Need opinion on mounting bathroom sink

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Dan W., Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Hi! This is my first post here. I've spent a lot of time at johnbridge for tile work, and I see that site mentioned here often, so I'm sure this is a good resource as well. Here's my issue:

    I'm redoing a half bath and need to mount a massive porcelain sink to the wall. The sink was made by Pegasus and is 36" wide by 22" deep. There are two porcelain legs for the sink to rest on, while the back of the sink lowers down onto a metal bracket that is screwed into the wall. The instructions appear to be translated into English from Chinese, so you know how that goes. :) They recommend that you mount a 2x4 between the studs and screw into that, or even lag screw with toggle bolts through the 2x4. My wall is configured a little differently, as shown in the attached photo. I've got cinderblock with 3/4" furring strips. The area in the photo is now sheetrocked so whatever I do I'll have to cut out a hole. So the question is what is sufficiently strong to hold this sink, which weighs about 75 lbs? Here's what I was considering to do: Nail a 1x4 or 1x5 to the cinderblock with those flat cinderblock nails (I used about two boxes of 'em in the adjoining room). Put the sheetrock back and drill through the sheetrock, 1x5 and through the cinderblock. Tile the wall, leaving a gap for the 4 holes in the metal bracket. Then, I'd mount the bracket with 4 toggle bolts going through tile, sheetrock, wood and cinderblock. It seems to me this would be enough, but is there a better way to do it?

    A related question: I need to move the sink about a foot to the left of where the existing drain is. The other side of the wall is open to the basement, so I was going to cut the copper pipe and punch a new hole to the left for a new drain in PVC. However, I want to leave the hot and cold lines where they are (long story short, it'll be a real pain to move them). The sink is massive so I don't think you'll really see that the hot/cold lines are not centered around the drain. For reference, in the photo there is a hole in the cinderblock about a foot to the left of the drain, and about a foot higher. I'll be mounting the bracket against the cinderblock above this hole. So the new drain line will be at the same height as the existing one and directly under the bracket.

    Thanks for any comments!

    Attached Files:

  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    Drill a hole big enough to then put a stack of washers over the shaft of the toggle bolt so you can fill the space between the cinderblock and the ouside of the drywall. then, when you tighten it down, you won't be trying to compress the drywall, and will be tightening it up on the washers. If you had some pipe, you could cut it and use it as a spacer as well. Or even a holesaw, and use wood. If the wall isn't straight, or the sink isn't flat, don't try to tighten it too much, or you'll crack the porcelain.
  3. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Washers! Beautiful... so much easier. One point of clarification, though. The back end of the toggle is obviously going to spring out and latch against the back of the cinderblock. The front end of the toggle bolt is going through a metal bracket, which is a plate about 6" long and 3" high. So the toggle is securing this plate to the wall, and the porcelain sink then slips over the plate to bear its weight. So the weight is really being held by the cinderblock alone. I guess the washers will provide some stiffness behind the wall so that I'm not trying to collapse the tiled wall when I tighten the plate.

    Just trying to figure out exactly what is holding the weight.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    Think of the washers as an extension of the cinderblock wall so it is now flush with the drywall. WHen you tighten things down, the bracket will be tight to the cinderblock, and if you get your spacer the proper depth, up against the drywall (but applying no pressure). The bracket will be as strong as if it was attached directly to the cinderblocks. So, if I understand what you have, the bracket would be attached by the toggle bolts to the cinderblock wall, then you hang the sink on the bracket. You can use whatever you want for the spacers to fill that depth as long as it won't compress - this is what allows you to get it tight.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,226
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The weight is a "shear" weight, actually, NOTHING is supporting the sink other than the downward force on the toggle bolts, and the strength of the bolt itself. Therefore, you can just use toggle bolts which hold the plate to the drywall, and unless the toggle bolt is "sheared off" it will hold the sink.
  6. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    It makes sense that the bracket installation is only as strong as the toggle bolts. However, it would seem to me that if you put something solid like washers or a 2x4 behind the bracket, it gives something strong for the bracket to tighten up against. If nothing solid were there other than tiled sheetrock, I might be able to over tighten the bracket and deform the wall and/or crack the tile. With the washers or pipe at the correct thickness, you aren't putting any stress at all on the wall.

    I have to add that this might be a moot point. We are looking at the sink and are starting to think it is just too big for this small bathroom. We got the sink for 80% off about a year ago, and will rarely use this bathroom. Even so, I'm not sure that is a good enough reason to use something that is really too big. Anyway, whatever sink we do use may have this same problem, so it's not a wasted discussion.

