Light Townhouse Rehab - Project #6, Week #15

I did a lot of work this week, so I will have to break this up into two sections. First, even more work to be done in the upstairs shared bathroom!

The countertop for the upstairs bathroom had been burned from a hot curling iron being left on top of it. The sink and faucet were in OK condition and could be re-used, so I got busy removing the sink basin from the countertop. The sink was glued to the counter with silicone sealant, so I used my Sawzall to trim most of the countertop away.

From there, it was easy enough to use a hammer to knock the remaining countertop off the basin. I had planned on buying another inexpensive 48" pre-made section of laminate countertop from Home Depot for about $40 and re-mounting the sink in it, but then I saw an ad for a used "cultured marble" countertop on Craigslist, which is a free online classifieds site for many major metropolitan areas. A new top like this cost nearly $140 at Home Depot, so I was happy to give the seller his $20 asking price. I get a kick out of the term "cultured marble". Why can't they just call it what it is...PLASTIC!

The only downside of using this different countertop is that the drain pipes would probably not line up. The existing pipes were cut-to-fit the old sink, and were not adjustable (go back to the week 12/13 page to see what I mean). So I changed out the connection to slip-fit connection. To do this, I needed to cut off the old fittings while not damaging the underlying PVC pipe. I started this by using the Sawzall to make a shallow cut across the PVC coupler that connected the pipe to the drain elbow, while making sure that I only cut through the coupler:

A pry bar is then inserted into the slot cut in the coupler, and turned with a wrench.

This broke off a large section of the coupler. The purple showing underneath is the primer that was applied to the pipe.

From there, I was able to use a hammer and wood chisel to break off most of what remained of the coupler. It only took a few minutes to clean off the stubborn pieces that remained.

After cleaning off what I could with the chisel, a long strip of sandpaper was used to go around the pipe to clean off the last little bits of old coupler and glue. An adaptor that converted from the 1.5" PVC to 1.25" plastic slip-fit tubing was then glued into place.

The advantage of the slip-fitting is that the tube can the telescoped in or out of the fitting, which offers great flexibility for connecting to the fiXtures. Look at the pictures abovr and below to see how large the range of adjustment is.

With the drain fitting taken care of, I brought in the vanity base and installed it. Long drywall screws are run through the rear stringer and into studs to make the base secure.

The replacement countertop was test fitted and checked for levelness, both front-to-back and side-to-side. In this case, I needed to add a few shims get the top perfectly level. When I was ready for the final install, construction adhesive was laid down across the back in a continous bead. Large dollops of adhesive were placed on the front corners, and the top set into place.

After letting the top set overnight, I installed the drain tailpiece into the sink. Don't install this before the countertop is secured - it just makes the countertop harder to have to lift it higher, avoid banging the walls, etc. When installing the tailpiece, I like to use silicone sealer above and below the rubber washer to ensure a leak-proof seal. I also use a bead under the chrome ring that is in the sink basin.

And here's a picture of the countertop all installed and ready to go.

That's it for part 1 of week 15 - I'll have part 2 up in the next few days!

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