Bathroom Vanity Plumbing — Putting My Perfectionism To The Test

I’ve been chipping away at the last few remaining projects on the bathroom. Yesterday, my main focus was plumbing. The good news is that we have one bathroom vanity faucet that’s actually working now. It’s all hooked up, the water is running, the sink is draining, and there are no leaks. That’s a victory.

The bad news is that it looks like a hot mess right now. Here’s a glimpse…

I think that I can fix it and clean it up in a way that I’ll actually be satisfied with. But let me tell you, as a perfectionist, this is really putting me to the test.

One of the issues is with Delta. I like the quality of Delta products, but Delta just isn’t on my good side right now. They seems to develop their products with these clever proprietary designs that don’t work well with universal, standard plumbing products and designs.

The toilet in the hallway bathroom is an example. I bought that toilet when I did the bathroom remodel several years ago.

I know you can’t see much of it from that angle, but I love the design of that toilet. The tank and lid have a bit of a hatbox design, and I love it. But I bought it during a time when Delta was evidently using some sort of proprietary design where the water comes into the tank near the top edge of the tank, and then everything else is designed around it.

So about a year ago, a little plastic piece came off of the inner workings, and presumably, it washed into the bowl and then was flushed. It’s long gone. But that one tiny missing plastic piece is required for the whole assembly to work properly.

None of the “universal design” replacement parts at the big box stores will fit the toilet because, again, it’s a proprietary design. But I guess Delta realized that having a toilet with inner workings that are proprietary design isn’t really a good thing for consumers, because they stopped making them this way, and now their toilets appear to use the universal design again. And they stopped selling replacement parts for the proprietary design.

So now, because of a little missing plastic piece on the inner workings inside the tank of my otherwise perfect toilet, I have to replace the entire toilet. So what should be a $15 fix on a universal design will be a $125 toilet replacement.

All that to say that their faucet designs are totally different from anything I’ve seen before, and I’ve installing my fair share of faucets.

Generally, you purchase the faucet, and then you purchase the separate hoses to connect the faucet to the water valves coming out of the wall. And those hoses come in various lengths so that you can choose the length that is perfect for your setup.

But this Delta faucet comes with its own water hoses that are attached, and there’s no way to remove them or replace them. I also don’t see any way to shorten them, and there’s nothing in the instructions about removing excess length. Instead, the instruction show how to loop these hoses around so that the loop takes up the excess length. That’s no so easy to do with these semi-rigid hoses. So I ended up with this mess.

And they’re so rigid and hard to wrangle that they push the valves coming out of the wall over to the side. I can’t stand those valves being pushed over like that because not only does the valve look strange being pushed out of line, but then the little wall plates (escutcheons?) won’t lie flat against the wall.

And then there’s this strange design where the water coming in from the hot faucet, and the water coming in from the cold faucet, come down into this little thing that then sends the water up to the faucet. Look how tiny those hoses are…

I cut them to the shortest length that was allowable, as far as I understood according to the instructions, and it’s still too long. But again, because those little tubes are so tiny, there’s only so much water that can go through them at once. So the water stream isn’t nearly as powerful as I’m used to. It’s fine, but it just seems strange that the water stream can’t be more powerful than that.

I don’t often need a really powerful water stream on a bathroom sink, but I do like the option, like if I need to fill a container with water. I guess I can use the bathtub faucet for things like that if needed.

So all of these special Delta designs just frustrate me. It’s my hallway bathroom toilet all over again. I like more universal designs that use the normal plumbing parts I’ve been working with for the last 30 years.

Now I have to figure out how to clean up all of this plumbing mess. Thankfully, it’s really not noticeable unless you’re standing pretty far away. If I stand in the water closet, I can see the plumbing under the sink.

But if I’m just walking through the room (I imagine walking from the home gym, through the bathroom, and into our future master bedroom), it’s not visible.

If I’m closer to the bathtub, some of it is visible…

Of course, none of this would be an issue with a normal vanity. It’s only an issue because of these table-style vanities, so these are issues I’ve never had to deal with before. On a normal vanity, I’d have no issue with Delta’s unique design.

I considered all of the suggestion from previous posts on the plumbing, and considered building some sort of box to hide all of this. But for now, I’m going to try something that I think will be a bit easier. I’m going to use a flat black paint, and paint everything that is currently shiny chrome, as well as the exposed PVC pipe coming out of the wall.

I think with those things being on the wall under the sink, they’ll kind of disappear if they’re a flat black. Right now, with their bright, shiny chrome finish, they’re so visible and actually draw attention because they’re so bright. But a flat black should take care of that. I also need to work on wrangling those hoses a bit more so that they’re not pushing the valves out of line like they currently are.

