Installing the Bathroom Sink, Faucet, and Bathroom Accessories

So, it’s the first week of January 2018. My bathroom is finally functional again now that it’s painted, tiled, and the toilet’s installed. My sister moves in and it’s time to hop on to the final task for a functional bathroom: installing the sink!

I’d originally ordered a pretty pedestal sink for my bathroom, but I realized that the pedestal would take up precious floor space. Floor space I needed for storage. In particular, toilet paper storage. So, I returned my original sink and ordered a new wall mounted sink. Now, because the walls weren’t tiled in here, I wanted a wall mounted sink with a little bit of a backsplash. The sink had to be pretty small in size too, in order to meet code requirements and for ease of access to the room. The sink is immediately to the left inside the bathroom, right beside the door, and there’s only about 14″ depth available before the sink is sticking out. I couldn’t move the sink over closer to the toilet because code requires 15″ from the center of the toilet to any other element. It was a tight fit! I ended up landing on the Kohler Greenich Sink because it fit both my constraints.

The sink arrived the week Bronwyn moved in. So technically she lived in my house without a bathroom sink for at least a couple of days. But really, we didn’t have a kitchen either, so the sinkless bathroom was a total luxury. When it finally was in hand, I didn’t waste a second getting it installed though! After measuring my locations I marked out where my brackets needed to go, checked for level, and predrilled holes for the bracket bolts into the plywood backing behind the drywall.

I dryfit my brackets and checked again for level before tightening them fully.

The brackets were easily secured to the wall with the bolts into the predrilled holes and just needed to be hand-tightened a wrench. Try to ignore the big empty space above where the medicine cabinet is supposed to go! Not sure why that hammer was balancing all precariously there either…

Once the brackets were tightened it was time to place the sink on top. I gently lifted it on making sure to aim so the brackets caught.

Since the brackets still allowed for the sink to move side to side I took out my measuring tape again and confirmed the distance from the center of the toilet.. I needed that to be 15″ in order to pass my plumbing inspection and I was not about to fail another inspection! Once my sink location was perfected, I could screw in two more bolts to the bottom of the sink that would prevent it from sliding to one side or the other. I didn’t want to do that though, because 15″ from the center of my toilet had my sink about 2″ off center from my vanity. I’d known this going in and after the inspection, wanted to be able to slide the sink over slightly to get things lined up. So I left off those two bolts for the time being.

I did however confirm the sink was level and my bracket alignment correct. Everything was looking good, so it was time to install that faucet next!

Then I opened up my new faucet from Delta’s Cassidy Collection and started putting together the handles. They have handle options and I picked the cross handle option since I think it looks the most traditional. It was fairly easy to just follow the included directions and tools to put these together and install the set screw to secure handles. Again, I’m constantly surprised by how easy it is to DIY things around my home. I can do this, you can do this, your little brother can do this! It just takes a little patience and the right tools.

Once that was done, I placed the faucet on the sink and hooked up the handles to it. Then I moved on to the drain, placing a ring of caulking around the piece that sits into the sink to prevent water from leaking out.

The sink itself also got a bit of caulk to make sure things fit together tightly.

I was heavily supervised during this activity by Queen Malary who periodically checked in to make sure a) I was doing things correctly, b) knew she existed, and c) knew that it was dinner time.

The drain is also secured to the bottom of the sink with a plumbing washer with a tube extension, so with the caulk too, it was very tight. I used a couple of large plumbing wrenches to make sure it was water-tight!

The drain stopper is kinda annoying to hook into the drain stopper lifter, but with a little finagling of all the different parts and tubing below the sink, I got it to lift smoothly and straight.

Then it was time to see how thing were working! I hooked up the water lines and removed the faucet’s aerator (the little bit that makes the water come out less splashy) to test the water lines. You want to remove the aerator first so any sediment in the new plumbing lines can be flushed out and not clog up the aerator.

I hadn’t installed the P-trap yet, so I just stuck a bucket below the drain for the sink to drain into. I wanted to make sure this was working correctly before I put more things in my way down there!

