bathroom

Bathroom Vanity Ikea Hack

2 weeks ago I decided my pink 80's vanity had to go. It occupies a 1680mm space in the "powder room", which is not exactly a standard size for a vanity unit.

Ikea to the rescue. Having installed an Ikea kitchen before, I had an idea of the pain and suffering that was to come. The cabinets are decent, but do have some oddities. For example, Ikea vanity drawers are not solid, they use a weird slat system. On the plus side, the runner mechanism is an Australian manufactured Blum part with soft close.

Ikea vanity before and after Before and after

Ikea vanity drawers Ikea vanity drawers are weird, but work well

To fill the space I needed 3 Ikea GODMORGON cabinets - one 80cm unit, and two 40cm units.

Ikea vanity benchtops are only 120cm long, so I used one of their kitchen benchtops. I went for the EKBACKEN "concrete" look model. I had to cut it to size - kitchen benchtops are 60cm deep, versus 49cm for a bathroom benchtops.

The sink is a HORVIK and the tap is the tall version BROGRUND. Note that the sink includes a trap.

Plumbing was surprisingly easy. The trap Ikea supply is designed to fit in a compact space. It gets tucked at the back behind the drawers.

Basic install notes

These cabinets need to be bolted to wall studs. You will probably find that the studs do not line up with all of the cabinet mounts. What you can do is run a small timber rail along the length of the wall for the cabinets to rest on. That will allow you to screw the rail into the wall studs at the bottom.

For the cabinets themselves, as long as you can get at least 2 of the mount points lined up to studs - that is fine. For the other mounts, drill 25kg rated wall mate plasterboard anchors in.

Ikea vanity install

Cabinet joiners

Cross connect the cabinets using these handy cabinet joiners (one per each corner of each cabinet).

The benchtop can be installed using some silicon caulk along the tops of the cabinets, with l-brackets if you feel a stronger bond is needed.

Finishing touches

  • used a bench off cut at the back of the bench to "frame" the vanity unit
  • cut down some Ikea gloss white filler panels to fill the edge gaps
  • charcoal black caulk between the sink and bench, and the back of the bench
  • white caulk along the wall edges

Costs

Here is the cost break down (in Aussie dollars):

Item Price
HORVIK Sink $149
BROGRUND Tap $129
GODMORGON 20cm cabinet $230
GODMORGON 20cm cabinet $230
GODMORGON 40cm cabinet $320
EKBACKEN Worktop $79
Caulk white $10
Caulk "charcoal" $10
Plumbing supplies $30
Total $1,187

Overall I'm happy with these cabinets.

/eof

How to replace your exhaust fan

Is your old exhaust fan too noisy? does it let cold air through from your ceiling cavity? Exhaust fans are easy to replace. I’ll show you how.

Warning
Ensure the power is off to the exhaust fan before you do any work on it. Go to your electrical box and turn off the circuit the fan is on. It may be on the light circuit or one of your power circuits. If you are in doubt, don't do any work. If you're Australian, all electrical work involving wiring must be performed by a licenced electrician.

So, can you do the work yourself? It depends what sort of power cable you have. Climb into your ceiling and have a look. If you can see a single thick cable in the ceiling, and it is connected to an outlet - you can do the work yourself. If you can see a cable that appears to be 3 separate cables joined together, then what you have is “twin and earth”. That means the fan is hard wired, and you should call an electrician.

How to Replace it

Step 1. Measure

Grab a ruler and measure the diameter of your existing fan opening (take the cover off first). Now go to the store and buy a new exhaust fan the same diameter. Note that some come with ducting and some don’t. In my state, it is legal (and usual) to vent straight into the ceiling cavity - so I haven’t bothered installing a duct. Make sure you get an exhaust fan with a “draft stopper” built in.

A draft stopper is a small, spring-loaded flap that starts off closed, but when the fan is on the flap opens and allows air to pass through. This stops ceiling drafts coming back down during winter and freezing you.

original fan

Step 2. Unscrew the old fan

Before you do this, get up in the ceiling and unplug the exhaust fan. Now you can safely remove the fan.

There will be a series of screws around the rim of the fan. These screws are connected to small clamps/brackets. Support the fan with one hand, and work your way around the fan, unscrewing as you go.

original fan with cover off

Step 3. Remove the old fan

Now you should be able to lift the old fan out.

original fan with cover off

Step 4. Install the new fan

Have a look at the new fan before you install it. Pay special attention to the clips that secure the fan to the ceiling. They should all be tucked in. As soon as you start turning the screws, they will pop out to clamp the fan in place.

Lift the power cord through first. If you can safely plug the fan in, do it now - then lift the fan into place and tighten all of the screws around the rim.

Make sure the fan is secure before you move your hands away.

original fan with cover off

Step 5. Install new cover

If you couldn’t plug the fan in during installation, get in the ceiling now and plug it in.

Now you can turn the power circuits back on. Once on, go test the fan. If it doesn’t work, turn the power back off and check the connections. If the connections are fine, you might have a dead fan (you will need to return it to the store).

If everything is working, push the new cover into place, turning as you push to lock it into place.

original fan with cover off

Enjoy your new fan.

/eof