Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Remove an Old Wall Mounted Sink


How to Remove a Wall Mounted Sink
When my hubby and I bought our old house, we knew that eventually we would need to remodel the upstairs bathroom. But since there were lots of other house projects on the list that were more pressing (i.e. lack of air conditioning, broken sidewalk, basement plumbing issues, wimpy hot water heater, etc.), we didn't make any plans to address it...

...until the old wall mounted sink started leaking on the floor. A closer inspection revealed the bottom was rusting out, which wasn't surprising considering the sink was possibly as old as the house (over 105 years old) or at least 80 years old (it looks like a sink from the 1920's). While a full bathroom remodel was still out of the question, replacing the old wall mounted sink with a new, inexpensive vanity and sink was doable.
Old Wall Mounted Sink
The old sink.
I have done a few odd plumbing jobs over the years, so I felt fairly confident that Google and I could tackle the project together.

The first step was removing the old sink. Here are the steps I followed to complete this task: (Forgive me if I don't use the correct term for each part. I'm not well-versed in plumber-speak.)

1. Turn off the water supply at the wall.
Righty tighty, lefty loosey. I have to say it out loud every time. I then turned on the faucets to make sure the water was really off.

2. Place an empty bucket underneath to catch any leftover water in the lines. Unscrew the water lines from the wall and from the faucets underneath the sink.
There is a special tool to reach the faucet nut if it's hard to reach, but I was able to manage with a long handled wrench.
Remove water lines
The water supply line removed from the wall and from the faucet. It was still in fairly good shape, so I saved it in case it would work for the new sink. (It ended up being too short.)
3. Loosen the nut connecting the trap (the curved pipe-- might be a P-trap or a J-trap or some other letter-trap) from the sink tail pipe (the straight pipe) coming down out of the sink. Keep your bucket right under it to catch the water in the trap.
This is where things got interesting. While trying to loosen the connection, the whole tail pipe broke right off the sink. Either I'm Xena, Warrior Princess with super human strength, or that pipe was really rusted. I have suspicions it was the latter.
Tail pipe broke off old sink
Who needs a wrench when you can just bust the pipe clean off?
Tail pipe broke off old sink
Almost a century's worth of spit, toothpaste, hair, and other gunk.
4. Finish removing the trap from the wall pipe. 
I took the next section of the curved pipe off but didn't fully remove it from the wall at this point (see pictures under step #6). I didn't take pictures because there was a lot of hair in the pipe, and it was gross. Not saying whose hair it was...

5. Cut and remove all caulking that connects the sink to the wall.
I just used a utility knife, because I wasn't worried about scratching the sink or the wall. If you need to protect your wall, be very careful attacking the caulk with a knife.
Remove caulking from old sink
Cutting the caulk with a utility knife.
Remove caulking from old sink
There was caulk all along the top and side of the sink.
5. Lift sink straight up and off the wall mounting bracket.
I'll admit this stage had me stumped. If you looked up under the sink, you could see a wall bracket, and it looked like the sink was bolted right to it. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how I was supposed to unscrew the sink from the wall. It just didn't seem possible. A quick Google search revealed that I didn't need to unscrew the sink at all--it was just resting right on the bracket. This video was incredibly helpful, and I wish I had watched it before I started this whole project- http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/25069/how-to-remove-an-old-bathroom-sink

It was a "light bulb/face palm" kind of moment. I waited until hubby got home to help me, because that sink was HEAVY. We both took a side and lifted it straight up. It came right off the bracket with no trouble.
Lift old sink of wall mount bracket
The wall mounting bracket, minus the sink.
Back of old wall mount sink
The back of the sink-- you can see the two metal tabs that had sat down in the bracket. That's all that was holding this baby to the wall, plus a little bit of caulk.
Lift old sink of wall mount bracket
The wall minus the sink, the water lines, and the trap. Notice the bucket. Don't forget the bucket.
6. Unscrew the wall bracket, remove the rest of the caulking, and prepare the wall for the new sink.
The bracket unscrewed from the wall, leaving some nice holes behind. I sanded down the holes in the tile board to provide a smooth surface for the next sink. As you can see in this picture, I hadn't removed the rest of the trap from the wall pipe. I figured I would get to it when I installed the new trap system. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as my next post will reveal.
Old sink removed
We were sinkless for a few days. We brushed our teeth over the bathtub.
In the words of George Costanza: "It's all pipes!"
That's it! The hardest part was moving the heavy sink. It's still sitting in the upstairs hallway until we can figure out what to do with it. Stay tuned for my next post on installing the new sink... that's where the real fun begins.

~Mulligan Mama, aka Xena, Warrior Princess