Author Topic: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity  (Read 18821 times)

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Offline RonMiller

  • Posts: 318
Most of my living is made installing kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. When installing cabinets with water lines my method has been to back up the cabinet to the lines when practical and mark them. Other times they have to be measured and drawn. After many years these are usually quite accurate but it can be time consuming.

I'm wondering if there is a better way? I recently saw someone else's sink base install (don't know who did this work) and it was pretty amazing. The two water lines coming from the wall had a hole only slightly larger than the lines and the same with the drain. It was perfect and I know the lines were in place when the work was done. So it got me thinking...is there another method such as a template or a trick I don't know or ??? to do this accurately and/or faster.

Any ideas?
Ron

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Offline Larso

  • Posts: 128
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 05:59 PM »
I mostly do just the same as you but if i need a high degree of accuracy a template is the way to go.I find the quickest onsite template is a piece of Gyprock (drywall or sheet rock in the US i think).
Just cut a piece of scrap so it registers to a known mark on at least one side and the bottom and then when in place push the board firmly back onto the pipe tails and the gyprock is soft enough to leave very accurate marks of the position for you to transfer to your cabinet.
Be sure to register on the cabinet from the same side as your template,don't ask why i make this important point!

Online bkharman

  • Posts: 1907
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 06:51 PM »
Use cardboard or 2mm backer. Cut to the same size and location as the cabinet and then put some chalk or pencil on the ends of the pipes.  Put the board against it and then cut to fit. If there are different length pipes then cut the most extruding first then fit again until the whole board goes against the wall.

Put it against the cabinet back and drill/cut away!

Cheers. Bryan.
People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1852
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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 07:02 PM »
Measure twice......cut ince!!!!+
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2015, 07:20 PM »
Try this and you will laugh, but later thank me.

Get your hands on a stick of lipstick.  Coat the end of the pipe(s) with it.  Slide the cabinet until it hits.  You are now marked and move on.

Also great for installing deadbolts from scratch and needing to know where on the jamb to drill the receiver hole.

Peter

Offline Larso

  • Posts: 128
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 07:51 PM »
Good one Peter i forgot about this one,this is much quicker than any template and does work.
If you cant bring yourself to carry lipstick i have used this method with a small dab of wet paint,i carry a small tin of primer for sealing the bottom of doors i hang so always have some available.
Funny how we get locked into a way of working until someone else comes up with a better way and then wonder why we didn't think of it ourselves.

Offline Cleg79

  • Posts: 21
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2015, 08:01 PM »
I always take the back of the sink unit out when fitting units and install afterward, with cut outs to access isolation valves etc. plumbing is more important to be able to access than what the back of sink unit looks like you can always box pipe work in afterwards, but destroying a unit to get to a leaking tap is no fun.

Offline Brandon

  • Posts: 209
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2015, 08:37 PM »
I've installed an uncountable amount of sink bases and vanities, a couple measurements and some marks on the back of the cabinet. Drill a pilot hole through and hole saw from the inside. Can't go wrong, the accuracy is based on your level line on the wall, made even easier when there is another cabinet in the same run already set to measure off of.

Offline rst

  • Posts: 1500
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2015, 09:10 PM »
The lip stick trick works well but don't steal your wife's until you've seen how expensive it is!!

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1852
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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2015, 09:47 PM »

Get your hands on a stick of lipstick.  Coat the end of the pipe(s) with it.  Slide the cabinet until it hits.  You are now marked and move on.


Peter
That's one way of doing it
But not fool proof
What happens if the pipes are coming off the wall at an angle?
What if your cabinet needs to be shimed up?
How do you know you are sliding the cabinet straight?
I have seen too many installers doing it that way and always have to fix their mistakes
Measure twice,cut once!!!!
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline jmbfestool

  • Posts: 6567
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2015, 02:31 AM »
I don't think the lip stick idea is fool proof.

Few reasons the lip stick method would fail.
If the pipes are not level or square. The longer the pipes stick out from the wall the more likely you will be out.

I find often the pipes are not cut at equal lengths. Hot and Cold and waist pipes are never all of equal length.  So you would likely only get a mark of just one of the pipes.

Positioning the unit. You would have to level the unit and get it in postition (more difficult if it has no unit already fixed next to it to slide along). Then once you pushed it into place you would have to level it again because the floor might be running out.




