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New Bathroom Sink! (finally)


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Many of you know that this has been a long, drawn out project.  I think I started talking about it to a few people at the 2019 rally - so it's been well over a year in the making, almost two.  Not that it was particularly difficult (though certainly a more major mod), but because of laziness and indecision on all the components it ended up being a start and stop project, with months sometimes between fits of activity.  And then it snowballed into a complete plumbing overhaul, which was unnecessary - but then that's how the trailer got its name, after all.  I'll post about all the plumbing stuff later, but since there have been a few recent posts about shower and bath mods, I figured I'd go ahead and toss this one into the mix.

This project started for a few reasons.  One, I've always found the bath sink to be mostly useless.  It's fine for washing hands, but for most anything else, you've got to crane your neck around with the front wall curving in to hit your head.  And trying to use a tiny little sink for washing your face just leaves water everywhere.  So we found that were using the kitchen sink almost exclusively.  That was fine - no big deal - but with the bigger sink, I was getting tired of wasting water cleaning toothpaste residue out of the sink, and it seemed silly to have a bath sink that got little to no use.  The second reason for the upgrade is that after we redid the kitchen sink, the bath sink just looked sad.  In addition to functionality, the bath needed some sexy.

So the obvious solution was a vessel sink of some sort.  Since a vessel sink sits on top of the counter, I'd have much more leeway in size and placement.  I could pull it forward as much as I wanted, plus it had the added benefit of raising the sink to a more comfortable height for us.  Some experimentation with kitchen bowls of different sized showed that I could get a fairly generous sink that didn't take up too much shower space.  I settled on something in the 11" to 12" range; which proved to be a little difficult to source, especially after deciding on the material.  I had bookmarks for dozens of sinks of different materials, but I couldn't find one that I really liked.  I almost picked a glass one off Amazon, but in the end I thought that was going to be too heavy.  What I really wanted - since I had already swapped out almost all of the brushed chrome fixtures in the bath for polished - was a simple polished stainless sink.  There were a few out there, but nothing in the right size, nor at a reasonable price.  So the project bogged down a bit at that point; but I was confident that I'd find something eventually, and so I went ahead and ordered a new vanity top from Oliver, without any cutouts for the sink or faucet.  I’m glad I did, since Oliver has apparently now stopped offering our countertop color  

And sure enough, a few months later I came across a discontinued sink on Overstock.com that was exactly right.  11.25", polished inside and out.  It's the Acquaio sink from WS Bath, if you can find one.  I know that other sizes are still available.  It was still pricy even on discount, but by that point I didn't care.  To make up for the splurge, I got a faucet from Ikea, which is actually pretty nice.  The colors from chrome to stainless don't exactly match, but they're close enough and it doesn't bother me.

Since I was swapping out the faucet, I needed to find a separate shower valve, which was another lengthy quest.  I thought at first that I'd put one to the right of the bath caddy, like @mountainoliver has in his trailer.  But most everything I found was just a bit too big to fit (I didn't know about mountainoliver's mod and the mixer valve he used until later).  Then I found the Grohe Grohtherm valve, which was interesting in a couple of respects - it didn't recess into the vanity at all (which eliminated a potential issue with the plumbing), it matched the Grohe faucet that I had already installed in the kitchen, and since it was linear, I thought that it might actually fit in the space above the caddy, between it and the vanity top.  

And it did fit, but looked squished in place, plus I didn't think until trying to place both it and the sink that the the sink drain and trap was going to be difficult to work the plumbing around.  Plus putting it there meant that the shower hose was going to be strung across the vanity and generally look bad and be in the way.  The problem with this realization was that I'd ordered the valve and the sink before one of my 3-month breaks in the project and now neither was returnable - so I had to make it work.  This meant that the shower valve was going on the closet wall.

I also realized during the test fitting that when I pulled the sink forward, the drain trap was going to hit the top of the bath caddy, meaning that I couldn't get it far enough forward to work.  Small disaster.  But I realized though that the bath caddy wasn't symmetrical, and if I turned it upside down, everything fit.  I'd lose the flat shelf on the bottom, but we only use the caddy to hold the bath mat, so not a problem.  Small problem with the water pump switch placement, though, since it would be on the bottom - but a quick email to Oliver had a new caddy that hadn’t been drilled for the switch on the way.  

At that point, all the pieces were here, all the logistics worked out, and I was ready to go.  Time for another couple months off while I built up the courage to drill through the closet wall.  Then finally...

First step was to remove the existing vanity top, which is possibly one of the most firmly attached things in the trailer.  It's glued in place, so the only way I could find to get it off without completely destroying the vanity was to cut through the joint with an oscillating saw.  That's a slow, tiring, dusty endeavor; and it generates a great deal of heat, so you've got to work in spurts to keep the fiberglass resin from burning - which is fine really, since working through the caddy access, your shoulders will welcome the rest.  I had to do a tiny bit of trimming on the new top to get it to fit as snuggly as the old one; and once in place, I sealed it with silicone like the original.

