Introduction

installing a pedestal sink »
"There's something elegant about pedestal sinks," says This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey. "And they're perfect for a half bath, where a vanity would overwhelm the limited space."

Pedestal sinks were originally made of enameled cast iron, but by 1915 manufacturers began fabricating them from vitreous china, a glass-like porcelain. For all their stylish attributes, pedestal sinks present some installation challenges.

"This is the graduate school of do-it-yourself projects," Trethewey says. Drain and supply pipes must be roughed in at the right height. Completed pipe work has to look neat. And looming at every turn is the dreaded "tink," the sound porcelain makes when a fastener is tightened too much - and the china breaks.

Trethewey often gets calls from homeowners who've been stymied by some critical step in the process. "You must measure, measure, measure," he counsels. "Don't rely on the manufacturer's instruction sheet."
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    Tools List

    • hack saw
      Hacksaw,
      for cutting PVC and thick brass pipe
    • propane torch
      Propane torch,
      for soldering copper tubing joints
    • two-foot level
      1-foot level,
      for leveling basin
    • tongue-and-groove pliers
      Water-pump pliers,
      for gently tightening large nuts on drain pipes
    • crescent ratchet wrench
      Crescent wrench,
      for tightening small nuts on compression fittings
    • compact tubing cutter
      Compact tubing cutter,
      for cutting copper tubing in tight locations
    • tubing cutter
      Tubing cutter with reaming blade,
      for faster cutting on bigger, accessible tubing
    • wire brush
      Wire brush,
      for cleaning inside of copper tubing before soldering
    • basin wrench
      Basin wrench,
      for tightening the nuts on faucet valves and spouts in the virtually inaccessible regions under the sink's basin
    • socket wrench
      Socket wrench,
      for driving lag screw
    • drill
      Drill and bit,
      for drilling holes for lag screws
    • flathead screwdriver
      Slotted screwdriver,
      for attaching lift rod to actuator arm
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure

    Shopping List

    1. PEDESTAL SINK

    2. LEAD-FREE SOLDER

    3. PVC CLEANER AND SOLVENT

    for joining PVC pipe



    4. FLUX

    acidic paste applied to copper before soldering



    5. FINE-GRIT SANDPAPER ROLL

    for polishing the outside of copper tubing before soldering



    6. FENDER WASHERS AND 2 1/2-INCH LAG SCREWS, TWO EACH

    for attaching sink basin to wall) Damp cloth (for cleaning and wiping up freshly soldered joints



    7. SPRAY WATER BOTTLE

    for preventing fires that may be ignited while soldering



    8. BUCKET

    for collecting water drips



    9. PIPE DOPE

    Teflon-based paste for sealing pipe threads



    10. PLUMBER'S PUTTY

    for sealing drain and faucet flanges against the sink