    Thanks again!
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    Any wall-hung sink needs a solid surface (blocking when sheet materials are used) behind it to ensure it doesn't come off the wall if someone puts undue weight on it (like a child climbing up). The pedestal, if it has one, provides some additional, significant support, and will definately improve the overall stability.
  8. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you for the discussion. I think I've got what I need to do it right. Prolly my next post will be on installing the toilet. I am going to tile over the existing floor, so the toilet flange will be a little low. I assume the bolts will be long enough to tighten down the new toilet and maybe I can use a double wax ring to make up the small gap. I'll have to measure how much gap there is after I get the new floor down, and see if someone can point me in the right direction on that.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    If you have access, put the flange on top of the finished floor where it is designed to be. There are extension rings that can be used, if required.
  10. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I'm not sure what you mean by access. The flange is currently flush with the old floor, and there is a small gap between the flange and the mud/tile. It's a little beat up looking, but the pipe looks to be sound. I like the idea of bolting something like a new flange to the existing one if that's what you are getting at. Cutting out the existing flange is a bit beyond my experience level, and I'm hoping not to have to go that far. What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    That sort of looks like a lead toilet bend over a steel ring. You'll want to at a minimum replace the bolts. If you have access from underneath, you could cut that out and replace with pvc or abs. Otherwise, I'd think of calling a plumber. You could probably just use two wax rings, but I'm not certain that you could install a repair ring on that and get a reliable seal. See what the pros have to say. Two rings, new bolts, and you might be okay. Is the ring actually anchored to anything? Remember, that's what holds the toilet in place other than gravity.
  12. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    It is a lead pipe with a metal flange around it. I cleaned out the grooves of the flange and was able to remove the rusted bolt so at least the flange seems OK structurally. It is tight against the pipe and floor on the right side in the picture, and only moves a little if you tap a chisel under it. I don't want to mess with it too much. I don't have any access to the pipe from underneath. It goes right through the cement foundation and into the exposed header in the basement. I think I'd much prefer to at least try two wax rings rather than bust everything out and redo a good pipe. I'm curious if there are any good alternatives to the double wax ring. Just a side thought - if the second wax ring is a bit too wide, won't a good amount of it be squeezed into the pipe itself? Will it disintegrate over time? I just paid $900 to have all the old headers pressure blasted out to the street, including some construction debris. I'd hate to introduce new blockage after all of that.
  13. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    This is a question about the toilet flange:

    I've pretty much completed the tile work in the bathroom, and need to start looking at putting a toilet in. Since I tiled over the existing floor with a thin tile, I'm ony about a 1/2 inch higher than the floor was originally. The ring is a little crooked (see photo above) but it's a 1/2 inch plus or minus a little. This seems like not enough space for two rings. Can I cut one in half? Will one ring do the job? Can someone recommend a solution?

    Thanks.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    A flange extender and then a normal wax ring, or stacked wax rings, or a waxless seal will all work. Terry likes to use one with a horn (on top) then a standard one below. The horn helps prevent the excess wax from collapsing into the flange and blocking things. Many people don't like those with a horn, as it can give grief if not installed properly, or you have a 3" drain pipe if things aren't aligned properly.
  15. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    OK, so I'll look for a flange extender and/or the horn. Is the horn a wax ring with a kind of plastic guard around it, that slips down into the flange? I'm not sure if that's what you are referring to. I ask because I'm not confident anybody at Home Depot will know what I'm talking about.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    Wax rings are available in various thicknesses, and with a horn or funnel embedded in them. It will be obvious when you look at what's available there. I'd just use a waxless ring...cost a little more, but a lot cleaner, especially if you ever decide to take the toilet up (say to paint behind it or replace) - no wax to muck with.
  17. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    OK, great. I kind of like the idea of a thicker wax ring if I can find one thick enough. But, I'll check into the waxless ones as well.

    Thanks for letting me know my options!
  18. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    OK, hopefully my last dumb question. The ring package says to apply an inch high layer of plumber's putty all around the perimeter of the toilet before placing the toilet on the floor. This sounded like an awful lot of putty. Plus, the toilet at my store has no putty at all. It was grouted in with a pretty thick layer of grout, and it is nice and stable for 5 years now. Do I need putty, or is grout fine???
  19. Dan W.

    Dan W. New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Oops. Nevermind. I found another post asking the same question. It seems to me that grout would work well, and would act as a shim, but it would be difficult to remove the toilet without cracking it in the future. If the floor isn't quite level and I need to shim the toilet, is there anything typically used for this? I don't want to use wood shims for obvious reasons.
  20. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,798
    Location:
    New England
    You can buy plastic shims. Look in the area where they sell doors. You don't want the short, steep ones they sell to level furniture. Personally, I just use some coins - pennies, dimes, nickels unless it is really far off. Some places require you to seal around the front of the toilet. This prevents 'misses' from leaking underneath where it is really hard to then clean. The recommended material for this seems to be Polyseamseal. This will come off later as opposed to say something like silicon caulk. Leave the back open.
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