have old, faulty water supply valves, you’ll need to replace them. First, turn off the water at the main house valve.

For galvanized steel pipes, hold the pipe with a pipe wrench and use a wrench to unscrew the old valve. Clean the pipe threads, then wrap them with plumber’s tape. To install the new valve, hold the pipe steady with a pipe wrench and tighten the valve into place.

You have several options for replacing fittings on copper and brass pipes. To replace a compression fitting, hold the valve in place with a wrench. With another wrench, unscrew the compression nut. To install a new compression fitting, first clean the pipe. Then slide on the new compression nut and brass ferrule. Apply a little pipe joint compound on the ferrule, position the valve on the pipe and secure it with the compression nut.

A newer type of valve similar to a compression fitting uses special teeth to lock onto the pipe and a rubber ring to create a seal. To install it, clean the pipe, and then simply push the valve onto the pipe.

For pipes with soldered valves, heat the junction with a propane torch to melt the solder and remove the valve. To avoid burns, use pliers to remove the hot valve. Be careful to keep the heat away from the wall and other flammable objects. A heat shield is helpful for this type of project. Next, clean up the pipe and attach the new valve with solder.

Once your new valves are installed, turn on the water and check for leaks. Then attach the supply lines to the new valves.

Step 6

Apply a bead of bathroom caulk along the back edge of the sink. Clean up any excess.

Step 7

Turn on the water to test for leaks and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 8

Reattach the vanity doors and drawers to finish the installation.