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How to Remove a Bathroom Vanity

by Lilian D on January 11, 2022
How to Remove Bathroom Vanity

Your interest in the bathroom has plummeted down faster than the shares in the ASX. The floor that looked lustrous has turned dull, the fittings that felt trendy have gone out of style. But you already know a minor renovation in the so-called "little space" costs more than what you anticipate every time.

So to avoid budget miscalculations this time, you take all the matters in your hands and give over the bathroom project to none other than— yourself! But you have other challenges as well. Your spouse yells no "drillers and rotary hammer", dear; your kids request for "no noise fix-up" in a beseeching tone. What do you do then? Quit? No! You tell yourself, "Ah! Let's get rid of the boring bathroom vanity. Removing the god-damn old vanity cabinet, the vanity top, the vanity mirror, and everything related to the entire vanity will cost me nothing."

Then you celebrate how you also get to install a new vanity without having to keep up with the "no driller/no hammer" challenge.

How to start

You may need to take "how to remove a bathroom vanity guide" as a pinch of salt if your vanity is in-built. Now, why do we say this? Well, the built-in vanity may require cutting the cabinet to fit.

But if the vanity has been installed before other fixtures... You better start looking for the next bathroom project or use a demolition blade to make things work for you.

The Equipment/Tools You Need 

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • Utility knife
  • Flat pry bar
  • Putty knife
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Screw gun

The Materials You Need 

  • Woodblock
  • Rag

How to Remove a Bathroom Vanity— Step By Step Instructions

Here's how you can remove the bathroom vanity

  • Step1: Turn off the water supply
  • Step 2: Disconnect and remove water supply lines
  • Step 3: Remove the wall mirror (optional)
  • Step 4: Unscrew the vanity fixings
  • Step 5: Cut and remove the caulk joint
  • Step 6: Remove the Vanity Top
  • Step 7: Complete the Project

 

Step #1: Turn Off The Water Supply

Turn Off The Water Supply

The first step to removing the bathroom vanity is to turn off the water supply. No, wait! We'd recommend you remove the vanity doors from their hinges first because they can be far more annoying during the process.

The first step to removing your bathroom vanity is to unscrew all doors of your vanity. Once the doors are out of the way, you will access the plumbing. Before unscrewing anything, make sure you have turned off the water supply. A handy tip is to turn on all taps in the house to release residual water and pressure so less water will spill from the pipes you are unscrewing.

Where Is The Shut-Off Valve Located?

Local Shutoff valves are located right beneath the sink or at the back of the cabinet. It has two main supplies— hot and cold water tubes, and you'd want to shut off both the valves.

When Do You Need to Shut Off The Main Water Supply?

If you are making significant changes in more than one bathroom in your house, you can consider shutting the main valve supply itself. In this instance, you should shut off the main supply when:

  • Your bathroom vanity faucet doesn't have shut off valve,
  • The shut-off valve doesn't work correctly, or
  • The shut-off valve fails to do its job.

Things to Consider While Shutting Off the Water Valve

  • Turn off the valve clockwise until the water supply stops.
  • Make sure you keep the valve either open or shut! (Don't have it half-opened)
  • Once you have blocked the excess water from flowing out, open the mixer to release the water pressure.

 

Step #2: Disconnect And Remove The Water Supply Tubes

Disconnect And Remove The Water Supply Tubes

Image Source: https://www.thespruce.com/removing-a-faucet-2718826

 Now the second step needs due diligence from your end. Disconnecting the water supply lines can get messy, and it is recommended to proceed with caution and take it slowly and one tube at a time.

How to Disconnect The Water Supply Tubes?

  • Decide on which supply lines you want to work on first
  • Unscrew  has the compression nut (or hose connector) using an adjustable wrench to loosen the compression nut or used a pair of pliers
  • Make a counterclockwise (left) turn on the end of the threaded pipe
  • Remove the supply tube off the valve
  • Mark the pipes as cold or hot water to ensure you reconnect correctly
  • Repeat this on another water pipe
  • Use tape thread tape to wrap around the pipes sticking out of the walls.
  • Use a wrench or pliers to screw on the caps.

Things to Consider While Disconnecting The Water Supply Tubes

  • Place a bucket under the shut-off valve to prevent water from spilling in the area.
  • Make sure the shut-off valve isn't leaking
  • If you still find the water leakage; you will have to shut off the main valve and have the local shut-off fixed

Handy tip: Since you're replacing the bathroom sink, vanity countertop, and faucet, it is recommended to replace the fixture shut-off valves and water supply tubes simultaneously. As valves and supply, tubes have shorter lifespans.