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Offline overanalyze

  • Posts: 401
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2015, 09:01 AM »
Holes in the cabinets and under sink plumbing have to be neat!! It is a pet peeve of mine!

Level lines on the wall that give you true references of the cabinet sides and top. Measure twice, sharp hole saws, go at it.

If doing a remodel and you are not changing out the valves you can get a tighter hole by taking the handle off the valve.

If they come through the floor same rules apply.


Online Cheese

  • Posts: 3271
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2015, 12:15 PM »
Holes in the cabinets and under sink plumbing have to be neat!! It is a pet peeve of mine!


@overanalyze
Now that's a nice install.  [thumbs up] [thumbs up]  And all these years I thought it was just me that was so anal... [eek]

I really like the placement of the AAV. Everything neat & tidy including the electrical.

I recognize everything except for the small clear line on the LH side of the drain, what's that for?

Offline overanalyze

  • Posts: 401
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2015, 03:11 PM »
@Cheese

 Thank you! I love it when my clients even make mention of how nice there sink cabinet looks!

That line on the left is filtered drinking water.

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 76
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2015, 07:56 PM »
Nicer than anything I've ever done [smile].
       I've never seen a kitchen sink sit on the counter top like that, (plenty of bathroom sinks, but no kitchen sinks).  Do you have a pic of the sink?  Just curious what it looks like.  Also, pipes coming through floor of cabinet is unusual, was that by design or necessary for some reason?
Again, good work!

CB

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1852
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2015, 08:51 PM »
Nicer than anything I've ever done [smile].
       I've never seen a kitchen sink sit on the counter top like that, (plenty of bathroom sinks, but no kitchen sinks).  Do you have a pic of the sink?  Just curious what it looks like.  Also, pipes coming through floor of cabinet is unusual, was that by design or necessary for some reason?
Again, good work!

CB
It looks like a farm sink
Some of them you need to set it on plywood
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 76
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2015, 09:11 PM »
Ah!  That would also explain the reason the plumbing looks lower than normal, but I was working up to that part! ;D

Thanks,
CB

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2015, 09:21 PM »
Nicer than anything I've ever done [smile].
       I've never seen a kitchen sink sit on the counter top like that, (plenty of bathroom sinks, but no kitchen sinks).  Do you have a pic of the sink?  Just curious what it looks like.  Also, pipes coming through floor of cabinet is unusual, was that by design or necessary for some reason?
Again, good work!

CB

Pipes from the floor are usually a good indication of an island, the air admittance valve reaffirms that. 
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2015, 09:31 PM »
Ok I have to say that the holes and install in the pic is so unbelievably neat, clean and nice I'm not sure I could pull it off. Very nice work.
However, I'd have to write the crap out of it if it were done here since it is not compliant with the plumbing code.
- no stinkin' AAV's allowed, fixture not properly vented
- discharging dishwasher into side of garbage disposal not allowed due to cross-contamination concerns
- no PEX allowed
But heh that's just around here ... the Plumber protects the health of the nation.

"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1852
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2015, 09:56 PM »
Ok I have to say that the holes and install in the pic is so unbelievably neat, clean and nice I'm not sure I could pull it off. Very nice work.
However, I'd have to write the crap out of it if it were done here since it is not compliant with the plumbing code.
- no stinkin' AAV's allowed, fixture not properly vented
- discharging dishwasher into side of garbage disposal not allowed due to cross-contamination concerns
- no PEX allowed
But heh that's just around here ... the Plumber protects the health of the nation.
Makes me wonder why is it so different where you live
Mechanical vent are very popular here in VA
What's the difference between connecting a DW to a garbage disposal and a drain?
As long as you make a loop above the connection there's nothing wrong
PEX is everywhere!
As far as pipes coming from the floor,it could be because of building codes or maybe it is an island
I know that in North Carolina you can't have water pipes in exterior walls  but the drain is OK
So we do see a lot of houses with water line from floor and drain line from wall  ,makes it very difficult for us installer to make this look good
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 7203
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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 09:58 PM »
Ok I have to say that the holes and install in the pic is so unbelievably neat, clean and nice I'm not sure I could pull it off. Very nice work.
However, I'd have to write the crap out of it if it were done here since it is not compliant with the plumbing code.
- no stinkin' AAV's allowed, fixture not properly vented
- discharging dishwasher into side of garbage disposal not allowed due to cross-contamination concerns
- no PEX allowed
But heh that's just around here ... the Plumber protects the health of the nation.

