Introduction: DIY Bathroom Remodel // How to Install a Toilet & Vanity, Build a Mirror Frame
In this week's video, I remodeled our guest bathroom! I'll show you how to install a toilet and vanity, build a Walnut frame for a mirror, and more!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Step 2: Prepping the Room
The first step with the bathroom remodel was to remove everything from the bathroom. To remove the vanity, I first scored all of the caulk seams around the edges of the vanity, then removed the two screws that were holding the vanity to the wall.
Once the screws were removed, I could pull back on the vanity and slide it back a few inches. Unfortunately, the drywall paper tore a little bit because I didn’t score the caulk well enough, but luckily that was an easy fix later.
Next, I detached the water lines from the faucet, and it’s helpful to turn the water off before doing this. I also unscrewed the nut that held the p-trap in place, and then I could completely remove the vanity from the bathroom.
The toilet was next on the removal list, and it was super simple. First, I turned off the water then held down the flush handle to drain most of the water from the tank.
Next, I removed the caps over the bolts that held the toilet to the floor, then removed the nuts and washers. With those removed, I could lift the toilet off of the wax seal and slide it back. It would have been helpful to have a bucket to set the toilet on, as there will be some water that leaks out.
Step 3: Room Prep (continued)
Next on the list was the vanity light, which was easy enough to remove. Make sure to pay attention to your wiring here though, as I just removed all of the wire nuts without thinking, and a few of them needed to stay put based on how this light was wired.
Also, I thought I had turned off the power in this room but evidently my panel is mislabeled, and as you can see the breaker tripped when I removed the metal vanity frame.
Before my painters came, I needed to patch the drywall where I had torn the paper. Off camera, I removed all of the loose paper and then used a sanding block to remove any loose pieces of debris from the wall.
Next, I used some wall repair compound to cover any exposed paper, applying it with a plastic joint knife. After letting it dry for a few hours, I sanded the compound smooth with a sanding block and reapplied compound to any areas that needed it.
The last thing to do before the painters came was to remove the towel bars and mirror, both of which would be getting replaced, so I wanted to make sure all of the holes were patched before painting.
Step 4: Mirror Upgrade
While the painters worked, I could work on sprucing up that plain, builder grade mirror. To do this, I decided to build a simple frame for the mirror from some Walnut.
First, I cut the Walnut to rough length, about 39”, at the miter saw, and then ripped the boards into 2 1/4” strips at the table saw.
Next, I could cut a ¾” wide by ¼” deep rabbet onto one edge of each of the strips. I was lazy and used my regular table saw blade for this, but a dado stack would have been ideal.
After cutting the rabbet with the regular blade, I was left with some small slivers of leftover wood, and I cleaned those up with a chisel and shoulder plane. There is something extremely satisfying about smoothing out these rabbets with the shoulder plane, it’s one of those tools that doesn’t get a ton of use in my shop but is incredibly useful when I need it.
Once the rabbets were cleaned up, I could cut the miter on to each end of the boards at the miter saw. I made sure to set up my stop block so that all of the pieces were exactly the same length, and I also made sure the inside rabbeted area was big enough to house my mirror.
Miters are fairly weak joints without any reinforcement, so I added one Domino to each corner to both help with alignment and to add some strength. Biscuits, dowels, or splines would also work well here.
Step 5: Mirror Upgrade (Continued)
Assembly was simple, I added glue and one Domino to each corner and then clamped the frame with a strap clamp.
After letting the glue dry for a few hours, I sand the frame and then I could apply finish.
After the finish dried, I could attach the frame to the mirror. I used some 5 minute epoxy for this and purposely left some of the inside areas of the rabbets unfinished for better adhesion. After adding the epoxy and dropping in the mirror, I added some clamps in the areas with epoxy and let the epoxy cure for about an hour.
To make sure the mirror didn’t go anywhere, I added a few of these glass retaining clips just as an extra safety measure. The wall hanging kit I used spaces the mirror about ¼” off of the wall anyway, so these wouldn’t interfere.
Speaking of the wall hanging kit, I used this metal French cleat system I’ve used in the past to hang the mirror. It’s super simple and is rated up to 200 pounds, I’ll have a link to it in the video description if you want to check it out.
You’ll also notice the vanity light is already installed, because I needed to get an electrician friend to help me out since I undid all the wiring earlier when removing the other light, so I didn’t get that on camera.
Step 6: Vanity and Sink Install
Next, it was time to make room for the new vanity, which is a good bit wider than the previous one.
First, I needed to remove a section of the baseboard, which I did with an oscillating tool and this Trim Puller tool. I first cut the baseboard to length with the oscillating tool, then scored the caulk with a utility knife and finally pried away the baseboard with the Trim Puller.
