Level of Difficulty: Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
Completion Time: Week-end Project

The bathroom has changed over the years from modest room to a multi-purpose area and installing a bathroom vanity allows more storage in a limited space. There are hundreds of different options of cabinets as well as sinks and hardware that can make this unit a one-of-a-kind show-piece for the bathroom area.

Installing a bathroom cabinet is a relatively easy project that any do-it-yourselfer will be able to accomplish. It can totally change the look of the room with only a few hours of work can be completed with a few simple tools and a spare weekend. Buying a bathroom vanity requires that that unit can fit into the space while making allowances for the other fixtures as well as the door swing. It is also important to check out the plumbing considerations.


  • Caulking gun
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Handsaw
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

  • Pry bar
  • Screwdriver
  • Spade bits or hole saw
  • Stud finder
  • Utility knife
  • Door template


  • Bathroom silicone
  • Bathroom cabinet
  • Countertop
  • Finishing nails

  • Finishing washers
  • Mouldings or quarter rounds
  • Screws
  • Shims

The bathroom cabinets mentioned here are called "face frame" cabinets. This means meaning they have a ¾" thick frame around the front of the cabinet box. (Frameless cabinets sometimes called European cabinets are box construction without the frame.) Bathroom cabinets should be made from solid woods such as maple, oak and cherry that can handle moisture and humidity or sealed composite products such as melamine.

Make a drawing of bathroom floor plan using graph paper. This will help keep the scale accurate. Mark out the room dimensions, toilet and bath/shower locations and window (if there is one) and door swing. Make sure the plumbing behind the walls is secure and there are not leaks. If the wall has been water damaged fix with new wall sheathing and paint.


Remove the old cabinet as well as the baseboard along the bottom of the wall. The cabinet is installed directly on the finished floor.
Paint and install flooring beforehand to make installation seamless and to avoid harming the cabinet afterward.
Unlike kitchen cabinets most bathroom cabinets have holes pre-drilled for door hinge and drawers.

When measuring keep in mind that vanities vary in sizes. The measurements given below are for information only.

1.1 Turn off water and electrical supply.

1.2 Find the location of the studs and trace vertical lines from floor to a few inches higher than the vanity using a level.

1.3 Determine and mark the location of the vanity taking into consideration that the plumbing coming from the wall should preferably be located at the center of the cabinet.

1.4 Remove doors on the vanity to prevent damage and to allow more room to work.

The vanity might require cutouts for the plumbing line that should be done before installing the cabinet.

2.1 Measure the exact location of the pipes.

2.2 Mark the size of openings on the cabinet.

2.3 Make the cutouts with a jigsaw or a hole saw.

Step 2
If flooring has been installed use a large sheet of cardboard to protect the floor from possible damage when moving the cabinet.

3.1 Move the cabinet into place using the marks on the wall and the openings made for the plumbing.

3.2 Make sure that it is plumb and level. Shim the cabinet in place along the stud marks.

Although the length varies according to the thickness of the cabinet, use 3" screws.

4.1 Drill 3/8" holes through the cabinet, the shims and into the studs near the top of the cabinet.

4.2 Anchor in place with a 3" screw with finishing washer/cup washer. Use a level and adjust as required.

4.3 For enhanced sturdiness add a second screw per stud at the bottom of the cabinet when it meets the wall plate.

Step 4
5.1 Apply a bead of caulking around the top of the cabinet.

5.2 Lay the countertop on the cabinet while sliding it against the wall and press firmly to solidify the joint. Let dry. For greater stability, a laminate countertop may be screwed down to the cabinet.

5.3 Reinstall the cabinet doors.

5.4 Place weights (books) on top of the countertop and remove when caulking has cured.

Step 5
6.1 Cut away any protruding shims with a utility knife without damaging the wall or floor.

6.2 Apply a bead of silicone between the countertop and the wall to seal against water.

6.3 Install a thin piece of moulding, such as a quarter-round, along the front and sides of the cabinet to hide a gap or to add decoration.

6.4 If a baseboard was removed before installation, it can be re-fitted using a handsaw to cut it to the required length. Use finishing nails to reinstall it along the wall on each side of the cabinet.

Caulk Vanity