Replacing The Bathroom Sink – Part 1

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, we ran into some…complications while we were updating the half-bathroom downstairs.  All we really wanted to do was install a pedestal sink, but we ran into much more along the way.  The way I see it, we had two choices: 1) curse the day this house was built and leave the job for another day or 2) laugh, long and hard.  Lucky for me, I have an amazing wife who chooses the optimistic route, so we laughed and relearned the very important lesson that we can’t take renovation setbacks to seriously.  They will happen; you can’t stop them; so don’t worry about them.  All you can do is smile, adjust the plan, and keep moving.  (Thanks, darlin, for reminding me of that!)

On to the project- on our main floor, there is only one half-bathroom and no full bathroom, so it is a pretty important room.  The problem was that it isn’t a big room but had a fairly large vanity, making it feel rather cozy.



Lynne had the great idea to install a pedestal sink to open the room up, so we ordered a new sink and faucet online!  It’s important to note that sinks don’t usually come with faucets, so check the sink’s specs before purchasing to see if you need to buy the faucet separately.

When installing a new sink the first thing you gotta do is remove the old one.  In this case, it wasn’t too complicated: the top surface is a one piece porcelain sink, and the vanity is a do-it-yourself style (you will see what I mean below) wooden box.  Though I get specific as to our sink in this post, the same general rules would apply to removing any style sink: to uninstall a sink, generally you should do the reverse of installing it.  Let’s see what that means.

Start by cutting off the water going to the sink (the last step when installing a sink).  There should be two small supply lines leading from the floor or wall into the sink (one for hot water and one for cold), which you want to turn counterclockwise to shut off.  You can see our two valves below, which are a few inches above the floor.


Next, turn the sink handles to on to make sure 1) the valves are actually off and 2) any excess water is drained.  After that, we get to disconnect the supply lines, which typically will require an adjustable or regular wrench.  7/16″ wrench did the trick for us.


Once you disconnect the supply lines from both the sink and “house” side, you move on to the drain pipes and disconnect them.  This part can get messy because the drain pipes WILL have water in them because they are designed to.  Simply put a bucket or large bowl under the curved pipes (called a p-trap) to catch the water that spills.


Here we get to start playing with one of my favorite tools, channel locks!  This versatile tool is a good friend of plumbers everywhere and very useful for many home projects, but I digress.

Open the channel locks to accommodate the size of the pipes (in our case PVC), and disconnect the pipes from where they meet the old sink drain.


You could go a couple of ways from here depending on the install, but we chose to disconnect the drain from the floor, which I think is the safest way to go because this opens up the area and decreases the risk of you accidentally breaking the pipes during the rest of the project.

Now your sink is no longer connected to your house!  Let the real demolition begin 🙂

As it turned out, our sink wasn’t actually attached to the vanity at all; it just rested on top of the sides because the sink porcelain was the entire top surface.  You may not have this luxury, but fear not because sinks are generally attached to the vanity by caulk (which you can cut with a razor knife), screws (which you can unscrew), or mounting clips (which generally can be unscrewed by hand).


Once you have removed the sink’s attachment to the vanity, you can just remove it because the sink’s other attachments (supply lines and drain) are already gone!


From there, you just have to  dismantle the rest of the vanity.  In our case, it meant removing a few screws out of the back wall and a few more connecting the vanity walls.



If I made it sound really easy, that’s probably because stuff like this usually is.  Bathroom sinks (like most household items) come in many different shapes and sizes, but I try to think of uninstalling things as simply breaking them down into their smaller parts and then just removing the parts.  It seems less intimidating this way.

Here’s where it got interesting…

As it turned out, when the bathroom was last redone, the flooring (tile) was not actually installed under the vanity; instead, what we found was the “old” linoleum floor under there.  You can see the different color floor in about a 6″ deep by 3′ wide gap in the picture below.


Because we chose a pedestal sink, that part of the floor would be in plain sight, which is not good.  So we had to make a decision as to how to move forward.  And we decided we didn’t like the floor that much anyway 🙂  Putting in a new floor would certainly take more time and money, but it seemed better than getting a different sink that we weren’t in love with.

Ok, so we know we are going to put in a new floor, so what is the “right” way to do install our new floor?  We decided this meant to get the floor as level as we could by tearing up the tile and putting the new floor over the linoleum.  Let’s get to work 🙂

In the interest of full disclosure, I had never ripped up or put down a floor, so that journey began with research as to what type of floor to use.  We had a small room with budget and ease as the higher priority, since we didn’t plan on having to replace the floor in the first place; man did Lynne find a great one: we decided on a good-looking, vinyl sheet flooring (it comes on a roll) that does not require glue!!!  No mess, quick install, and it looks nice.  Winner!

With the floor we wanted to get, we decided that having a flat surface on which to put the floor was key; this meant removing the tile to expose the laminate below.  Let the demo’ begin…again…

Removing the tile floor proved a little tricky with each tile being glued down, so after a few less-than-ideal removal methods, I figured out that hammering a “6-in-1” painter’s tool under each tile and pulling up got the most bang for the buck.

photo (10)


Along the way, I discovered that, unfortunately, installing the floor would really go better if the toilet weren’t in the way.  So, wanting to do it the right way, I uninstalled the toilet and finished removing the tile underneath it.

And voila!


A nice, fresh start to our newly upgraded bathroom.

Since the whole thing up to this point took about 4 hours, we decided to leave the rest for another day… I’ll share more with you tomorrow!


5 thoughts on “Replacing The Bathroom Sink – Part 1”

  1. Pingback: Replacing the Bathroom Sink- Part 2 | A Farmhouse Reborn

  2. So was the floor level once you took it down to the laminate! If not, how did you make it level before installing the new flooring?

  3. So was the floor level once you took it down to the laminate? If not, how did you make it level before installing the new flooring?

    1. Well, the floor would have been horrible uneven had we left it in tact! During some prior renovations, we discovered that the previous owners (among other things) used a card table as sub flooring in the bathroom that occupied that space. See
      Also, if you look closely in the second picture down in that blog post, you can see that there is a mysterious 2×4 nailed into one of the joists… That’s there because the previous owners (no joke) sawed COMPLETELY THROUGH the joist to run a drain line and tried to “mend” the joist with a 2×4.
      Since we have tried to take the “do it once, do it right” approach, we just ripped up the floor and re-joisted (if that’s a word!) that entire area to be safe.

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