How To Install a Vessel Sink

6 - 10 hours
Un-Blah Your Powder Room


Most powder rooms are simply an afterthought. After all, there's usually not much more than a sink, a toilet and a towel rack. The cabinets are often blah, the walls boring, and the mirror more than likely is hardly a reflection of your tastes. The good news is that there are a number of easy projects you can do to instantly spruce up your powder room that will wow your guests and that you'll enjoy for years to come. Here are just a few ideas for your powder room re-do!


Installing a vessel sink: Vessel Sinks have become increasingly popular over the past few years. They are wonderfully functional while at the same time, exceptionally dramatic!

If you're looking for something to make your powder room stand out, then a vessel sink coupled with a waterfall faucet might be exactly what you're looking for.

Step 1

Remove the old sink

Shut off the water supply by turning off the valves at the base of the sink.

Disconnect the old sink's plumbing using a plumber's wrench, making sure to keep plenty of rags and a bucket handy to catch any excess water that drips out of the pipes.

You'll now want to check underneath the old sink to see if there are any attachment hooks holding it to the countertop. If so, remove them using either a power screwdriver, if they're screws or the claw of a hammer if they're nails.

Now that you've removed any clips holding the old unit in place, simply pull the old sink up and out. If it doesn't come free, it may have caulk holding it to the old tiles so you might need to wedge underneath with a pry bar or cut away at the old caulk with a utility knife to get it up and out.

Step 2

Remove the old tile / Countertop

Using a prybar, you'll want to remove your old countertop from the cabinet base. You'll want to put this aside to use later for measurement reference. Keep in mind, there might have been a line of caulk placed on top of the cabinet base prior to installing the original countertop, so you may need to use a utility knife to cut it away.

If you have tiles leading from your counter top to a back splash, you may want to use this opportunity to update them. If this is the case, remove the old tile by using a pry bar (if large tiles) or with a hammer to chip it away.

SAFETY TIP: If you use a hammer, be certain to wear proper eye protection as there are often small pieces that could fly up at you. Also, place a cloth between the hammer and the tile. This way you can usually avoid having debris fly up at you.

Once the tile is gone, remove the old backer board (cement board that the tile is adhered to) using a pry bar.

Step 3

Prepping the new counter for your vessel sink

Measure the counter area above the cabinets for your new sub-base/plywood. You can use the old countertop as a guide. Take a piece of ¾;" plywood, mark your measurements and then cut to size using a circular saw.

JANE TOOL TIP: You're going to need a few power tools to complete this task. If you don't have any power tools yet, one great way to launch your collection is to pick up a Ryobi Combo Kit. For under $200 the Ryobi Combo Kit comes with an 18volt (which means a LOT of power) circular saw, power drill, stand-up flashlight and hand-vac for easy cleanup. This is one of our favorite options because the Ryobi One Plus System has batteries that are interchangeable with an entire line of tools. Trust us, this comes in quite handy when you're in mid project and you want to go from your drill to your circular saw without having to worry about charging two different batteries!

Screw the new sub-base down to the cabinet tops with a power screwdriver.

Set your new sink on top of the sub base and mark the location by outlining the drain hole (this is the only hole you'll need to drill through the plywood for the sink. Most drain holes are approximately 1 ¼" diameter but yours might vary slightly).

Using a cordless drill with a 1 ¼" (or whatever the measurement of your drain hole is) spade bit, drill a hole for your drain in the sub-base.

You'll now want to mark the location of the faucet and then drill holes for the water feed tubes that will come down from the faucet to connect underneath the sink to the water lines. Use your cordless drill with appropriate size bit.

Step 4

Installing your faucet

We find it's actually easier to install the faucet prior to putting the vessel sink into final position. Such is not the case with most standard sinks. Follow the manufacturer's instructions but basically, you'll want to use a ring of plumber's putty around any hoses you screw together.

Turn the water input valves on and check for leaks.

Before you install your sink, you will first want to re-tile the countertop being sure to leave the hole for the sink drain assembly.

Step 5


Most vessel sinks are attached to the counter sub-base only via the drain assembly, but yours might vary slightly so be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific sink.

Begin by placing a bead of silicone caulk at the base of the sink where it will touch the countertop. Set the sink in place and wipe away any excess caulk.

Next, attach the drain assembly, again following the manufacturer's instructions for your specific sink. More than likely, you will have the drain assembly set from the top into the sink's drain hole. You'll then screw on the tightening nut firmly to hold the sink in place to the counter. Be sure that if you have a sink without an overflow that your drain assembly doesn't have an overflow valve and likewise - if you have an overflow in your sink, be sure your drain assembly does as well.

Hook the drain up to the P-trap underneath using the same type of plumbing that was installed previously (i.e. if you have PVC pipe, be sure to use the same for your pipe assembly with the appropriate adhesive. Don't mix steel and PVC.)

Once all items are in place, turn on your faucet and check the faucet and sink drain for leaks. If you find you have a leak, try adding a strip of plumber's tape to the threads and then reconnect the lines.

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