Adding a new vanity to your bathroom can give you an updated look and extra storage. But, before you can get that new look going, you have to remove the old bathroom vanity first. The good news is that it isn’t a complicated process, as long as you follow the necessary steps in the right order.
1. Turn Off the Water
Most sinks have turn-off valves underneath. Open up the doors of your old vanity, and look inside. You will see water lines coming down from the faucet and connecting to pipes coming out of the wall. There should be valves where the water lines meet the pipes. Turn these to the off position.
Turn the faucet on and make sure the water is no longer running. Let all the water drain from the faucet.
If you don’t have water valves under the sink, you need to locate the water main and turn off the valve that supplies the entire house. Otherwise, you will have water gushing out of your wall, all over the floor. Remember to open up the faucet to get the water drained out.
2. Disconnect the Water Lines
Get a large bucket. You will need it to catch the water that will drain from the water lines. Place it under the water valves before you proceed.
Many water lines are hand tightened. That means you can use your hands to loosen them from the wall. If they don’t budge, use a wrench to loosen them. Remove them entirely from the water valves.
Let the water completely drain from the water lines.
3. Disconnect the Drain
The next step is to disconnect the drain that connects the sink to the wall. Loosen the slip nut at the point where the pipe meets the bottom of the sink. Then, loosen the P-trap at the point where it meets the wall.
Be sure to have the bucket under the pipe as you remove it. Some water will be sitting at the lowest point of the pipe. Drain it out before removing the pipe and the bucket from underneath the sink.
If any water spilled, mop it up with an old towel. That will prevent it from creating a big mess as the work proceeds.
4. Remove the Mirror, If Needed
This step may or may not be necessary, depending on the position of the mirror, and whether you want to replace it as part of the renovation.
Some mirrors sit directly on the upper edge of the sink top. Removing the mirror will make it easier to remove the sink top. Removing it also prevents the mirror from getting damaged in the removal process.
The only exception is if the mirror is glued to the wall. In that case, it’s best to leave it in place, unless you want to replace it later in the project.
5. Cut the Caulk
Next, you need to start getting the sink top ready for removal. Most have a bead of caulk around the edge that prevents water from getting between the sink and the wall. Use a sharp utility knife to cut this caulk line.
Look for any caulk between the vanity and the sink top. Cut this line as well. If you see any caulk between the cabinet and wall, cut through it. Doing all the caulk cutting at once saves time and hassle later in the process.
6. Separate the Sink Top from the Vanity
After you cut the caulk lines, you may find the sink top comes loose easily from the vanity. However, you may also find it still firmly in place. That means there are screws or bolts holding the two pieces together.
Get into the vanity base and look up at the bottom of the sink. Check the corners. You will likely find the fasteners there. Loosen and remove any screws or bolts. This should free the sink top from the vanity.
7. Remove the Sink Top
Lift the front edge of the sink top. It should move away with no issues. If it doesn’t, it may have been glued to the vanity base. You can use a pry bar to loosen it. Or you can leave it attached and remove both pieces as a single unit.
If the sink top moves freely, pull it away from the wall, then lift it free of the vanity base. Take care to avoid damaging the wall surface if at all possible.
8. Remove the Faucet, If Desired
If you want to keep and reuse the faucet, it’s time to remove it. There should be slip nuts on the bottom of the faucet, along the water lines. Simply loosen these slip nuts to start the process. The faucet may have caulk around the edge you need to cut to get the unit loose.
9. Remove the Old Vanity Base
Check around the vanity base to see if there’s any trim in place. Remove it carefully to prevent wall damage.
Look inside the cabinet to see how it’s fastened to the wall. It’s likely with a few screws and maybe some adhesive. Remove the screws. If it’s fastened with nails, use a block of wood to protect the wall when using a pry bar to remove the nails.
Move the vanity away from the wall slowly. If there’s a back panel with cutouts for the plumbing, use care to avoid damaging the drain and water valves.
10. Dispose of the Old Vanity
Follow appropriate regulations for disposing of the old vanity. You may be able to put it out on the curb during special collection days. You may have to pay for special collections. Or you might have to drive to the dump to dispose of it.
Another option is to donate it to a thrift store.
11. Clean Up
The last step is to clean up. Remove any excess caulk still clinging to the walls. A putty knife or a scraper will do the job. If the new vanity isn’t the same size as the old one, you may need to patch the wall or paint it.
Use a vacuum to remove any dust and debris left in the area. Make any repairs to the floor before installing the new vanity.
This process usually takes under an hour, especially if you have a helper. Stay patient and let the tools do their job. Trying to force the process will only end up damaging the wall, which makes more work in the long run.