Bathroom pedestal sinks are the type of sink that rest on a separate piece of porcelain that acts as a leg to help hold it in place. The pedestal is also used to hide the water supply lines and drainage pipes.
Pedestal sinks are the right choice for smaller bathrooms with limited space, or older homes that are decorated in a classic or historic theme.
While pedestal sinks will allow easier access to your plumbing if there is ever an issue, there is one downside. Because of their design, they do not allow for a lot of counter space, nor any area for storage in cabinets underneath. For that reason, most home owners opt to place pedestal sinks in half bathrooms or powder rooms where lots of storage is not needed.
However, if space is not an issue in your bathroom and you like the look and these types of sinks, you certainly can address the lack of built-in storage with separate shelving and cabinets for towels and toiletries.
Pedestal sinks are typically sold in two separate pieces, the sink and the pedestal. Keep that in mind when looking in stores or online so that you understand the price you see may only be for one piece. Rarely are they ever sold or boxed together since they are on the heavy side.
Removing an old sink and vanity and replacing it with a new pedestal sink will take most people a day to finish up assuming you do not have to do any new plumbing. The cost for this project can range anywhere from $200 to $500 and up depending on the type of sink you select.
Typically the only tools that you will require to complete this project are a basin wrench, channel pliers, a putty knife, a screwdriver, a hacksaw and caulking gun.
Before you go to the home improvement store to purchase a sink, take measurements of the height of any existing structures (if any) on the wall, such as any recessed shelves or tooth brush or soap holders in the wall. Because the parts are heavy and sometimes awkward to handle when sitting in place, you will more than likely need someone to help you install the sink and pedestal.
Removing the Old Sink and Vanity
Removing an old sink and vanity can either go easy or much harder depending on what you have to deal with and how tight of a space you have to work in. More than likely you will have to literally dive into a vanity to remove the drain and water supply lines and disconnect the trap. At this stage, a good pair of channel pliers will come in handy.
- Loosen the nut at the top of the trap under the drain.
- Loosen the nuts on the supply lines.
- Stuff a rag in the drain pipe coming from the wall to prevent sewer gas from entering your home.
- Check to see if there is any old caulk sealing any gaps between the sink or vanity and the wall. If so, use a putty knife to break the seal.
- Now that all of the drain and supply lines are disconnected, you can lift the sink out of the vanity which will make the vanity lighter when it is time to move it away from the wall. It also gives you access to the wall from the top where it may be easier to loosen bolts securing it to the bathroom wall.
- With the sink out of the way, look for any bolts used to secure the vanity to the wall studs or a runner board that is attached to wall studs.
- There should be nothing else holding the vanity in place. With a helper, carefully pull it out making sure you do not damage the wall. Set it aside in the garage.
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Prepping the Area for the New Pedestal Sink
Most bathrooms have tiled floors and walls, however if you are dealing with a half bath or powder room, you may have to repair drywall behind the vanity before proceeding. Inspect the wall for any imperfections and repair as needed. This step is particularly important since a pedestal sink and stand will expose much more area of the wall than the vanity you removed. You will probably have to repair, sand, prime and paint the drywall.
If you have tiled walls, the prep will go much faster unless you broke or chipped any tiles while removing the old assembly. If that is the case, you will need to chisel out the grout from the broken or chipped tile, break it, then remove the pieces from the wall and replace.
The most difficult part of repairing either of these types of walls will probably be finding the paint to match the existing wall, or finding an extra piece of tile that matches. However, if that portion of the wall is going to be exposed, you must address this now.
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Attaching the Wall Bracket for the Sink
Pedestal sinks have two methods of support. The sink itself attaches to a wall bracket, then rest on the porcelain pedestal. However, the main support will come from the wall bracket so it is crucial that you get this part right. Wall brackets must be supported by wall studs. This can be difficult considering that pedestal sinks must be centered over the existing drain pipe so it can be hidden. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the proper height for the sink and installation of the bracket.
- Measure up from the floor and hold the bracket in place where it should go. Mark that hole through the bracket. Precisely locating these holes is important, however, the assembly does allow for some adjustments once it is in place.
- If you are installing into drywall and studs and the holes do not match up, you need to install a thin piece of wood horizontally that attaches to the studs, then attach the bracket to the horizontal board.
- If you are installing the bracket into a tiles wall, drill through it with a masonry bit on a power drill. Insert toggle bolts.
- Using the screws provided with the wall bracket, attach it to the wall through the holes in either the tile or the wood cross board. Put the bracket as high in the holes as possible, then tighten in place.
- Position the pedestal over the drain pipe. The manufacturer will recommend the proper distance from the wall.
- Lower the sink onto the pedestal so that it hooks into the wall bracket.
- There are holes in the pedestal that will secure it to the floor. Mark the floor through those holes.
- Mark the wall through the anchor holes in the back of the sink basin.
- Now remove the sink and pedestal and tighten the screws.
- Drill another two holes through the other holes in the bracket and install toggle bolts (if necessary).
Installing the Sink and Pedestal
- Put Teflon tape around the bottom of the drain tail piece and the water supply lines. Be sure to purchase the appropriate length of supply lines to minimize the unused amount connecting the wall to the sink.
- Insert the tailpiece of the sink into the drain hole then thread on the flange from the top.
- If the sink comes with a pop-up drain, now is the time to assemble it as directed by the manufacturer.
- Attach the trap to the tailpiece coming from the bottom of the sink.
- Set the pedestal in place and position the sink basin on the pedestal against the wall, slowly lowering it onto the wall bracket hooks.
- Drive screws by hand through the holes on the back of the basin. Be careful not to over-tighten or the porcelain may crack.
- Wrap Teflon tape around the shutoff valves and connect the water supply lines.
- Turn on the water supply and open the faucet to run water into the drain while you check for leaks.
- Finally, apply silicone caulk around the base of the pedestal and the edge of the sink touching the wall.
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If everything went as planned, you should be finished in less than a day. If it is your first time installing a sink of this type, go slowly and follow the instructions above carefully. This particular project requires no special plumbing skills provided you do not have to relocate the water supply and drain to another area. In that case, call a plumber because that is a difficult job.
However, you should be able to create the look you want with a minimal amount of effort and money by doing this yourself. Use the money you saved to buy some shelving to store hand towels or larger items out of the way as sink space will be limited.