The faucet was working great and after a few minutes (and an almost full bucket of water!), I wasn’t seeing any sediment, so I went ahead and used the little included tool to reinstall the aerator before moving on to the final step!

The P-trap came together easily. I bought a chrome metal P-trap kit and extension tube from Home Depot. It included everything I needed plus a nice little pictogram with instructions. I spray painted the plumbing parts matte black to match the water shut off valve flanges and cut the extension tube to the right length for my sink. Then it was just a matter of placing the included rubber gaskets between the different components and tightening the washer joints.

Wah-lah! A working bathroom sink! Who’s fancy now?!

Before the night was over though, I wanted to finish up installing the other accessories I’d bought from Delta. I’d gotten a toilet paper holder from the Cassidy collection and a hand towel ring from the Victorian collection (I switched to the Victorian because I liked the detailing better).

I realized when I went to install the toilet paper holder that there was a finish discrepancy. It was slighly shinier than the other Champagne Bronze pieces. It was subtle, but definitely different. I thought maybe it was accidentally mislabeled and actually a polished brass piece. I snapped the quick pic below and sent to the Delta rep who’d helped me with my purchases and they quickly replied that I could have another piece for free. In the mean time, though I realized a toilet paper holder wasn’t actually going to fit in here… Whoops! So I asked for a towel bar instead.

The towel bar arrived promptly after and looked just like the tissue paper holder for some reason! I wondered if they were made in a different factory from the faucet and showerhead and toilet lever or something. I just wanted a functional bathroom though, so I didn’t bother telling Delta this was shinier as well, and installed it. Now it’s installed I can’t even tell the difference.

Installation was simple for the towel bar too since it came with a template! Tape template to wall, drill holes where marked, install brackets, slip towel bar over brackets, install set screw!

The plumbing had installed the showerhead for me when we passed final inspection so that had been complete for a long while and was off my plate. One less thing to do is always good in my mind!

Overall, these pieces were where the majority of the bathroom cost came in. I’d managed to make affordable selections everywhere else and splurged a little here. It became even more of a splurge when I picked the champagne bronze finish, but I really wanted the fixtures to feel more old world and aligned with the period of the house. Boy was I pleased with the end result too!

Total bathroom plumbing fixtures and accessories: $714

The bathroom’s come a LONG way from the magenta madness that was going on when I bought Berrybrier!

Boy I feel dirty just looking at that bathroom. Gross!

Have you worked on any plumping projects recently? Were you pleasantly surprised by how doable it was? It’s always nice to know you can do things like installing a sink or fixing a sewer line and don’t need to hire an expensive plumber to figure it out!

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Installing My New Toilet and Changing the Toilet Lever

There’s a new throne to bend the knee to in the Land of Laurel and it ain’t made of iron. That’s right! I’ve got a gorgeous porcelain throne for ya’ll to fawn over today. It’s downright spectacular. And oh so necessary. You see, back in early January 2018 I was just over 2 months in to my bathroom renovation and it was time to kick it into high gear. I had a deadline, one not set by me, one I couldn’t just ignore as it passed by, a big, important deadline. My little sister was moving into Berrybrier to live with me! Hi, Bronwyn! And well… she needed a place to relieve herself that wasn’t the tiny hell bathroom off my own bedroom. As much as that delightful little space worked for me, she was going to need a space a bit more… accommodating and far less… disgusting.

Luckily, I had a space that was pretty darn close! See the capped toilet flange below? That was my first step for getting the bathroom into more of a… useful… space. The plumber had installed it when he was doing rough in and after I’d tiled around it, and drywalled, and painted, the flange was finally ready for a toilet. The center part was just a cap that prevented the sewer gases and smells from coming into the bathroom. For which I was grateful. I popped it off with a screw driver and exposed the hole beneath.

Then I grabbed a reinforced wax ring toilet install kit from Home Depot and stuck it in the hole. The reinforced plastic part keeps it pretty centered.

