Advice from Hank – Installing a Bathroom Vanity, Sink and Faucet

With the cold weather upon us, you may want to tackle those indoor remodeling projects. Installing a new bathroom vanity, sink and faucet is an easy way to give your bathrooms a fresh look. This project won’t put your bathroom out of commission for too long either.

Before you get started, you will need these tools:Hank Ready to Install a Vanity

– Adjustable wrench
– 3″ drywall screws
– Pipe Wrench
– Tape measure
– Carpenter’s level
– Stud finder
– Shims
– Utility knife
– Hole saws
– Drill
– Caulking gun and caulk

Step 1: Find out how the old vanity is attached.

The first thing your need to do is get rid of the sink or vanity that’s already in your bathroom and get the space ready for your new vanity. Check under the vanity to see how it’s attached – probably with some screws through a rail on the back (often called a “nailer”), or in the corners. While your head is under the countertop, look to see how your countertop and sink are attached to the base. Again, there may be screws holding the top in place, or it may just be held in place with glue.

Removing your old vanity will be easier if you take off the top (it will be lighter). Finally use a utility knife and run the blade around the edge, cutting through any caulking holding the vanity edges to the walls or backsplash.

Step 2: Remove the Old Vanity

As in any plumbing project, turn off the water to your bathroom. Hopefully, this means closing the shut off valves on the water feed lines to the vanity, but in some cases it might mean you need to shut off the water to the whole house. You’ll need an adjustable wrench to disconnect the supply tubes from the faucet bases, and a pipe wrench to undo the drain. Special tip: It’s a good idea to have a bucket handy when you open the drain to catch the water that’s remaining in the trap.

Take off the doors and remove the drawers from the vanity. Now take out the screws holding the vanity to the wall, and if you’re going to take off the top, undo the screws holding it in place or use a pry bar to break it away from the base.

You should be able to slide the vanity out and away from the wall, but in some cases you may have to pry it away from the wall. If you do, use a thin scrap of wood to protect the wall from the pry bar. It’s a good idea to put down a thin sheet of plywood or even an old blanket to prevent gouging your floor when sliding the vanity.

Once you’ve removed the old vanity, inspect the area for any damage.

Step 3:  Measuring for the New Vanity

Measure the height and width of your new vanity. Determine where you want to position it and mark the edge locations with vertical lines. Now, measure and mark up from the floor in three places the height of your vanity. Use the highest mark and draw a level line through it, joining the two vertical lines.

Measure the locations of the water pipes and drain lines coming out of the wall and transfer those measurements onto the back of your vanity. Use a hole saw (at least 1/2″ larger than the pipes) and drill holes for your water lines. Cut the cutout for the drain with a larger hole saw or a saber saw.

Verify where at least one stud is in the wall behind your new vanity, measure and mark its location on the vanity nailer, and drill a pilot hole for the 3″ screw that will hold it in place.

Step 4: Installing the New Vanity

Make the vanity easier to move by taking out doors and drawers. This will minimize damage to the vanity and bathroom.

Protect your floors and move the vanity into position, then slide it into place with the water and drain pipes coming through the holes you cut in the back. Check that the cabinet is level (both side to side and front to back), and use shims to level it if necessary. Once the vanity is level, attach it to the wall using 3″ screws.

Step 5: Putting on the top and sink

Check your vanity to see if you need to install these components before putting it on the wall. Start by putting the faucet through the precut holes and hand tighten them. Now turn the vanity top over and use a wrench to firm them up. Attach flexible water supply lines to the base of the faucet and the tail pipe to the sink drain. Finally spread a bead of silicone caulk all around the edge of the countertop, then turn it over and position it on the vanity with the backsplash tight against the wall.

If you’re putting a separate sink into your new vanity, you will need to install the countertop first, then install the faucets to the sink, and finally put the sink into the countertop.

Step 6: Plumbing touch ups

Attach the flexible feed lines to the water supply valves and connect the sink tailpiece to the trap and drain. Run a small bead of caulk around the base of the faucet and where the vanity top butts against the backsplash, and then install moldings around the base of the vanity. After you check the seals, you can turn the water on and examine the faucet and vanity for leaks.