Plumbing is my least favorite thing to do. I’d rather do electrical any day of the week over plumbing. But I’m determined to get this looking decent. I know that there’s no way to get it perfect. I’ve had to shelves my perfectionism many times on this bathroom project, and I’m getting better at not letting little things wear on me. I’ll have to do the same with this.

 

 

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48 Comments

  1. Actually I think painting them the wall color would be a good camouflage. It all looks good, but those little pipes are dumb. I am noting, no Delta for me!

    1. I might try white. If I don’t like it, I can always paint black over the white. But it’s just a personal preference thing. I’m not a fan of metal parts painted white. To me, they don’t disappear, but they do have a tendency to look cheap. In my mind, black is a better color for metal, giving a more elevated look than white, but under the sink, it would read as “shadow”.

      But I could be overthinking it. I might try white first.

  2. Hi Kirsty. Everything looks amazing. A suggestion on your hall bathroom, I live in New Zealand and we often can’t get replacement parts in a timely manner. For small plastic pieces can you get one 3 D printed? There is a design space with a list of downloadable projects you could access or even someone may draw one up for you if you ask the Web. Over here our libraries have 3 D printers we can use or you might ask around – someone might have one? Just seems a waste to throw out an entire toilet.

    1. That’s what I was going to suggest, and here, we have a technical high school that would love a project!
      However, since the old piece is gone, is there a way to know the design for the 3D printer?

  3. I’ll bet that faucet has the proprietary “mount from the top, valve and line are an assembly” design as well. We have a Delta Ashlyn widespread with that design and the hot side is leaking after just 3 years and dripping on the floor. We had to shut the water off to that handle and I’ve been trying to get warranty parts from Delta.

  4. I have a follow up for your previous post about the glass tile nippers (I’m a few days behind on your blog!). I do fused glass and mosaics, so I’ve had lots of practice with cutting glass. The glass tile nippers pretty much always cut a curved edge–it’s not anything you’re doing wrong.

    You could use your grinder to smooth them out, as others have mentioned. The other option for the future is to use glass cutters (which actually just score the glass). I prefer the pistol-grip glass cutters, but there are various ones you can choose. To cut larger pieces of glass, you would also want running pliers to break the glass along the score.

    For small glass cuts like on your penny round tiles though, you can score the tile with the glass cutters, and then use the glass tile nippers to cut along the score line. By scoring it first with the glass cutters, the tile nippers will (usually) give you a straight line cut. Hope that makes sense!

  5. I think that to have them “disappear”, paint them the wall color. As a fiber artist and fabric dyer, a cardinal rule to make something stand out is to make the colors high contrast. Painting these things all black, against a white wall, will be the highest contrast possible. I would paint all the hoses and chrome the wall color. Even the P-trap.

    Example: If you look at ceiling fans, white fans are not really noticeable against a white ceiling but stick a brown or black fan up there and suddenly you have an elephant in the room! You can paint anything out from being noticed. It is contrast that makes us notice things.

    I am looking at the same issue with the 2 bathrooms in my new house. Everything under the sink will be the wall color so they blend right in. Even the PVC P-trap. Plus, I will probably have a stool with a skirt sitting under the vanity.

  6. Wow, thanks for the heads up. No Delta for me or my properties. You will be limited in repairs too down the line. I would take them back and pick something else. Of course I also installed a special Australian low flow toilet a few years ago. I now have a reminder to purchase new “innards” for down the road. They aren’t available in big box either.

  7. I have the opposite problem with IKEA plumbing in my bathrooms. The water is so forceful. Every time I hear the water running I cringe, I live in the desert where we’re supposed to be conserving. Ugh.

  8. I have a few OCD cells in my body but even this makes me want to scream to the heavens!! I’m surprised you’re not on the phone with .delta to send the piece you need for your toilet. I’m imagining a warehouse full of those things and I’d be saying… ”Get in there and pluck that piece off one of those toilets and send it ASAP”!! (As an aside have you thought of a skirted toilet? So much easier to clean around but the tank style might not be to your liking).
    I’m tempted to write to Delta and tell them I’ll never buy a product from them base in this kind of crap.

    1. It just happens that a sink in the house I am prepping for sale is a pedestal sink without cabinetry. I painted all the glaring chrome under-sink hardware a flat white to match the white wall color, and I don’t even notice it now.👍🏻

  9. Kristie, is the water pipe under the sink going to interfere with Matt’s wheelchair getting in close enough. I am sure you thought of that already but from the picture it looks close.
    Love how you are moving along

  10. Maybe you should send this post to the company. They would admire your work and probably give your comment a lot of weight.

