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(60-inch cabinet installed)
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While a vanity is not necessary to include a sink in your bathroom design, it can add style and function to the room. Vanities offer storage, counter space, and a unique look that can complete a design.
Two categories of vanities are wall hung and floor mounted. Both have great attributes as well as drawbacks to consider. We outline the differences between them so that you can make a more informed decision for your home.
Wall hung vanities tend to have a more contemporary appearance. Without legs, the vanity becomes more streamlined and slightly more minimalistic in design. In addition, wall hung vanities give the illusion of a larger room. Because the floor extends beneath the vanity, it makes the area appear larger by creating an unbroken surface on the floor. Technically, they take up the same amount of room, but they fit small bathrooms better from a visual standpoint.
Floor mounted vanities range from elaborate and ornate to sleek and minimal in design. They may have curves, bump outs, and other pieces that are more difficult to create in a wall hung vanity. They also have a more solid appearance because they are mounted directly to the floor.
Wall hung vanities do not extend to the floor. They vary in height and width but tend to be shorter than a floor mounted vanity of the same width. Therefore, they often provide less storage space than a floor mounted vanity.
However, both offer different styles. Floor mounted vanities may be open and only include a shelf, while a wall mounted vanity may have concealed drawers. Overall, most floor mounted vanities supply more storage for the same amount of wall area than a wall hung vanity.
Installation for floor mounted vanities is much easier and faster than the installation of a wall mounted version.
Floor mounted vanities are usually simply set in place. Occasionally, they may be screwed to the wall behind. This is generally unnecessary because the plumbing and caulk that fill the gaps around the top of the sink also hold the vanity in place. Once properly located, the top is installed with a silicone adhesive, and the sink and faucet are hooked up.
For wall mounted vanities, the wall needs to be specifically framed and reinforced to hold the vanity. In some cases, this involves a steel carrier that is fitted into the wall. In other instances, bracing may be placed across the studs before the wall is sheetrocked. The vanity is then screwed directly into the bracing and studs or is “hung” on the carrier where it protrudes from the wall. The exact method of installation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Often a template is included with the vanity as well as any necessary carriers or mounting equipment.
Once the vanity is in place, the installation of the top, sink, and plumbing is similar to the floor mounted vanity.
The average cost of a vanity is around $1,100 for a basic 60-inch cabinet and is roughly the same for wall hung and floor mounted cabinets. Both have a range of associated costs with options, styles, finishes, and materials and end up costing roughly the same for similarly sized and styled cabinets. Larger cabinets, designer cabinets, and cabinets made from specialty materials always cost more than readymade and basic cabinets. A wooden, slab-style cabinet measuring 60-inches will cost around $1,100 for both floor mounted and wall mounted versions. While the wall mounted cabinet is slightly smaller, the cost of manufacturing tends to be higher, evening out the total cost.
The difference between the two comes in the installation cost. Installation for a regular vanity is fast, with the plumbing hook up taking the longest at about an hour.
The installation of a wall hung vanity takes considerably longer, however, particularly if the wall must be opened and braced before installation. Therefore, while the average floor mounted vanity may cost about $100 to install, a wall hung cabinet will likely take a carpenter 3 to 4 hours to install properly, at a rate of $70 an hour, for a total of $210 to $280 for installation.
The final cost for a floor mounted cabinet is around $1,200 installed, while a wall mounted cabinet is between $1,310 and $1,390 installed.
As far as cleaning and maintaining the vanity, this depends on what the vanity is made of. Floor mounted vanities may be more ornate or have drawers, doors, shelves, and details that make care more time-consuming. Or, the floor mounted vanity may be contemporary and made of an easy-to-care-for surface material.
Wall mounted vanities are usually more simple in design, and many contemporary versions may be made from easy-to-clean materials.
Because a wall hung vanity offers unimpeded space below, cleaning the floor may be easier. Floor mounted vanities may have issues with dirt or water collecting around the toe kick, which can cause damage to the vanity as well as more difficulties in keeping the area clean.
When installing a wall hung vanity, it is important to keep in mind that the floor will be completely visible. Therefore, any flooring installed must go to the edges of the wall.
Floor mounted vanities may be installed in two ways. First, the floor may be finished, and the vanity set on top. This gives you options for changing the vanity in the future without disturbing or changing the floor.
Second, if the vanity is installed first, the flooring can terminate at the toe kick and sides of the vanity. This saves on flooring costs but means that if the vanity is replaced, the floor will need to be changed or the footprint of the vanity must remain the same.
Wall hung vanities are not designed to hold weight. So, a child climbing on the vanity or a senior who tries to put pressure on the vanity to prevent a fall could cause the vanity to pull away from the wall. This can lead to falls and injuries. Installing grab bars near the vanity and discouraging children from climbing may help.
Floor mounted vanities are often better suited to holding a person’s weight in these instances, which may make them a safer alternative.
If the bathroom is designed to meet universal design ideas or for a person who uses a mobility aid such as a wheelchair, a wall hung vanity may be a better choice.
Wall hung vanities can be attached at different heights, which accommodates users who do not want to bend or are seated. Wall hung vanities that are shallow enough may also allow a wheelchair user to get closer to the sink by allowing their legs to pass beneath the vanity.
Floor mounted vanities come in different heights but are generally not considered a truly accessible design option.