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How Bathroom Cabinets Are Built

Faceframe cabinets feature doors that overlay the cabinet's front frame.

[/media-credit] Faceframe cabinets feature doors that overlay the cabinet’s front frame.

Bathroom cabinet may be either built-in—just like kitchen cabinets—or freestanding, like a piece of furniture.

Built-in bathroom cabinets have a construction that is either face frame or frameless (also called “European-style”). Most manufacturers make only one or the other. American manufacturers make primarily the face-frame type, though some also produce frameless models with European styling.

 

Frameless cabinet features hidden hinges, maximum storage. Face-frame cabinets are more rigid and affordable to build.  ©HomeTips

Face-frame Bathroom Cabinets

As the name implies, a face-frame cabinet has a frame made from 1-by-2 hardwood on the front of the 3/4-inch plywood or particleboard cabinet box. The frame makes the cabinet rigid and provides a strong base for hinges. Doors or draw fronts typically overlay the frame, but they may be flush or offset. On face-frame cabinets, standard offset hinges are partially visible from the front.[GARD align=”right”]

Because of the added rigidity from the frame, these cabinets don’t have a top panel, and they have only a partial back or a back made of thin material. They have integral bases. The frame can be shaved to fit an irregular wall and makes it possible to use affordable, low-quality materials for cabinet sides. The face frame narrows the opening size for doors and drawers.

 

Frameless Bathroom Cabinets

Frameless European-style cabinets are constructed like boxes, from panels finished on both sides and edged with a simple laminate banding or narrow strip. Most types have holes drilled at 32-mm increments vertically along each cabinet side panel; these may be fitted with European hinges, cabinet joinery fittings, drawer slides, shelf pins, and other hardware.

European-style frameless bath cabinet has flush doors with hidden hinges.

[/media-credit] European-style frameless bath cabinet has flush doors with hidden hinges. Though most stand on the floor, this cabinet is wall-mounted.

Most frameless cabinets have flush doors and hidden hinges. Frameless cabinets usually have a solid top and back and base units and are commonly mounted on top of a separate plinth or toe-kick.

 

Freestanding Bathroom Cabinets

Freestanding cabinets generally look like a piece of furniture—a console vanity or small chest of drawers, for example. These have grown increasingly popular over recent years as bathrooms have taken on the look of living spaces.

Freestanding console cabinets usually have legs, giving them a less bulky feel than conventional cabinetry. Their openness works well in minimal-space bathrooms.

Many manufactured console cabinets have shelves, doors, and drawers, though the plumbing beneath the sink  interrupts the full use of drawers and shelves, so false fronts are typically used for some drawers or cabinets.

They work especially well with bathroom sinks that sit on top of the counter (rather than flush with the counter), because with a countertop sink, the bowl doesn’t consume cabinet space.

In some cases, furniture made for other rooms—such as a bedroom vanity—can be converted for use a bathroom cabinet. To do this, drawers and shelves must be modified to allow for the sink and plumbing.

 

Furniture-style cabinets really make a bathroom feel like a "living space" while creating a strong sense of style.

[/media-credit] Furniture-style cabinets really make a bathroom feel like a “living space” while creating a strong sense of style.

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Bathroom Cabinet Contractor

How Cabinet Pivot Hinges Work

A cabinet pivot hinge

Designed for mounting overlay doors—the type of doors that overlap a cabinet’s frame—the pivot hinge is formed from two bent metal pieces joined at a single pivot point.

Top- and bottom-mounting pivot hinges are sold in mirror-image pairs, one for the top of a door and the other for the bottom. Center-mount types are meant to be notched intermediately into the edge of a door. Screws in adjustable, elongated holes attach the leaves to the cabinet frame and back of the door.

One of the benefits of a pivot hinge is that, when the cabinet door is closed, the hinge is barely visible.

How to Install Bathroom Accessories

Although they’re frequently an afterthought, the accessories in a bathroom-the towel bars, soap dishes, toilet paper holder, and so forth-can tie together the room’s design elements, or create discord. Many fixture manufacturers have created accessories to coordinate with their sinks, toilets, and tubs to take the guesswork out of selection.

how to install bathroom accessories

Towel rings, towel bars, and paper holders are easy to install. Photo: Moen

No matter the type of accessory, it needs to be fastened securely to the wall. In a perfect world, there would be a wall stud wherever you wanted to attach an accessory, but this is rarely the case. The alternative is to use some type of hollow-wall fastener.

These fasteners are designed to grip the wall when the fastener is driven in. There are four common types: plastic inserts, self-tapping aluminum inserts, Molly bolts, and toggle bolts.

Plastic inserts are driven into a hole drilled in the wall and expand when a screw is inserted; they’re best for light-duty applications. Aluminum inserts are driven directly into the wall and then accept a screw to secure an accessory. Molly bolts work well for a specific wall thickness (such as 1/2-inch drywall).[GARD align=”left”]

When a machine bolt is driven into the installed bolt, “wings” expand to grip the wall. Toggle bolts require a relatively large hole in the wall but do an excellent job of supporting medium- and heavy-duty loads.