Shop at your local Hardware Hank to save.  #DIYToday

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Advice from Hank – Winter Myths

There are a few myths floating around about how to care for your car during the winter months. Below, we’ll discuss a few of them and give you the truth.

HAN_0010-shovelingCarrying sandbags in my trunk gives me much better traction during the winter.
Whether carrying sandbags really helps depends on what you drive. Older cars were front-heavy, and they had rear-wheel drive. In this case, it would make sense to have a few sandbags in your trunk to help you climb a snowy hill. However, most cars today are front- or all-wheel drive. They’ve even devloped more perfect weight distribution in big rear-wheel drive cars with better tires to improve traction. In this case, extra weight will only make it more challenging to control front-wheel drive cars in the winter. You may even over-steer on slippery surfaces. If you do want to add weight to a rear-wheel drive car or truck, add the weight as far forward as possible, so you’ll get the traction without the weight sitting so far back.

During my lunch break, I always run out to the parking lot to run my car for 10 minutes. I do that because I want to make sure it starts after work.
If a car starts in the morning after sitting in frigid cold temperatures all night, it should start after just eight hours in an office parking lot. However, if it doesn’t and you need to fire it up every four hours, check your plugs and get it running right. If you start a cold engine and just idle it for 10 minutes every day, you could dilute the oil with unburned fuel which could cause engine wear – and you’re needlessly burning expensive gasoline.

I’m really worried about my battery over the winter. It seems like batteries always die due to frigid temperatures. I know a few people who have had battery issues because cables came loose. 
Winter does challenge batteries for a couple reasons: (1) It’s more difficult to turn over an engine in cold weather because the oil has turned to molasses. So, it takes more current from the battery to get it going. (2) Moreover, the battery struggles to produce the extra current because it’s cold. Chemical reactions are slower at lower temperatures, so your battery is forced to work even harder to overcome the cold. Cables will loosen in the winter because it takes more current to start an engine. If the connection isn’t perfect, the clamps will heat up with more current pumping through them. Then, the connection will cool, and that heating and cooling creates a poor connection which could keep the battery from fully charging. With an uncharged battery, it’s more susceptible to freezing and damaging it internally. Aside from that, just watch your cable connection on your battery, and make sure they’re solidly attached. With that in mind, more cars won’t start on cold winter mornings, but more batteries fail in during the summer because the heat boils the battery dry.

My wiper squirters stopped working after a few days of intense snowfall. I thought they had frozen, but someone else told me the sediment in the tank clogged it.
If your washer nozzle froze, they would freeze almost immediately, not after a few days. Also, sediment would clog your nozzles all the time if that were the case, not just during winter snowfall. It’s probably snowmelt reflux. Most cars have a check valve in the washer-nozzle line to keep some fluid in the lines after washing the windshield. If the check valve malfunctions, the fluid will go back into the tank, so to speak. When the fluid goes back into the reservoir, it creates a suction and can bring melted snow or ice into the nozzle. Juse replace the check valve if your washer nozzles don’t seem to work correctly.

No matter how well I scrape them, my wiper blades always accumulate ice during extremely cold temperatures. I can even put the heat on high, and in the middle of my commute, the wipers start streaking greatly reducing visibility. I want to look into special wiper blades or a fluid additive to prevent this from happening. I’m not sure what to do.
Frigid cold weather can overpower the freezing point of washer fluid, which will turn it to slush on your windsheild. Just keep the windsheild as warm as possible. Turn up the defroster to the warmest setting at the highest fan speed. Fresh wiper blades could help too. You could also try cleaning the washer blades with a paper towel or treating the windshield with Rain-X because it’ll leave less washer fluid on the glass to freeze. Finally, if you’re desperate, put methyl alcohol in the fluid tank instead of washer fluid. Typically, washer fluid is 40 percent methyl alcohol and 60 percent water. Increasing the concentration of alcohol will bring down the freezing point. Visit your local hardware store for methyl alcohol. It’ll be in the paint department. Just get some and pour it into the the washer fluid tank.

With those tips in mind, we hope you find getting your car through a winter an easier proposition.  Find all your car needs at your local Hardware Hank, shop local.