Then I took the bolts that came with the kit and stuck them into the toilet flange. They slide nicely into place upside down, which is better than ones that screw into the flange from above since it’s easier to aim your toilet. I had bought the Kohler Memoirs Two Piece Toilet which is easier to install since it literally comes in two pieces. I lifted up the bottom part with the help of my friend Nikki and aimed it at my bolts and wax ring while her dog chased Malary around my house. With a little finagling we landed it just so for a perfect fit! Then I slipped the plastic covers that came with the toilet over the bolts to protect the porcelain and screwed on a nut to hold the toilet in place. I tightened the nut enough to keep everything snug and then simply sawed off the excess bolt with my hacksaw. Easy, peasy.

I snapped the bolt cap covers on and then it was time for the tank. This guy I was able to place on myself after Nikki left. It came with bolts already placed in the bottom of the tank and again I just aimed those bolts at the holes in the bottom part of the toilet. Then they got nuts which I tightened with a wrench being careful not to tighten too tightly which could break the porcelain. As I did that I stuck my level on top to make sure I was keeping things plumb.

One more check that it was level and I was ready for the fun stuff! The toilet lever that came with my toilet was already installed when I unboxed it. That’s convenient right? Wrong.

Lovely polished chrome in finish, there was nothing wrong with it, except I was using Delta’s Champagne Bronze (a brass /gold look) finish on all the other plumbing fixtures. So I popped one of Delta’s Cassidy Collection Toilet Levers into my cart and got ready to switch it out.

I also went ahead and screwed in the toilet water supply line into the tank and into my favorite water shut off valve that looks so cute coming out of the baseboard. I kept the water off still, but I wanted it to be ready to go once the lever was switched out.

Switching out the lever was also super easy. I took a short handled screw driver and just unscrewed the single machine screw that was holding it in place and popped off the lever.

The Memoirs toilet looked kinda cute all handleless and naked too! But.. that wasn’t going to stick around for long! I’d carefully noted the placement of the original nuts, washers, and other bits that came off the original toilet lever and meshed those in together with the new Delta parts.

I kept the delta parts that held the lever to the toilet themselves and screwed the original Kohler handle arm and chain into the new lever. That way the interior of the tank was mostly the same.

The Delta lever had some with a plastic handle that was supposed to replace the handle and chain, but that seemed like opening a larger can of worms than I was ready for so I just ignored that bit.

I checked several times to make sure the combination of parts together were still raising the flapper and thus “flushing” the toilet before I even considered turning on the water to this new throne!

But after it passed that test several times, I decided it was ready, got my bucket and dry towels ready and turned the water shut off valve to on. The tank and bowl began filling with water until it magically stopped at it’s capacity point. The moment of truth: would it now flush?!

Yes! It worked! And with no issues or re-dos or mishaps along the way! Turns out installing a toilet is really not as hard as what you’d think. And when everything in the bathroom is brand new and never before used, it’s not even the little bit gross!

So now I had a toilet! A whole toilet to myself! Well, for myself and my sister who moved in the very next day! Sure… we had to wash our hands in the kitchen sink until I got around to installing the bathroom sink and faucet a few days later, but eh, no big deal! Plus a functioning toilet and shower felt a thousand times better than the gross original bathroom!

In all the plumbing fixtures were one of the most expensive parts of this bathroom renovation. BY FAR. Which is to be expected since they are the fancy finished bits! Here’s the breakdown of the toilet bits and pieces:

  • Reinforced Wax Ring $8
  • Toilet Water Supply Line $6
  • Sink water Supply Lines about $20 for two lines
  • Toilet $380
  • Toilet Lever $25
  • Toilet Install Total: $439
  • Now, you could totally spend a whole lot less if you went to Home Depot and bought some cheaper fixtures, but since I was trying to restore some of the original character of Berrybrier back into this house and I wanted a specific look, I splurged a bit for pieces I liked and would like for years to come.

    If I was a better blogger I would have snapped a picture of the final toilet all installed with it’s lid on but I am not a very good blogger so I will go ahead and just give you this sneak peek. The toilet installed, complete with a few plants on top of the tank and a preview of the installed sink!