And no romex in that crazy place called Chicago.  Thankfully the rest of the country is far more sane.
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5055
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2015, 10:15 PM »
Ok I have to say that the holes and install in the pic is so unbelievably neat, clean and nice I'm not sure I could pull it off. Very nice work.
However, I'd have to write the crap out of it if it were done here since it is not compliant with the plumbing code.
- no stinkin' AAV's allowed, fixture not properly vented
- discharging dishwasher into side of garbage disposal not allowed due to cross-contamination concerns
- no PEX allowed
But heh that's just around here ... the Plumber protects the health of the nation.
Makes me wonder why is it so different where you live
Mechanical vent are very popular here in VA
What's the difference between connecting a DW to a garbage disposal and a drain?
As long as you make a loop above the connection there's nothing wrong
PEX is everywhere!
As far as pipes coming from the floor,it could be because of building codes or maybe it is an island
I know that in North Carolina you can't have water pipes in exterior walls  but the drain is OK
So we do see a lot of houses with water line from floor and drain line from wall  ,makes it very difficult for us installer to make this look good

The Illinois Plumbing code does not allow a mechanical vent. The AAV is a mechanical vent. Here an island would require a revent loop.
I don't understand the disposal issue, a properly looped dishwasher discharge hose solves the problem.
No PEX for now, took awhile to allow PVC for the DWV.

No water lines in exterior walls allowed in this area. I know of one plumbing inspector who will not pass drain lines in exterior walls.

Pictures of what can happen when vents are run in exterior walls to clear windows. Should have had a stud shoe on the initial install. Last picture after repairs were made.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5055
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2015, 10:19 PM »
Ok I have to say that the holes and install in the pic is so unbelievably neat, clean and nice I'm not sure I could pull it off. Very nice work.
However, I'd have to write the crap out of it if it were done here since it is not compliant with the plumbing code.
- no stinkin' AAV's allowed, fixture not properly vented
- discharging dishwasher into side of garbage disposal not allowed due to cross-contamination concerns
- no PEX allowed
But heh that's just around here ... the Plumber protects the health of the nation.

And no romex in that crazy place called Chicago.  Thankfully the rest of the country is far more sane.

EMT is easy to install.

Tom
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 10:25 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3756
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2015, 10:45 PM »
Try this and you will laugh, but later thank me.

Get your hands on a stick of lipstick.

...

Thanks... I think.

The Mrs asked, "Do you want some shoes and a camisole too?", and said she... "never heard of a drill and saw as a fashion accessory".

When I blushed she suggested some ivory foundation would be of use.  [embarassed]

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 3271
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2015, 12:12 AM »
When I blushed she suggested some ivory foundation would be of use.  [embarassed]

Well my take is that if you're blushing and you need some ivory foundation to bring you back to normal skin tone, you're sucking up too much sun in the outback...

On another note, the plumbing codes in the states are weird, they're all different. AAV's were also outlawed in Minnesota about 15 years ago, I installed one in an island situation and I'm serious, I was questioned by the independent plumbing supplier like I was trying to purchase crack cocaine. Everything was strictly cash with no receipts.

Fast forward...they are now available in the big box stores and over the counter for a few bucks...really what's changed?

Sometimes rules and regulations are good...sometimes not so good.

Edit: I just remembered what I had to ask for when I purchased the original "illegal" AAV...I had to ask the plumbing supplier for a "Cheater Vent", otherwise he feigned ingnorance.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 10:00 AM by Cheese »

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3316
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2015, 09:33 AM »
Holes in the cabinets and under sink plumbing have to be neat!! It is a pet peeve of mine!

