How to Install a Wall-hung Vanity

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Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture

Intro: How to Install a Wall-hung Vanity

We bought a wall-hung vanity because we liked the look (the extra visible floor space makes the bathroom appear a little bigger) and because you can easily customize the height and store stuff in baskets hidden underneath. However, they require mounting directly into studs, and the chances of finding them in the right place in your wall are not good. I found zero. The instructions suggest you add blocking between the studs, but this would require removal of lots of drywall, fixing the supports in place and then patching up the mess, which is a real bear. Here's a simple and clean alternative, that has the added advantage that the screws go straight into wood and not through drywall first.

If your wall-hung vanity has a better hanging design, congratulations - you may not have to go to these lengths. I ordered ours online without any info on mounting.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You'll need a piece of lumber at least as long as the vanity (I used a 2×3 because I had one lying around, but a 2×4 would be fine), a cordless drill, deck screws, a saw (or table saw, or circular saw, or hand saw and chisel), and a drywall knife or saw. Screwdrivers to adjust the brackets. Obviously you need a wall-hung vanity, too. Note the instructions call for licensed professional installation, but I generally just regard such cautions as a challenge. As do you, or you wouldn't be reading this!

Step 2: Mark the Wall and Cut a Hole

You need to cut a horizontal hole exactly the same size as your piece of wood at the height of the clips on the back of the vanity (you will need to figure that height out yourself - it will depend on the exact model of your vanity and how high you want the top of your vanity to be). You can do the cutting with an Exacto knife if you're patient, or an oscillating tool if you're not. I'm not. I own an inexpensive oscillating tool and it makes any manner of demolition tasks way easier. Wish I'd bought one years ago. It took about two minutes to cut the hole.

Step 3: Mark the Studs (and Anything Else!) on the Wood

You're going to fill the hole you just created with the piece of wood you cut to length, but first you need to cut notches out to accommodate the studs and any plumbing/wires that might be behind the vanity. You want to cut the notches deep enough so the wood remaining is exactly the same thickness as the drywall. I did it with multiple passes on a table saw but a circular saw or handsaw and chisel would all work fine too. I made cutouts for 4 studs and a 4" vent. None of the studs were in the right place for the vanity, but annoyingly the vent was in exactly the *wrong* place. This meant I had to use shorter screws for that bracket (no deeper than the thickness of the drywall), but better than no bracket at all, which is what I'd have to have done with the recommended method (because the drywall would still be there).

Don't forget to mark the position of the studs (for where to screw) and anything else e.g. pipes, wires, etc (for where not to!).

Step 4: Fix Wood in Place, Paint

Push the wood into the hole and screw it in place. Do NOT rely just on screws through the narrow part of the wood into the studs - also add angled ones either side. Paint the wood and drywall. Yes, this is still going to look a little rough, but it's the back of your vanity! Chill out, no one will see it. It's dark in there and full of stuff. Or it soon will be.

Step 5: Mount Brackets and Vanity

Screw the brackets supplied with your vanity to your nice strong support and pop the vanity into place. I say "pop in place" like it was straightforward, but the carcass was heavy and required me lifting it solo with my forehead pressed against the wall for balance. Not the easiest job ever, and I did it three times because I needed to mark the back for relief cuts for the water supply lines, because the previous installer hadn't bothered actually putting the plumbing in the middle of the wall like a rational person. Grr.

Final thoughts: I figured if I wrote this up I might save a reader or two some time and hassle, and stop them unnecessarily hacking big holes in their wall. This approach gives a rock-solid result and was quick and easy compared to what was recommended.

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    13 Discussions

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    mt_head

    7 months ago

    I love this - we're considering replacing a long, old-fashioned-looking bathroom cabinet with a floating vanity and I was concerned about the hanging strength. I had an alternative idea, though: rather than hacking a 2x4 or similar into a workable support, how about a strip of plywood of the same thickness as the existing drywall? Should give equal or greater holding strength and require a lot less measuring and cutting to accommodate the studs.
    Of course, it all depends on what you have at hand: if you have a bunch of spare 2x lying around and no spare plywood...

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    makendomt_head

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thanks. I don't agree, though - your screws will only be going into 1/2" plywood instead of the 2x4. The rebates get filled by the studs so it ends up being almost as strong as a 2x4. An alternative if you're plywood-rich is to laminate additional layers so the plywood is at least as thick as the screw length between studs (and you leave gaps where the studs are.

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    terrefirma

    2 years ago

    Another system you could try along with this is the french cleat. Once you attach the wood to the wall and the vanity it simply drops into place. Then you can add screws if you like.

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    makendoterrefirma

    Reply 2 years ago

    Absolutely. The main downside would be the need to cut rebates into the back of the vanity so the back could still fit flush. The brackets kind of resemble French cleats - I can't understand why they didn't just provide a rail instead of tiny brackets...

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    bratan

    2 years ago

    Nice idea! Btw, I also just finished similar project, but we used Ikea kitchen cabinets with countertop for vanity. Because they use rail sustem, its more flexible with stud location, no need to cut drywall or wood. I was able to mount it to 3 studs and added two snaptoggle bolts for a good measure...

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    makendobratan

    Reply 2 years ago

    Nice. A rail was what I was expecting when I unpacked the box... cue much #%$@&!! when I found a tiny box of brackets...

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    jkendall1

    2 years ago

    I've never seen a wall-hung vanity before but now I want one. It really addresses the problem of things falling off the vanity and getting stuck between the cabinet and the wall.

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    lazydiyer

    2 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. I feel like this little nugget is going to save me a lot of head-scratching over the next few months.In fact its already clarified a project I've had percolating for a few weeks now. Clear and well presented too.

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    makendolazydiyer

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, there was no shortage of head-scratching on my part when the vanity got delivered and I looked at the hanging system. Good luck with whatever it is you have planned.

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    mcnock

    2 years ago

    Nice work - a good solution and well shared.

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    seamster

    2 years ago

    I love seeing clever solutions like this, glad you shared it. This approach is now mentally logged for future reference :)

    I've been eyeballing those oscillating multi tools for years. They look incredibly useful.

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    makendoseamster

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks Sam. Yeah, the multitool is handy all right. Have already used it more than the reciprocating saw I bought a few years back. Much less violent and good for precision demo work.