Kendall "aka Renos"

Founder, Lead Instructor of Bathroom Update Guide &  Renos 4 Pros and Joes

I remember working on my very first bathroom remodel. As part of the renovation project, we were installing tile flooring as well as plumbing fixtures and a new bathroom vanity. As time got closer to install the bathroom vanity I remember asking myself “ Will a plumber install a vanity?



Yes, some plumbers will install bathroom vanities if the installation is straightforward and does not involve any carpentry work. However, plumbers are more commonly hired to connect the water supply lines and drain lines to a vanity faucet and sink after the vanity cabinet has already been installed. In most cases, plumbers are not asked to replace or install the new vanity. Installing a bathroom vanity may require skills that are outside of the plumber’s area of expertise as well as specialized tools. Most bathroom vanity installations will require some carpentry work and most plumbers are not set up to handle that part of the project. 


On bathroom renovation projects the plumber is called in once the general contractor has all of the plumbing locations ready for the installation of the fixtures. This means that all tile installation (or other building material) is complete on floors, walls, and tub and shower enclosures.  And at this time the vanity cabinets and countertops have already been installed. 


If the floors are not level, then one side of the vanity may have to be leveled using shims. In other scenarios, the existing baseboards and wood moldings may have to be cut or trimmed in order to accommodate the new vanity. Plumbers often do not have this expertise, don’t carry the tools to do it, and three would prefer not to do that part. 

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As a matter of fact, most plumbers charge a fee based on the number of fixtures to be installed on the project. This is a straightforward way for them to charge. Its also relatively easy for them to estimate how much time each task will take because its what they do every day.


When you start trying to get a plumber to do carpentry work, you may get varying results. Remember that its not just about knowing what to do, but its also about having the right tools, and the ability to execute. Generally speaking, finish carpentry requires a higher level of precision skill and craftsmanship than setting plumbing fixtures. 


It may sound bad to say, but when we close our eyes and envision a plumber, a person may come to mind with big heavy boots on, and he/she may be covered in dust or dirt, etc. Now, while this is not always 100%  accurate, you do have to ask yourself who you would prefer to do the job. Finish carpenters and cabinet installers are finishers and they are typically going to be more mindful of keeping the jobsite and themselves clean. 

how to remove a bathroom vanity with floor plumbing

Plumbing supply lines, also known as rough plumbing, are usually run to the vanity location from one of two directions. Either the plumbing comes through the wall that is located directly behind the vanity, or in other occasions, its run through the floor and into the bottom of the cabinet. Often supply lines are run through the floor instead of through a wall in order to avoid installing plumbing in an exterior wall. Exterior walls are exposed to more changes in temperature than interior walls. The main concern with placing plumbing in exterior walls is the risk of the water supply lines freezing and bursting. 

If you are planning to discard or throw away the existing vanity after it is removed, then you have a little more flexibility with removing the old one. You’re main goal as you remove the old vanity is not to damage the existing supply lines that are running through the bottom of the cabinet.


Depending on your level of comfort, you have the option of turning off the water to the property before you begin removing the fixture. This is the safest way to do it, especially if you have limited to no experience in performing this type of plumbing task. 


Even if you decide to leave the water the property one, you should at least take the time to locate where the shutoff valve is to the property. This is valuable information to have because in the event that a plumbing line breaks, every second counts, and you want to know exactly where to go to turn off the water. 


 Before actually moving the vanity, you should turn the water shutoff valves to the off position and disconnect the hoses that run from the shutoff to the faucet. Also remember to disconnect the plumbing drain line.


You can use a saw such as a reciprocating saw, or oscillating saw to cut the area out around the locations in the base of the cabinet where the water lines come through. Just be sure not to nick the plumbing lines. You should also make sure that you cut the hole large enough for the water shutoff valve handles can fit through them. Once you cut your holes, you simply lift the old vanity up over the holes. 


For most vanity countertops are glued onto the vanity cabinet. In most cases you can gently pull the countertop away from the vanity. Separating the two components will make it easier to control the vanity once its time to move its. Also look on the inside of the vanity cabinet for any screws or nails tha may be holding the vanity fixed to the wall. Remove these fasteners with a screwdriver or a hammer before moving the vanity. 


Once everything is turned off and disconnected inside of the existing vanity cabinet and you’ve cut the holes in the base, you are ready to raise the vanity cabinet straight up and over the supply lines and shutoff valves. Be careful not to bump the supply lines as you raise the cabinet. If in doubt, find a second set of hands to help you raise the cabinet and to ensure that you dont damage the water supply lines. 


Now if you are planning to keep the existing bathroom vanity, then more care must be taken with out the base is removed. In this instance, you will need to turn off the water supply to the bathroom, so that you can remove the shutoff valves completely. This will allow you to slip the vanity over the supply lines without having to work around the shutoff valves. Now if you are going to immediately install a new vanity during this same work period, then go ahead and begin install the new vanity.However, if you have other tasks that must be completed as part of the project, such as flooring, and the vanity will be installed some time later, then the plumbing supply lines will need to be capped. Capping the waterlines ca be done regardless of wheter your plumbing lines are copper, cpvc, pex, etc. After the lines are capped, the water can be turned back on. Test for leaks at the newly installed caps. Once you confirm that everything is dry, you can leave the line capped untl you are ready to connec the vanity faucet and sink. By this time the vanity should have already been installed.   

is replacing a bathroom vanity hard


Replacing a bathroom vanity can be relatively straightforward if you have the right basic tools and a basic understanding of what to do. 


The factors that can make a bathroom vanity replacement or installation more difficult are dependent on the present conditions of a specific bathroom.


Replacing a bathroom vanity frequently involves carpentry, plumbing and demolition skills in order to complete the task. There are varying levels of each skill set that may be required.


Lets start with the demolition. Assuming that you are replacing a bathroom vanity, the existing vanity must be removed before a new one can be installed. Most bath vanities are comprised of a vanity faucet, a counterop and sink, and a vanity cabinet, and as well as any miscellenaus hardware including doorknobs and draw pulls. 


Extreme care must be taken while removing the existing vanity to ensure that you dont damage the rough plumbing, which is usually reused. Care must also be taken when removing the countertop. Vanity tops are ofen glued to the wall behind them, and or glued to the vanity. Depending on you plans for the existing vanity, it may be easier and faster to take it apart instead of trying to remove each piece in a way that can be reused. But it will really depend on your overall goals. Even if you are not planning to salvage the exisitng vanity, care should still be taken to remove it from its current location without causing any unnecessary damage to walls, floors, plumbing, etc. 

who can replace bathroom vanity


The person best suited to replace a vanity depends on the overall project. If the only work that you are doing in the bathroom is replacing a bathroom vanity, then a handyman or  a small general contractor may be the best fit for the project. If you are replacing the bathroom vanity as part of a large project, such as a complete bathroom remodel, then it may still make sense to use a general contractor/ The GC will oversee the tile work, and make sure that the floors are correctly installed. Then they will make sure that the carpenter installs the vanity cabinet correctly. Next the GC oversees the installation of the countertop. And finally the GC, ensures that the plumber correctly installs the new faucet(s) and drain(s), hoses, and shutoffs. 


With all this said, you may be able to find a plumber that is crossed trained and can do the entire install, just be sure to confirm all of this upfront. If you can find one person do everything, ths option will usually save you the most time and usually money. But you also have to be concerned with the plumbing work being done correctly and the vanity install being done correctly, as well as making sure that the completed project is pleasing to the eye. 

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