I'm seriously impressed by the neatness of your work.  Did you do the plumbing yourself, too?  I haven't seen a plumber do work that neat around here.  And I've NEVER seen a plumber leave the stubs the same length coming out of the wall.  Lipstick is a novel idea, but only gives a rough idea of a starting point for one feed line, given the vagaries of setting cabinets, especially in older houses.  I'm more likely to make a cardboard template and cut to that, and I'm lucky if I can get it within 1/2" of being dead on. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2015, 11:19 AM »
A couple of notes on the plumbing ...
- AAV's (yes, cheater vents is also what we call them around here) eventually leak either water or sewer gases into the home, depending on various factors. The problem is you aren't actually venting the plumbing fixture to the exterior. I've walked into kitchens thinking man this place stinks, sure enough there's an AAV. That install would have been required to have an island loop vent. Actually not hard to do but amazing how many guys screw it up. In this case it probably would have needed to be accommodated within the wall cavity. Which bring up the plumbing inside of exterior walls issue. Under normal construction you aren't supposed to put plumbing pipes inside exterior walls because doing so puts the lines 'outside the thermal envelope'. You can however put plumbing pipes inside of exterior walls if the wall is so constructed to allow for the pipes to remain 'within the thermal envelope'.
Great pics by tjbnwi of a failure situation.
- Running the dishwasher drain line into the garbage disposal poses a cross contamination hazard potential. If the disposal drain line gets clogged, which does happen, sink water and contaminants can down into the dishwasher. You do a load of dishes, the disposal clogs and backs into the dishwasher, you pull a glass out thinking its clean but instead its contaminated and you end up running to the bathroom or hospital.
Theoretically, the dishwasher drain line would be attached at a proper high loop under the sink rim to avoid this. However, it is very rare I see a proper high loop. Most of the time the drain line is lying at the sink base floor and looks disgusting (the clear ones). In the pic this looks like a farm sink install so unless you cut a cavity you aren't going to get a proper high loop to under the sink rim, i.e. under the countertop.
And not we don't go for no lousy romex.
The Codes are not in place because government wants to intrude into your life (they have plenty of other ways to do that). The Code is in place so that when something does go wrong it will hopefully only go sort of wrong instead of horribly wrong resulting in major death or injury. Without building codes those of us on the FOG would most like still build compliant structures or installations. However, without building codes it would be the wild wild west out there for a lot of flippers/developers and we'd be watching ongoing building failures on the news regularly.
I love my work but sometimes I get sick of seeing morons do stupid stuff. Just to be clear that comment is in NO WAY whatsoever directly at this thread.
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1852
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2015, 12:10 PM »
[quote author=Holzhacker link=topic=42919.msg421884#msg421884 date=1444576767
- Running the dishwasher drain line into the garbage disposal poses a cross contamination hazard potential. If the disposal drain line gets clogged, which does happen, sink water and contaminants can down into the dishwasher. You do a load of dishes, the disposal clogs and backs into the dishwasher, you pull a glass out thinking its clean but instead its contaminated and you end up running to the bathroom or hospital.
Theoretically, the dishwasher drain line would be attached at a proper high loop under the sink rim to avoid this. However, it is very rare I see a proper high loop. Most of the time the drain line is lying at the sink base floor and looks disgusting (the clear ones). In the pic this looks like a farm sink install so unless you cut a cavity you aren't going to get a proper high loop to under the sink rim, i.e. under the countertop.

[/quote]
OK
Can you explain how you hook up your dishwasher?
What is the difference between a garbage disposal getting clog and a sink without one?
The dishwasher has a pump with a valve so when it drains the water is forced out
When it stops the valve closes
So how does water goes back into dishwasher?
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline overanalyze

  • Posts: 401
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2015, 04:09 PM »
Thanks for the compliments guys! I also knew the picture would get quite a bit of input regarding code compliance in different  areas of the States. Even city to city can vary in code regs.

We do most of our plumbing in house on our reno projects. Everything is done code compliant  for our area.

Romex is about the only method we use in residential work. Sometimes some MC cable.

We are not required to use an air gap for dishwashers. That hose does come in high up by the sink rim.

It is an island install with a farmhouse sink without the ability to install a loop vent in this instance, thus the code approved AAV.

Pex is awesome! I have personally been installing pex for almost 18 years....not one failure. Like anything the installation can be done neat or messy.

We will use copper if that is what the house has.

Here is the kitchen. Also here is another sink install we did with copper. Let the hazing begin ;)

Electrical panel installations are another pet peeve of mine.


Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5055
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Best way to accurately cut plumbing holes in back of vanity
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2015, 09:02 PM »
If the drain line on a dishwasher plugs, no matter where in the drain system, the dishwasher will not empty or be full of water. As already pointed out there is a back flow valve in the dishwasher drain line. A dishwasher being hooked to a disposal is a non issue. I know it's code in Illinois, a frivolous one at best.

If the drain line does not have a high loop it is not installed to manufactures specs, that would be the code violation.

Mechanical drain vents (AAV's) I have smelled fail, never seen an AAV leak water.

Tom