Whenever possible, try to attach at least one mounting screw of an accessory to a wall stud.


1Position the accessory roughly where you want it and then use an electronic stud finder to locate studs in that area. Lightly mark their positions with a pencil.

 

 


2Reposition the accessory so at least one mounting screw can be driven into a stud and mark through the accessory’s mounting hole onto the wall. Drill appropriate-sized holes for either screws or hollow-wall fasteners.

 

 


3Install hollow-wall fasteners as needed. Make sure that the decorative plate of the accessory will cover the fastener when mounted.

 

 


4Attach the accessory firmly to the wall using screws or bolts. Take care not to over-tighten as they can strip out. Note that many accessories (including the one shown here) don’t attach directly to the wall; instead, a mounting plate is screwed to the wall, and the accessory is then attached to the mounting plate with a set screw.copyright-sun

 

How to Install a Medicine Cabinet

Most medicine cabinets are mounted on the wall surface or in a recess. Installing a surface-mount medicine cabinet is about as simple as hanging a picture.

Installing a surface-mounted medicine cabinet is a relatively easy DIY project.

Even if your existing cabinet is mounted in a recess, you can upgrade to a larger surface-mounted type.[GARD align=”left”]

Medicine cabinets come with sliding, hinged, or pivoting doors, in one, two, or three sections, and a vast number of materials and styles to match almost any decor.

You can also update an outmoded built-in medicine cabinet by simply removing it from the wall, packing the empty cavity with insulation, and covering the hole with a larger surface-mounted medicine cabinet.

Level the cabinet where you want it and lightly mark a line underneath it.

The most important thing to keep in mind when installing a surface-mount medicine cabinet is that it can become quite heavy when full so it must be attached securely to the wall studs.

1Hold the medicine cabinet in place, level and centered over the sink, and trace along its bottom edge lightly with a pencil. If necessary, have someone help you with this step.

 

Use an electronic stud finder to locate wall studs.

 

 

2Using a stud finder, locate and then mark the positions of the studs within the marked area, and transfer these to the inside of the cabinet.

 

 

Fasten through a structural part of the cabinet back to the wall studs.

 

3Drill four 1/8-inch-diameter holes through the back panel of the cabinet at the marked locations. Most cabinets have a cleat or hanging rail at the top of the back to help support the cabinet’s weight; make sure the top two holes are drilled through this cleat. Secure the cabinet to the wall studs with the screws provided. If you can’t hit the wall studs at each location, use hollow wall fasteners.[GARD align=”right”]

 

Find Local Pre-Screened Cabinet Installers

How to Install Bathroom Cabinets

Few elements affect the feel and functioning of a bathroom as much as the cabinetry. Installing cabinetry does not require professional skills, but an eye for precision is all-important.

From a small console like this to large bathroom base cabinets, installation is basically the same: position, level, and attach to the wall.

If you’re installing more than one base cabinet, you will need to make sure the units are level, plumb, and flush with each other so that they will work properly and look right. To ensure this, the first cabinet must be level and plumb, both from side to side and front to back, because all of the other cabinets will be aligned to it.[GARD align=”left”]

A corner cabinet should be installed first. Plan to put in cabinets after rough wiring and plumbing but before new flooring.

If the cabinets don’t arrive assembled, put them together according to the manufacturer’s directions, with the exception of the doors, shelves, and drawers. For preassembled cabinets, remove these parts, labeling them to take the guesswork out of reassembly.

The wall to which you are affixing the cabinets should be smooth, level, and clean. Place a long straightedge against it to make sure it’s flat. Mark any bumps or bulges.

During installation, tap short pieces of wood shingles, or shims, beneath and/or behind the cabinets as necessary to make slight adjustments. If the irregularities are significant, compensate for them by using a scribe rail.

Upper cabinets should be fastened securely to wall studs, particularly if they will be loaded with heavier items such as small appliances or big containers of bathroom cleansers.

Most cabinets have a support rail that runs across the back; screw through this or through a strong part of the cabinet. For each cabinet, use at least three screws that penetrate the wall studs by a minimum 1 1/2 inches.

Step-by-Step Bath Cabinet Installation

Installing a freestanding bathroom base cabinet can be a relatively easy DIY project and, with the right tools and materials, can be accomplished in a weekend. However, it’s easy to get a quote from a local cabinet installation contractor if you feel the job’s too much to handle yourself.

If you choose to do it yourself, here’s how:

Use a stud finder to locate wall studs.

1Using a stud finder, locate the wall studs to which the cabinet will attach.

Mark the stud locations on the wall with a pencil where you’ll be able to see the marks after the cabinet is in place.

Draw straight vertical lines to indicate the center of the studs.

