How to Install a Pedestal Sink
A pedestal sink stands proudly on its own one foot, ignoring the little vanities found under the average bathroom sink. But a pedestal sink is only suitable when the wall behind it is in good shape. Still, pedestal sinks beat sinks mounted in vanities in one respect: There's no vanity to devour space in a small bathroom.
If your wall is scarred by pipes, do some drywall replacement before installing a pedestal sink. Use this opportunity to fasten a nailer behind the wall to support the sink, as I'll explain shortly.
Step 1: Getting Started
Like all sinks, this one requires hot and cold water supplies, and a drain connection. Kevin, a plumber with Lorentz Plumbing, Madison, Wisconsin, shares a handy trick for installing pedestal—and other—sinks: Make as many connections as possible with the sink on the floor. It's always nice to reduce upside-down-under-the-sink time, but pedestal sinks give you no choice: The connections will be partly hidden behind the pedestal after installation.
Your installation method depends on the condition of your wall:
If you must tear the wall apart to repair the wall or the plumbing, securely screw two short nailers, made of 2 x 4s, across the area behind the sink. The nailers must be behind the mounting holes on your new sink. Screw through the nailers into the studs. (If you are lucky enough to have studs where you need them, you're lucky enough to be buying lottery tickets!) Later, you will lag-bolt the sink to the studs or nailers.
If you do not need to tear into the wall, mount the sink with spring toggles. Although a nailer is stronger, the advantage doesn't justify ripping up a perfectly good wall. However, make sure the drywall or plaster is both strong and good-looking, as it will be visible and be playing a supportive role.
Turn off the water supply, either at the shut-off valves under the existing sink, or at the main shutoff, if the shutoffs are absent. Remove any existing sink and make any repairs to the wall.
Unpack your goodies and take a look at the manual for the fixtures.
Step 2: Connect the Sink
This faucet is more complicated than average, since it's made to fit sinks with nonstandard hole spacing. Fixtures for standard sinks, with holes spaced 4" apart, come already connected to the spigot. If you fear plumbing (and in their heart of hearts, most home-fixers do), buy a sink with 4" spacing, and jump to "Connecting a One-Piece Fixture. You can also refer to Replace a Kitchen Sink and/or Fixture. One more suggestion: Put thread grease on metal nuts that attach to metal threads on fixtures. This will save aggravation and expense if you have to remove a fixture.
With the sink on the floor or a table, start mounting the faucets and spigots. Sometimes these separate pieces must be joined by tubes; most fixtures are one-piece, and thus are much easier to mount, as explained in the sidebar.
Connect flexible tubes to the faucet fittings.
Tighten the tubes with two wrenches. The copper tube attached to the faucet receives its water supply from the house plumbing; the plastic tube delivers water to the spigot.
Mount the Faucet
Now mount the faucets in their holes. Some faucets seal to the sink with plastic 0-rings, others with plumber's putty. Form plumber's putty into a pencil shape and make a ring around the mounting location. Cram the tubes through the hole and tighten the lock nut from behind.
The lock ring and washer hold the faucet in place.
Mount the spigot with a lock ring in the center hole. A basin wrench reaches hard-to-reach nuts. The locking pliers prevent the faucet from moving. Make sure to get the faucet tight; it won't be accessible after you mount the sink.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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