Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bathroom vanity

The bathroom vanity was a builder's grade, $130 tri-fold from Home Depot.  The shelves were pressed fiber board stretching across 34 inches with no center support, so they were warping from weight of the items on them and the moisture in the bathroom air. 

I found a design from Kohler that I liked while browsing Lowes, but I wanted a three mirror front at 36 inches wide.  It turns out Kohler doesn't make one like that, so the search continued. 

I went to a few bathroom renovation shops in San Francisco, and one person tried to sell me on a single mirror, slide up front medicine cabinet that was nowhere near 36 inches (I wondered if she even listened when I told her what I was looking for) with a tv built into the mirror for the low price of $4,800!  Yes, I walked out. 

I found one that I liked on Home Depot's website made by Pegasus.  It was 36 inches wide, had three mirrored doors, aluminum frame, mirrored interior, and glass shelves.  Awesome!  I ordered it on-line for in store pick up.  At this point, you would think I measured the space from the top of the tiles to the vanity light.  I did not.  All vanities are the same height, right?  It would take about a week to arrive, so I started looking through pictures from the demo and rebuild to see where studs were and what my options may be for surface mounting versus recessed mounting.  My cousin insulated the walls, and reframed the space where the old medicine cabinet was recessed.  Translation: no recessed mounting unless I wanted to redo the whole wall.  Part of me thought about tearing out the wall from the back side, since I could just dry wall the hole, but it would be way more of a mess.  Anyhow, surface mounting was the only option, I decided.  Good thing all medicine cabinets have a standard height, right? 

I measured the current one - 28 inches tall - as I flash backed to the day we installed it.  Chuy asked if I did the measurements for the tile and light height to make sure it would fit.  Nope.  We dry-fitted it, and luckily it fit.  It had these little double sided stickers for the back of the cabinet to attach it to the wall.  I thought it was flimsy as hell.  Gil asked, "You wanna make sure it stays on?  We can glue it. We have hella glue left."  "Hell, why not?  I don't want it to possibly fall.  Plus, whey would I ever swap this out?!"  Liquid nails was applied to the backing when we installed.  We put it right at the top of the tile, and there were still about 2 inches of room to the bottom of the light.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.  The Amazon link above actually shows the height in the title.  Home Depot's does not.  I figured they're all about the same height because why not, right?  Well, this one is in fact 31 inches when surface mounted.  Since it's got a mirrored interior, there are no places to drill inside.  It has all external mounts including a bottom bracket and four top brackets.  Nowhere on the instructions does it list the total height needed to surface mount.  In case you're wondering, it's 31 and 5/16 inches.  How much space did I have from the top of the tile to the bottom of the light?  1/8 inches above 30 inches.  Great.  No problem.  I'll just chisel out some tile.

I looked at my safety goggles and gloves when I grabbed the chisel and hammer from the tool box.  "You won't need these, it's just 6 tiles," I told myself.  I chiseled the grout first, then went to work separating the tile from the wall.  The first one came out without issue.  The second one cracked in half, and my ninja quick reflexes kicked in, and I caught it before it shattered on the counter top.  Ouch, that was sharp.  Back to chiseling.  Four tiles down, I noticed my hammer was getting sticky.  The black handle still looked black, keep chiseling.  As pieces of grout and tile started flying, I decided to put an old towel over the counter.  Shoot, while I'm being safe, I might as well grab my gloves and goggles, too.  I put on my goggles and notices there's blood on them.  Fresh blood.  WTF, there was nothing on the hammer...  But, the tiniest cut on my finger was getting blood all over.  UGH.  Wash, bandaid, gloves and goggles on, I returned to chiseling.  I got all the pieces of tile off and looked at the wall.  

I measured from the new top of the tile to the bottom of the light - 32 and 7/16 inches.  "oooh, I can mount the bottom bracket 5/8 inches above the top of the tile, and I can cover the screws and bracket with a 1/2  inch of tile! 

Mounting was easy.  Thanks to all the framing inside the wall, three of the fours screws are studded, and only one needed a hollow wall anchor.  Sandra helped me dry fit the medicine cabinet.  I marked the holes for the top, then removed it.  Again, thanks to all the excess framing inside the wall, three of the four screws were studded, and I only needed one wall anchor.  Sandra helped me mount the medicine cabinet again, and I secured the screws on top. 

I did not install the side mirrors.  The shelves went in easily.  I wish I could adjust the height of them.  They're secured by a top and bottom bracket.  I wish at least one side had some sort of silicone coating to prevent the shelf from sliding. 

A few things I didn't quite love about this cabinet: each door's mirror was beveled all the way around.  There are 1/2 inch gaps in between each door.  Each shelf has printing on it that show where it was made and that the glass is tempered.