 

 

Level the cabinet, installing shims as required.

2Level the cabinet from front to back and from side to side (if necessary, use shims to raise it to the high point of the floor or to adjust its position).

Note: On some vanities, such as the one shown, adjustable levelers built into the legs eliminate the need for shims.

 

Fasten the cabinet’s back rail to the wall.

3Drive screws through the cabinet back rail (and shims) into the wall studs.

Trim the shims with a sharp chisel or knife so they won’t be visible when the countertop is in place.

With the sink and faucet set installed, position the countertop and attach it to the cabinet from underneath.

If installing a cabinet looks like a little more than you want to try to do yourself, please see: Find Local Pre-Screened Cabinet Installers

Bathroom Cabinets Buying Guide

Faceframe cabinets feature doors that overlay the cabinet's front frame.

[/media-credit] Faceframe cabinets feature doors that overlay the cabinet’s front frame.

Bathroom cabinets are essential to storage and organization in a bathroom, and they often serve as the support for the bathroom sink.

Vanity cabinets do just this, and often provide two or three drawers and a cupboard for under-sink storage. They may be capped with almost any countertop material from laminate to stone. Tall cabinets and wall cabinets, built just like their kitchen counterparts, can provide generous storage for linens and more.[GARD align=”left”]

When building a new bathroom or giving an existing bathroom a facelift, it pays to give special attention to the cabinets as early as possible because they often set the stage for the rest of the room’s design and, in many cases, they may take longer to get than other components.

When you begin to shop, you’ll find almost endless possibilities, from custom-made, elegant hardwood masterpieces to low-priced bargains that you can buy at the home improvement center and install in a day. And you’ll find that almost any style and size is possible.

Frameless cabinet features hidden hinges, maximum storage. Face-frame cabinets are more rigid and affordable to build. ©HomeTips

Bathroom cabinet may be either built-in—just like kitchen cabinets—or freestanding, like a piece of furniture.

Conventional bathroom vanity cabinets are typically 31 to 33 1/2 inches tall and 18 or 21 inches deep. Widths can range from 24 inches to 60 inches or more.

Built-in bathroom cabinets have a construction that is either face frame or frameless (also called “European-style”). Most manufacturers make only one or the other. American manufacturers make primarily the face-frame type, though some also produce frameless models with European styling.

 

Face-frame Bathroom Cabinets

As the name implies, a face-frame cabinet has a frame made from 1-by-2 hardwood on the front of the 3/4-inch plywood or particleboard cabinet box. The frame makes the cabinet rigid and provides a strong base for hinges. Doors or draw fronts typically overlay the frame, but they may be flush or offset. On face-frame cabinets, standard offset hinges are partially visible from the front.[GARD align=”right”]

Because of the added rigidity from the frame, these cabinets don’t have a top panel, and they have only a partial back or a back made of thin material. They have integral bases. The frame can be shaved to fit an irregular wall and makes it possible to use affordable, low-quality materials for cabinet sides. The face frame narrows the opening size for doors and drawers.

European-style frameless bath cabinet has flush doors with hidden hinges.

[/media-credit] European-style frameless bath cabinet has flush doors with hidden hinges. Though most stand on the floor, this cabinet is wall-mounted.

Frameless Bathroom Cabinets

Frameless European-style cabinets are constructed like boxes, from panels finished on both sides and edged with a simple laminate banding or narrow strip. Most types have holes drilled at 32-mm increments vertically along each cabinet side panel; these may be fitted with European hinges, cabinet joinery fittings, drawer slides, shelf pins, and other hardware.

Most frameless cabinets have flush doors and hidden hinges. Frameless cabinets usually have a solid top and back and base units and are commonly mounted on top of a separate plinth or toe-kick.

 

Freestanding Bathroom Cabinets

Freestanding cabinets generally look like a piece of furniture—a console vanity or small chest of drawers, for example. These have grown increasingly popular over recent years as bathrooms have taken on the look of living spaces.

Freestanding console cabinets usually have legs, giving them a less bulky feel than conventional cabinetry. Their openness works well in minimal-space bathrooms.

Many manufactured console cabinets have shelves, doors, and drawers, though the plumbing beneath the sink interrupts the full use of drawers and shelves, so false fronts are typically used for some drawers or cabinets.

They work especially well with bathroom sinks that sit on top of the counter (rather than flush with the counter), because with a countertop sink, the bowl doesn’t consume cabinet space.

In some cases, furniture made for other rooms—such as a bedroom vanity—can be converted for use a bathroom cabinet. To do this, drawers and shelves must be modified to allow for the sink and plumbing.

 

Furniture-style cabinets really make a bathroom feel like a "living space" while creating a strong sense of style.

[/media-credit] Furniture-style cabinets really make a bathroom feel like a “living space” while creating a strong sense of style.

Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Bathroom Cabinet Contractor

 

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