You guys – this is so exciting!  We put in a new, super useful laundry sink in the basement last weekend!  I know, I know – you might not hear “laundry sink” and think “exciting”, but let me tell you, this is revolutionary.

We have been talking about how nice it would be to have a laundry tub in the basement for pretty much as long as we’ve lived here.  The only sink in the basement was an old pedestal sink with the most worthless faucet.  We basically never used it.  The handles for the faucet were a little touchy – it was hard to get the water shut off completely.  And the “spout” part was barely long enough to get the water into the basin of the sink.  Seriously – it was a challenge to wash your hands with that sink, let alone wash out a paint brush.  And filling a bucket was impossible.

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The old (useless) pedestal sink. Clearly, we didn’t even run enough water in it to be able to keep it clean.

So, instead of using that sink, we’d resorted to using the basement shower for anything that needed water.  But, have you ever tried to fill a bucket or wash out a mop in a shower?  Yeah – you basically wind up taking a shower in the process.  So, a laundry sink was really needed.  And, after the plumber was here last Friday, leaving us with a functional, non-leaking toilet in the basement, we decided we might as well make the rest of that bathroom useful by replacing the sink, too.  Yay!

We’ve been thinking about this project for a while and had scoped out the selection of laundry tubs at all of the local home improvement places in the past.  Surprisingly, though, although there are lots of different models, there’s really not that much of a selection – they’re all basically the same.  Which is a little frustrating.  It would have been super nice to find one with a shelf or something below the sink for storage.  Anyway, of all of the available options, we decided to go with this one from Menards.

We debated between a standard single laundry tub or the double, but ultimately picked the double since we have the space and figured it might actually work out to be a lot more useful in the long run.  For the faucet, we figured out pretty quickly that selection there is similarly limited.  There are the super basic laundry sink faucets … or you could spend quite a bit more and put in a kitchen faucet.  Especially with the double sink, I really wanted a sprayer, but really didn’t want to spend $150 for a full kitchen faucet.  So, we bought this one – the only laundry sink faucet that includes a pull-out sprayer.

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(image source – no idea why this photo is so grainy!)

Functionally, it does everything I want (the sprayer is awesome), but it is SO CHEAP.  I have no idea how long it will last.  When (not if – when) it breaks, we’ll probably bite the bullet and pay for a kitchen faucet instead.

So, Chad got started on Saturday by shutting off the water to the house and removing the old pedestal sink.  We aren’t sure how old the sink was, but it was completely plumbed with rigid galvanized (no flexible supply hoses) and there were no shut off valves for the hot or cold water.

Note the rigid galvanized supply lines and no shut-off for the old pedestal sink.

The old pedestal sink was plumbed with rigid galvanized supply lines and no shut-offs.

This had us a little worried since we weren’t sure how easy the fittings on the galvanized would come apart, but, thankfully, it turned out to be a non-issue.  It took Chad probably all of 30 minutes to disconnect the sink, install new shut off valves, and turn the water back on.  Hooray!

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New shut off valves!

At this point, I caught myself thinking the project was going super smoothly and we should be able to have the new sink installed within a couple of hours (after all, the “hard part” with the galvanized plumbing was over).  And, of course, that totally jinxed the rest of the job.

The sink went together great, the supply lines were connected to the faucet with no problems, but then there was the drain.  Because the new laundry tub was so much deeper than the old pedestal sink, the bottom of the tub was actually lower than the place where the drain connected to the stack.  Had we hooked the drain up like that, the sink wouldn’t have drained right – and, even better, waste water from the stack could have backed up into the sink.  Yuck.  Definitely not an option.

We obviously could have called a plumber and seen what they could do to re-work the stack so that the laundry sink drain would connect lower, but that sounded expensive. And risky, considering the age of our plumbing system.  So, instead, we opted to raise the sink up.  We briefly debated switching the installation to wall-mounted, but since the supply lines for the sink run straight down the wall right behind it, that would have required a lot of plumbing re-work.  So, instead, we decided to just lengthen the legs for the wash tub by attaching a piece of solid aluminum angle, raising it up about 5″.  That gave the laundry tub enough height so that it was taller than the point where the drain connected into the stack.

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Look!  It’s a laundry sink on stilts!

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We worried that the added height would seem weird at first, but I’m convinced now that it’s actually made the sink more accessible.  With the leg extensions, it sits about an inch or so higher than a kitchen counter and it’s a lot easier to reach the bottom of the sink, etc. than it was before.

Anyway, with the height issue squared away, we then started making up the drain connection.  The drain actually pieced together easier than most of the ones we’ve worked on … and again, I started thinking this turned out to be a lot easier than it could have been.  But then we tested the drain … and it leaked.  Not just a little periodic drip, but a nice trickle coming from the place where our new PVC drain pipe connected with a brass fitting that joined the drain to the stack.

Chad tried tightening the plastic nut and tried using a variety of poly and rubber washers, but it still leaked like crazy.  Then, on a whim, he decided to remove the brass fitting and discovered that the two ends of the fitting are actually different.

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See the lip on the brass fitting? This was preventing the washer from sealing the connection, making it so that this portion of the drain leaked like crazy.

The end that he had been trying to connect up with the PVC drain pipe had a lip after the threads (see the picture above), which made it impossible for any of the washers to actually help seal the connection.  The other side did not.  So, he flipped it around, added a rubber washer, and, just like that, the leak was fixed.

No more leaks with the brass fitting turned around!

No more leaks with the brass fitting turned around!

It’s funny because I remember when we walked through the house before we made an offer, there was a pretty good size trash can positioned behind the old pedestal sink.  I’m almost certain now that the previous owner probably battled a leak in the same place all because that brass fitting was in backwards.  And we probably just never noticed it before because we never really used that old pedestal sink for anything.

You can kind of see the trash can positioned behind the sink - we took this picture before we bought the house.

From 2007 (before we bought the house) – you can kind of see the trash can positioned behind the sink.

So, anyway, that’s the story of the installation of our new laundry tub in the basement.  And I can’t tell you how beyond excited I am.  I actually mopped the basement floor yesterday mostly because I was so happy to not have to shower with the bucket anymore!  Seriously, though, the new laundry sink will make it so much easier to keep the basement clean – and I’m super excited to be able to use it for all of those painting projects I really need to get started on.  No excuses now!

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One thought on “A New Laundry Sink in the Basement Bathroom!

  1. Bill says:

    Be sure to not pull to hard on the spray head, the weight on the hose will come in contact with the anti siphon valve fitting and crack it and then you have a leak every time the faucet is on. Bad design.

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