 

Step #3: Remove The Waste Trap

Remove The Waste Trap
Image Source: https://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/howwastetrapswork.htm

Removing the waste trap is one of the unpleasant parts of removing the old vanity and having a new one.  When removing the waste trap, it will release everything it's been holding for months (or probably years in some cases).

The only good part about removing the waste trap is— you fetch back all the valuables you once lost through the bathroom sink. (Maybe you should consider using a good drain stopper).

How to Remove The Drain Trap?

  • Place the bucket right under the P-trap assembly. 
  • You're trying to net all the debris and water that falls from the drain trap when you remove them. The trap assembly has three essential parts:

    1. Straight tailpiece section (you'll find it connected with the drain pipe)
    2. U-shaped trap bend,
    3. straight trap arm with an elbow (you can see it connected with the branch drain pipe that goes into the wall)

     

  • Give a half un-screw turn to the PVC outlet.
  • Loosen the two PVC nuts connected at the sink tailpiece and the other hooked on the trap arm. You can unscrew the PVC nut with your bare hand.

  • Turn the nuts left
  • Continue left turning the nuts to loosen them and remove them from the threaded ends of the pipes.

  • Pull out the blockage from the trap. 
  • Make sure you throw away the unpleasantly sticky gunk and water into the bucket and prevent them from falling out and littering the bathroom.

    Things to Consider While Removing The Drain Trap

    • Keep the bucket under the trap to catch the debris
    • Don't let the water run through the drain— it may only flush water away
    • Please use eye protection and rubber gloves to protect yourself from sharp waste
    • Wrap the tape around the wrench or pliers if you want to save the surface finish on the slip nuts.

     

    Step #4: Remove The Wall Mirror (optional)

    Don't forget you're playing with tools and the vanity cabinet itself, and they're not the best of friends with your delicate mirrors. It would help remove the mirror with the rests on the countertop and backsplash.

    Removing the mirror glued to the wall can be tricky, but armed with the right tools, you will be able to do it effortlessly.

    Basic Tools to Remove Bathroom Mirror

    • Cardboard for protection
    • Suction cup handles (good for heavy mirrors, optional for lighter ones)
    • Duct tape
    • A helper
    Remove The Wall Mirror (optional)

    Image Source: https://www.sunrisespecialty.com/how-to-remove-a-bathroom-mirror

    Tools For Mirrors Attached to The Wall With Glue

    • Small heat lamp (or a hairdryer)
    • Sturdy gloves
    • Long handle putty knife.
    • Strong and sharp wire
    • Crowbar (also known as a Pry Bar)

    Tools For Mirrors Attached to The Wall With Clip

    • Screwdriver 

    How to Remove Mirror Glued to The Wall?

    • Make sure the surrounding area in your bathroom is free of bumps. You want to mess up the least here.
    • Run the strip of duct tape all over the mirror. Cover the entire mirror with tape until you feel the mirror is safe and less prone to damage.
    • Plug in the hairdryer or the heating lamp and maneuver it over the mirror. The heat from the dryer will loosen the adhesive.
    • Slip the putty knife through the glue and cut them in the edges
    • Now slip the sharp wire behind the wire and run it back and forth.
    • If you feel you can't move the needle, pass on more heat to the glass.
    • Use a pry bar under the mirror's edge and pull the mirror out.
    • Take the mirror off the wall and place it safely.

    If you have a mirror with clips— run the screwdriver through the side, top, and bottom clips and remove it.

     

    Step #5: Cut And Remove The Caulk Joints

    Cut And Remove The Caulk Joints

    Our favorite part is cutting and removing the caulk joints because it's the easiest part. You'll find caulk at the edges and points where the vanity top meets the wall, and you'll also find it along the edges between the vanity cabinet and the vanity countertop.

    How to Cut And Remove The Caulk Joints?

    • Squeeze and apply caulk remover chemical
    • Leave the chemical overnight to soften the caulk.
    • Scrape away the old caulk with a plastic putty knife or other tools
    • Try to peel the strips of the remaining caulk
    • Add rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and clean the surface with it.

    How to Remove Caulk Without Chemicals?

