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Thread: Installing a very old pedestal sink

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    DIY Junior Member Flush's Avatar
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    Question Installing a very old pedestal sink

    Hi, this is my first post. I've searched the forum because I don't want to annoy everyone by asking a well-worn question but I haven't seen this one answered, yet. Maybe because it's a silly question. But all things plumbing are foreign to us, so I guess I have a bunch of silly questions!

    We are doing a full-gut remodel of our bathroom. To save cost and because we enjoy the look, we're putting in as many reclaimed, vintage items as we could find and were practical. (So, NOT a vintage toilet!)

    Our "new" sink is a very old cast iron pedestal by American Standard. Probably 20s or 30s vintage.

    Our contractor looked it over with us and thought it was great, but I got the impression that he hasn't installed many old sinks like this. (He was exploring the connecting bolts and suchlike with curiosity.) I'm sure it'll go fine but I wonder: are there unique challenges to installing a sink of this vintage? Are there questions we should ask him or troubles we should anticipate? Is the standard plumbing likely to line up properly?

    It's going to be installed with a subway tile wainscoting behind.

    Also, if anyone's interested in throwing out an opinion: we are NOT going too frugal on the toilet and we're thinking of a Toto Drake because it's style won't clash too badly with the vintage feel of everything else. Any advice on which toto finish might go best with the old patina on our sink? I'm thinking the Cotton might be too super-white.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    When I'm roughing for a pedestal lav, I like to trap arm over to it. This keeps the vent over and away from the blocking that I like to put in the wall for the hanger support.
    If you need to keep the trap adapter connection close to the wall, use a spigot trap adapter that goes in the fitting.
    However, if you are arming over, you can use a street medium 90 and then use the hub trap adapter.

    For older bathrooms, I like the Drake II, Promenade, Soiree and Guinevere
    Kohler makes a Tresham model.



    TOTO Promenade CST424
    Last edited by Terry; 10-12-2013 at 10:01 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Does the sink have individual hot and cold faucets, since most pedestal sinks of that vintage did. It is probably a "slab" sink with no, or little, connection to the wall for support.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    When I'm roughing for a pedestal lav, I like to trap arm over to it. This keeps the vent over and away from the blocking that I like to put in the wall for the hanger support.
    If you need to keep the trap adapter connection close to the wall, use a spigot trap adapter that goes in the fitting.
    However, if you are arming over, you can use a street medium 90 and then use the hub trap adapter.

    For older bathrooms, I like the Drake II, Promenade, Soiree and Guinevere
    Kohler makes a Tresham model.
    Wow, I love the look of the Promenade! I don't love the price, though. I think we'll have to choose between the more modern-looking Drake II, or a different brand. We'll probably choose function over form and go with the Toto. I do want to find a non-plastic lid for it, though. I just don't like the look and feel of plastic, and I've read (here) that the Toto plastic seat isn't the best for sitting on while it's closed. We have small children, so parents are often sitting on the shut toilet while we brush their teeth and get them dried off after baths.

    I'm off to educate myself a little on plumbing terms so I understand the rest of what you advised! This remodeling project is a great chance to expand my knowledge-base. I really want to understand at least the basics so I can be an informed consumer. And also so I can appreciate the craftmanship of the guys doing the work.

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Does the sink have individual hot and cold faucets, since most pedestal sinks of that vintage did. It is probably a "slab" sink with no, or little, connection to the wall for support.
    http://www.use.com/--Antique_1927_KO...f280a2#photo=1
    It's virtually identical to this one, except mine is pristine, without the rust staining. My contractor said they may have to enlarge the center hole, because it was designed just for the drain plunger-thingy, not for a faucet. We are putting in a modern faucet with widespread handles.
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    Last edited by Terry; 10-12-2013 at 07:45 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member Flush's Avatar
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    I forgot to add: it has one or two long bolts that go between the pedestal and the basin to firmly hold them together. It's fully self-supporting. The vintage plumbing place where we found it also gave us some very simple brackets to attach the basin to the wall, just as an extra precaution. They said it wasn't really necessary but it's a nice thing to do. The wall brackets are clearly just for adding a little bit of balance and not to bear ANY weight of the sink.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, the street prices on Toto toilets, if you shop around, are often MUCH less than the suggested retail price. Some places will deal, some won't. You need to check more than one, and compare it to what Terry charges for local delivery from him - you should be able to get close to that price elsewhere.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    DIY Junior Member Flush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    FWIW, the street prices on Toto toilets, if you shop around, are often MUCH less than the suggested retail price. Some places will deal, some won't. You need to check more than one, and compare it to what Terry charges for local delivery from him - you should be able to get close to that price elsewhere.
    Heehee your "street prices" gives me the picture of a shady guy mooching down the street, opening his trench coat and saying: "Hey buddy, wanna buy a toilet?"

    But that's a good point. We just started researching prices on the Totos. At this point, I'm just comparing Toto to Toto and figuring that if one is a 30% more expensive on the Toto site, it's probably going to be 30% higher anyplace, even if my contractor can get a better deal.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-12-2013 at 07:46 PM.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Particularly with kids in the house, you want to use the wall mounts. Kids love to climb up the sinks to use the mirror or get into the medicine cabinet.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That IS the sink I though you had. The pedestal probably has an "anchor point" at the bottom to secure it to the floor along with anchors to the sink itself.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Flush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    That IS the sink I though you had. The pedestal probably has an "anchor point" at the bottom to secure it to the floor along with anchors to the sink itself.
    Hey, you are correct! I tipped the pedestal over and found the anchor spot inside. It even has the filthy old bolt in it. I guess they knew how to secure things back in the day. This is probably something the floor guys need to be aware of, huh? To make sure there's a solid floor stud or something right in the necessary spot.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    At least the knew how to secure a "slab" sink so it didn't tip over.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You might want to look at Toto prices on Terry's website. He doesn't ship them, but it would give you an idea of what a reasonable price would be on your choice of toilets. If you have any reason to travel to the Seattle area, you could deal directly with Terry. That's what I did, and saved a bunch.

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