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Top off, new drain lines in place, and I decided to attach the new top with industrial velcro to make it easier to remove in the future (works well).  

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Next, shower lines teed off the existing plumbing, line to the nonexistent toilet removed, and some insulation added to both the plumbing lines and the outside wall behind the vanity. (I have a circulating pump on the hot water, hence the extra line.)  I also glued a small PVC block to the back side of the vanity wall to tie down the water lines and prevent them from vibrating too much.  And as always, cleaned out as much fiberglass dust as possible, cleaned up and wrapped wiring, etc.  The access port on the closet side is something that Oliver gave me in the original build.  The sink valves and drain trap are accessible from that port, and since I used velcro for the top, I have the option now of cutting the silicone on the top and pulling that off for access, in addition to taking out the caddy.

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New plumbing in the closet for the shower.  I drilled out a short piece of aluminum as a backing plate for the shower valve.  The plumbing is protected somewhat in the closet by the ABS vent, and we really don't keep much in there that could bump around and damage the plumbing.  But a few layers of aluminum tape should help protect the insulation from getting beat up and gives a bit of a spaceship vibe.  The valve is supposed to stand out from the wall about an inch or so, but I decided to recess it so that it attaches flush and as out of the way as possible.  I caulked around the valve and it ended up making a nice little shelf for a razor, and I placed it low enough that my wife can use it to prop a foot while shaving her legs.  You can also hang a bar of soap on one of the handles to drip dry. The faucet has a neat feature with stops on both valves, which can be custom set to whatever temperature and flow you prefer. The little buttons on the handles allow you to go past the stops when you want. 
 

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And that's really it.  Installing the sink and faucet is just drilling two holes and following the directions.  The only change I made is that the sink came with a short stainless ring to mount between the sink and counter, but I didn't like the look and so just used one of the black rubber gaskets that was inside the ring.  That way the sink looks like it’s sitting right on the counter instead of a pedestal.  We tested everything out on our last trip and functionally, it all works as expected.  The sink isn't in the way at all while showering, and really is so much more usable.  Plus I think it looks great.  The shower functions just as nicely, with the valve not being obtrusive.  I added a second holder for the shower head up high, which works better for me, though my wife prefers the original one.  I still need to swap that one out, since I think it's the only bit of brushed chrome left in the trailer.  I added the same backsplash material that a few other owners have recommended.  I wanted to order a new, wider mirror; but the original one is glued on and so I didn’t want to go through the trouble of trying to get it off.  I suppose I could just place one on top of the other, so maybe that’ll be a future project. 

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Glamor shots -

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Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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18 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

What tile did you use for the backsplashes?

Smart tiles is the brand, but there are others.  I got mine from Home Depot, and they're available at Amazon and other places.  The color is Murano Metallic.  I thought this one was a little more subtle, but I was outvoted.  I added it to the kitchen as well, as you can see in the last photo.

Getting it to work on the curved bath wall is a bit tricky.  You can't really tell from the photo, but it's fudged to get it to look as straight as possible.  The top is straight, but not the bottom, but that's mostly covered by the sink and faucet so it isn't so noticeable.

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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First class job!

I too insulated all of the water pipes that I could reach and believe that it does make a difference.  Even if it doesn't, the expensive and amount of work involved in wrapping the water lines is very small and I believe that it helps protect those lines from vibrating so much while underway.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Wow, you should go into your own business customizing trailers.  Given the space constraints you had to work around, the plumbing is amazing to me.  The décor and final look are spectacular upgrades.  🙂

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John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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Overland,  that bath remodel was well worth the wait for me and I’m sure y'all are happy with the results.  It is another example of your out of the box thinking.  Congratulations on a job well thought out and executed.

 Now, about the bit of a spaceship vibe.  I looked at all of the pictures first because I couldn’t wait any longer to see what you had come up with and then went back and read the text.  The closet insulation and aluminum tape made me think of an old tv show, from 1965.

Lost in Space

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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5 hours ago, NCeagle said:

 

Wow, you should go into your own business customizing trailers. 

 

I’d love to - maybe one day when I’m retired and don’t have to worry about actually making money doing it. 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Yes, those are acoustic panels that I installed with 3M VHB Velcro.  I think they help a little bit to deaden the space but not enough really to recommend the trouble and expense.  But as you said, they do break up the ceiling, which I think looks nice.

One of my wilder ideas for a modification is to install a full length floating "cloud" panel that sits off the ceiling two inches or so.  I'd cover it in acoustic material, add hidden perimeter strip lighting and let the gap around the edges be the vent for the AC and fan.  No one should count on that happening, of course, but it's an idea.  I do think it would look nice, and would also allow you to cut access holes into the ceiling for installing solar, etc.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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The Grohe valve is really beautiful.  Their starlight chrome is some of the best chrome finish I've seen. I  wish I'd used more of it in our house when we built it. Delta's chrome doesn't hold a candle to it, though it's pretty,  too. I'm a chrome finish fan. Timeless. 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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