  11. I’ve had a plumber tell me that the brand name faucets sold at big box store stores are not the same quality as those brand name faucets sold at plumbing supply places. He said the interior parts in the inferior faucets are plastic instead of stainless. Could the same be true of things like toilets and other plumbing parts? Just curious.

  12. Man, if I were you, I would have ditched Delta and their nonsense designs by now. All those weird proprietary designs are just an attempt to hold the consumer hostage and force you to buy replacement parts ONLY from them…thus securing more money out of your pocket. Of course, now that you’re stuck with one of their older toilet models with no way to fix it, they don’t care….

  13. Why black? Why not white to blend with the wainscoting should any of the lines be visible. As a side comment, even if I couldn’t see them, I’d know they were wadded up under the sink. Manufacturers tend to fix things that aren’t “broke”. Maddening!

  14. I am struggling with the same issues on my new kitchen faucet. I have CPVC supply lines and I have to figure out a way to secure everything so it doesn’t snap them.

  15. Shame on Delta! That borders on a scam in my mind. I will steer away from them too if they are making it so hard to get parts, or making it hard to interface with other normal products.
    It is just wrong. Why make things harder for people. I’m a bit shocked how long those hoses are, and there is no way to shorten and clean them up. Sorry for the struggle. Love the penny tile!

  16. Just reading the issues with the Delta fixtures makes my ADHD perfectionism go into overdrive and sets me on edge. I can’t even look at the close up photos. Must focus on the overall beauty of the bathroom…

  17. I just love reading about your renovations and how you solve design problems. We recently had to change homeowner’s insurance companies because the cost of premiums went up significantly. I found out if you have a mixture of different water pipes throughout your home some companies will not insure (or they charge a higher premium). It was recommended to have copper pipes. Second recommendation was PVC pipes. But a mixture of material in our home such as galvanized steel & copper prevented our home from being insurable in our area. Something to think about!

  18. Dear Kristi,
    I have three pedestal sinks in my house and have experienced the lack of beautiful, functional, easily-obtained plumbing supplies. There are companies out there that do provide pretty brass and gold pipes and accessories but I’m not sure they’d work with your Delta set up. I wonder if you called a reputable plumber if he’d have any ideas for fixing the mess under the sink and still using your Delta faucet?

    I’d paint the metal flanges the gold/bronze/rose gold mix you’ve done the p-trap with. Then I’d paint the tubing white to help it disappear into the wall and become less noticeable. Or paint the tubes gold as well, and continue your theme.

    The penny tile turned out so nicely and echos your chandelier perfectly! I’m looking forward to the bathroom reveal because you are really a master at staging and finishing touches.

    When the bathroom is complete, you might give some thought to making your studio your next project. If you finished that, you’d have storage for your tools, supplies and room to make art, draperies, furniture..all the things you’ve designed it to do-for your bedroom, laundry room and family room addition. Otherwise, where will all that stuff go/live while the construction is happening?

    Thank you for the inspiration and knowledge you share with each one of your projects!

    Your bathroom is a really beautiful space already and will only get better as it gets closer to completion! Enjoy your day!!!

    YHWH Bless You : )

  19. I agree on the white as well…. it will blend with the judges paneling much better? imho 😉 But on another note… THAT GLASS BEADED TILE TRIM IS FIRE!!! Oh My bleeping goodness!! LOVE IT!!
    Yes I did use way too many caps! LOL But I couldn’t contain myself, I love it!

  20. Dear Kristi,
    I think this may be what you need. It’s a video of how to shorten Delta supply lines.

    I hope you find a solution that is worthy of the beauty of your bathroom.

    YHWH Bless You : )

  21. Regarding the part for your studio bathroom toilet, I assume you have already contacted Delta to find out if they have the repair part. That is not an old toilet!

    Another possibility is to look on eBay for the broken part replacement. You would be amazed at what is available on eBay for parts that are otherwise out of stock, even with the manufacturer.

    Lastly, you might also call some of the plumbers who are on Delta’s authorized repair list to see if any of them have this part in stock, or can sell you a part that is compatible.

  22. Re: your missing toilet part. Could you have a replacement made by someone with a 3D printer? At the library where I work, we do this kind of thing for the public if they can provide a example or computer model of the piece for a $2 set-up fee and the cost of filament. Generally not more than $10. Just an idea.

  23. Good to know about the Delta faucets. I’m looking at replacing our guest bath with a Delta faucet from the Cassidy line. Everything is online though, so I have no idea about all the inner workings and proprietary design issues. I want champagne gold though, and there’s not many options in the style I like.

  24. My new Delta faucets are the same. We had a plumber install them and he said it was new for him. Also, what you said about the stream – yes! ours are the same. I just thought the pressure was different somehow, but what you said makes sense. Delta should know better:(