    • Use caulk removal tool with scraper blade
    • Get the caulk strips out with a razor scraper

     

    Step #6: Removing The Vanity Top

    Removing The Vanity Top

    Image Source: https://thediyplan.com/bathroom-vanity-top-with-epoxy-resin/

    Once you're done with the plumbing and caulk processes, it's time for you to remove the vanity countertop. The first question you need to ask yourself is— what sticks the vanity top (bathroom sink) with the vanity cabinet? For that, you need to go down and inspect if it's glued or screwed.

    If it's screwed— you only need to unscrew and remove the brackets. Now try to lift the countertop from the front edge. If the sink doesn't come out, maybe it's also glued to the cabinet. You have two options from here: either you carefully lift it along with the vanity cabinet or you use a pry bar to pry up the vanity top.

    Things to Consider While Removing The Vanity Top

    You have to be a little more attentive while removing the vanity top. You're pulling up the countertop from the cabinet. So you want to ensure the top doesn't hit the wall or mirror (that's why you should remove the mirror first).

    Also, you're dealing with firm pressure here. So you've to remove the top safely, so it doesn't damage the cabinets.

    And finally, it is always handy to have someone help you. Vanity tops are heavy! In the final few steps, the last thing you want is to injure yourself! Because— brace yourself! We're almost there.

     

    Step #7: Removing The Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

    Removing The Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

    Now we're in the final few stages of the DIY bathroom vanity hack. Begin this step by scraping the connection between the cabinet and the wall. Just as you checked the countertop, you must check if the cabinet is attached to the wall.

    You can expect it to be attached in three ways:

    • Glued and screwed simultaneously with the wall
    • fastened with a few screws driven directly into the wall.
    • fastened with a few screws anchored directly to the floor

     Once you've determined how it's attached, run over the screwdriver or drill to remove the screws.

    Things to Consider While Removing The Vanity Cabinet

    • Like your sink top, pry out the cabinet away from the wall.
    • Place a wooden block between the wall and the pry bar to prevent wall damage.
    • Lever the pry pressure against the wood and not the wall
    • Ensure you pull the cabinet towards yourself and not towards the wall
    • Make sure you don't damage the plumbing walls while pulling forward the vanity cabinet

    Finish The Bathroom Sink Project.

    Though you have taken great care of not "ripping out the wall with the vanity cabinet," you may still find caulking and tar-like adhesive. And if you try to remove the adhesive, it may tear off the patches of paint! Uh! Don't be surprised if you also find scuffs and stains on the wall.

    • As we mentioned above, use a caulk softener and a putty knife to deal with caulk. You can go for a scraper tool or razor scraper otherwise.
    • If you see the paint being scraped already, chisel the entire area.
    • Or you can run over sandpaper to smoothen the surface.

     You'll have to get the walls leveled and painted if the new vanity you're installing is small and short. For the bigger ones, you can place them. But we will always recommend you patch and paint the wall if needed. So nothing is stopping you from removing the bathroom vanity from the wall... not the backsplash, not the mounting screws. You have to be patient and go slow while removing the adhesive/screw holding the vanity cabinet.

    Frequently Asked Questions.

    Here's the answer to some of your common problems.

    How Hard Is It to Remove a Bathroom vanity?

    It's easy to remove a bathroom vanity if you're sick of expensive bathroom re-modeling. The DIY hack includes:

    • Shutting off the valves.
    • Removing the water tubes.
    • Removing the mirror.
    • Cutting the caulk.
    • Prying out the vanity top and cabinet in sequence.

     You'll take anything between 45 to 90 minutes and spend $0 on labour.

    Can I Replace My Bathroom Vanity Myself?

    Yes, you can replace the bathroom vanity yourself in 8 simple steps. The best part about removing the bathroom vanity cabinet and countertop is that you don't need experts like plumbers and carpenters, and it's a simple DIY hack. Start with turning off the water supply. Then shut off the valves, remove the water tubes, remove the mirror, cut the caulk, remove the vanity top and cabinet in sequence. That's it!

    How Do You Remove a Vanity Without Damaging a Wall?

    You can remove a vanity without damaging the wall by prying the countertop and vanity cabinet away from the wall. Consider using the wooden block between the pry tool and the wall and lever your pressure on a wooden block and not the wall. This way, you can pull out the vanity without ripping the wall off.

    What Tools Do You Need to Remove a Bathroom Vanity?

    You'll need

    • Bucket
    • Utility Knife
    • Adjustable Wrench
    • Pry Bar
    • Wood Block
    • Chisel
    • Caulk Scraper

    ... to remove bathroom vanity.

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