    Ohhhh progress! It feels sooo good right? Boy is it nice to have a place to shower and relieve yourself after months of a messy construction zone! I mean, the rest of Berrybrier still looked absolutely insane considering the kitchen floor disaster, but even that was looking up! My sister Bronwyn had moved in with me which meant a whole bunch of free labor. Yay! Double time progress!

    Cutting Copper Pipes to Install Water Shut Off Valves

    So after the bathroom was painted I was pretty excited to be at the stage where things were really looking good. I was dying to get the toilet and sink installed and finally have a full working bathroom! To do that, I first needed to install some shut-off valves. When I first contracted my plumber to do the rough in plumbing, I definitely thought that would include water shut off valves and then I’d just hook in the fixtures. I don’t know why I thought that…. because what I actually got was copper stubs sticking out of the walls. It was a bit daunting, but I watched this youtube video where a very reassuring lady told me I’d be able to do this just fine. I took one last look at this room with it’s copper stubby left wall and headed to Home Depot for supplies.

    I bought the following things for this project and gathered a few items I already had in my home too.

    This actually wasn’t as hard as I anticipated, what a delightful and unusual DIY surprise! First, I turned off the water. A very important step. Please don’t forget to do that. Then I put some towels down on the floor and put my bucket under the first stub. The pipe cutter was super easy to use too. Just put it on the pipe, spin, tighten, spin, tighten and so on! Totally easy and then boom! The end of the pipe popped off into my bucket within just a minute or two. I was overly cautious about cutting the pipe since I didn’t want to cut off too much, but I probably left more pipe than I needed on the wall. I decided to proceed anyways.

    I bought cheap chrome pipe flanges and spray painted them with matte black Rustoleum enamel paint because I thought they’d blend in more with the dark green walls. I was too afraid to paint the actual shut off valves though because I thought it might affect their performance.

    I slipped the newly black flange over the pipe, threw the compression ring and nut over the pipe and then stuck the valve over the end of the pipe and gripped it with my pipe wrench. In my other hand I used a wrench to twist the compression ring and nut over the shut off valve and tighten. Tighten. Tighten. But not too tight, don’t want to break anything. The video told me to be cautious about over-tightening. Eventually it seemed tight enough though…

    You’ll see above too that I threw a bunch of caulk into the oversized pipe holes. The flanges would cover the holes, but I wanted to block any airflow. Once it looked good, I stuck the bucket right up under it and ran down into the basement to turn the water back on and then ran back up the stairs to see how it looked.

    AHHHH!!!! Water was shooting everywhere! I sprinted back down to the basement and shut the water back off. Got out the wrench and and the pipe wrench again and tightened more. I was a lot less tentative about tightening it this time. Try two with the water turned on went muuuch better! Just a slight drip this time.

    Back into the basement, water off, back up stairs, grab wrench, tighten, tighten, tighten, into the basement again, water back on, run back upstairs and…. WAHLA! No drips or leaks or showers, just a water shut off with the water shut off! One valve down, two more to go! No need to be cautious about over-tightening apparently…

    I did the second sink valve next. It went much smoother. I was aggressive in my tightening and got it done on round one this time. It helped that I remembered I have the arm strength of a new born infant so the likely hood of me over-tightening anything is slim to none.

    This slightly scary project ended up being way easier than I’d originally thought. Just goes to show you, even intimidating things can be easily conquered with a little internet research and a willingness to try! The sink valves were now ready for the sink which basically meant the bathroom was done right? Right?!

    Just kidding. DIY projects are never done. I needed to do the toilet water shut off valve. This one is my favorite, because it sticks out of the baseboard which I find strangely pretty. I’m weird okay? I did leave WAY more pipe on this one than necessary though. Shoulda cut that baby about an inch shorter. But eh, I’m lazy and don’t want to alter it now that it’s done. I got this one done on the first try too, so I must be an expert in this right?

    Ha! Nope. The next time I had a project involving installation of water shut off valves I shot water onto the ceiling…

    But at least I got these done with minor issues! Just in time to leave for the holidays too. Thank goodness!

    And now, on to plumbing fixtures!! Who wants to install a sink? Or better yet a toilet? Now that’s where the real fun is at… right?!