Next, with the help of my buddy Bobo, I could move the incredibly heavy vanity into place. That marble is not light, let me tell you!
With the vanity fitting nicely, I could go ahead and install the faucets, which were super simple. I was wondering how I was going to tighten the nuts that hold the faucets in place in such a tight space, but these faucets came with these interesting nuts which have two screws running through them that help to tighten them without any kind of wrench. Pretty cool stuff.
Next, I could install the sink drain. The top flange installs with some silicone and is then tightened with the rest of the drain assembly underneath the sink.
Once the drain was in, I could install the stopper assembly, just following the instructions that came with the faucet.
Finally, I could hook up the water distribution lines and then have my buddy Nate come over to help with the actual plumbing. We needed some additional parts from the hardware store to connect the sink drain, so we moved on to installing the toilet.
Step 7: Toilet Install
A pro tip from Nate: Use plastic packaging from your new toilet to cover the wax ring while you remove it. This keeps your hands clean and makes for easy disposal! When installing a new wax seal, it's important to note that even though the directions tell you to install the ring on the toilet first, plumbers don't actually do this. It's much easier to install the ring on the flange at the floor to properly center and seat the toilet.
Next, install the bolts into the flange. It's imperative to center them on the ring and square them to the wall so that the toilet sits square.
To install the toilet, straddle the base and squat over it, then waddle over until you get it in place. Resting your forearms and elbows on your thighs, lower it in place, locating it with the bolts while feeling for the wax seal. Move side to side until you find the center, then square up the toilet against the wall.
Tighten the bolts, but not over-tight. You could pull the bolts through and break the flange.
Step 8: Final Plumbing
The ferrules on supply lines can become brittle and their failure can lead to flooding. You should always use plastic on plastic or brass on brass/copper. Using another combination will cause the sharp corner to dimple or cut the connection, blowing it open and allowing water to pour out. The supply line connections need only to be made snug. Hold the fill valve while installing the supply to the tank to keep it from turning and breaking its seal.
P-traps fill with water to trap sewer gases and keep them from coming out into the home. We hooked up this and the supply lines to the sink after sliding the vanity into place and securing it to the wall with screws. To connect the sink drain, place the nut on first, then the tapered ring facing away from the nut so that when you tighten the nut, it will squeeze the taper into the adjoining pipe, creating a tight seal. We checked our work by running some water. When that looked good we filled the basin up to the overflow. Draining the full basin is a good test since this is the maximum amount that the drain will take at once.
Once Nate left, I went ahead and added some caulk to the back edge of the vanity surface. I used some painter’s tape to cover up the areas where I didn’t want caulk, then applied a bead, spread it evenly with my finger, and removed the tape, leaving a perfect caulk line. This vanity did come with a back splash, but I prefer the look without it, and this bathroom won’t see a ton of use so I’m not worried about the wall getting too wet.
Next, I installed the shower head. First, I could remove the old shower head and pipe extension then install the extension nipple that came with the new shower head. This shower head assembly can be mounted to the wall in multiple ways, and I went with the adhesive option, so next I stuck the adhesive mount in place, using the shower head assembly to help with the placement.
As you can probably tell, this shower head unit isn’t really ideal for this type of shower configuration, so I’m going to end up returning this and replacing just the shower head, but I figured I’d show this in the video in case any of you might run into the same issue.
With the ridiculously tall shower head in place, I could re-install the curtain rod and then install the new shower curtain.
Next on the list were new towel bars and a toilet paper holder from Cascade Iron Co. This super clean, modern bathroom hardware really helped tie everything together and I’d definitely recommend you check them out if you need anything like this for your bathroom. I’ll have a link in the video description if you want to check them out.
The towel bars and hook installed with some included toggle bolts, and I installed the toilet paper holder with a few screws directly into the side of the vanity. And don’t worry, I’m going to go back and paint the screws and washers black to match the hardware.
The last piece of this remodel was replacing these ugly drop ceiling tiles with new replacement tiles from DecorativeCeilingTiles.net. I wish I could have done this install when the bathroom was empty but unfortunately the tiles didn’t arrive in time, but the process was still pretty simple.
These thin plastic tiles can either be installed with the existing tiles above the plastic tiles, or the old tiles can be removed completely. One place where I had to keep the old tiles in place was where the bathroom vent fan and air duct cover came through, as the plastic tiles don’t provide enough support for these items.
In case you’re interested in these tiles, I have a link here to the exact tiles I used, and I’m really amazed at how much of a difference a simple update like this can have on a room with drop ceilings.
Once the ceiling was installed, I could call this project done!