Framing in a recessed medicine cabinet

Why most bathroom remodeling projects don't recess the medicine cabinet

and what's the difference anyway?

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What's a top notch bathroom remodeling project without a recessed medicine cabinet? They look so good, all and flush recessed into the wall - they always look like a flush piece of glass mirror mounted to the wall. Instead, they hinge open to reveal all your toiletries, sundries, health, and medical supplies neatly hidden away as if you didn't need any of that stuff like the rest of us do.

For many remodeling projects, the added expense of recessing a mirrored medicine cabinet is enough to discourage the remodeler. Recessing a medicine cabinet is not a trivial, easy job. The wall needs to be opened up enough to frame in the unit using 2x4s to form a rectangular frame within the wall studs to accept the medicine cabinet.

If you're lucky, you only need to cut one or two wall studs, and then reinforce with this framing in. If you're not so lucky, when you open up your wall, you might find recessing is prohibitively expensive due to venting or wires. Electrical wires often run through this area behind the sink, and and so do the pipes that vent the drainage lines up through the roof - depending on the age of your home.

With this bathroom remodel project, we got lucky - not that the vent wasn't in the wall, it was. But the pipes came up from the drain at an angle that provided just enough space for a small, um quite small, i.e. 20 inches wide by 26 inches high recessed medicine cabinet.

The height allowed can also be affected by the bathroom lighting junction box above the sink if you have one. This was also the case here. It's a tight area to find something that will fit, but you can always have something custom made for a reasonable amount of coinage.

But 20 inches wide might seem like a lot or it may seem like a little. In fact it seems realistic to consider a 20 inch wide medicine cabinet slightly retro - 40s 50s. Indeed, the old 36 inch wide medicine cabinet was loaded with stuff that was either unused, expired, or otherwise good for the garbage, so 20x26 might be plenty - for the husband anyway.

Luckily, a Kohler medicine cabinet fit the bill - 20 inches wide by 26 inches high. It fit the needs of this bathroom remodel for far less money than the $1000 dollars that the local snobs wanted for something that was really only 20% better. In fact, it was had for only a few hundred dollars.

We found the Kohler in stock at a local Lowes. Unlike Home Dumpo, Lowes had the product in stock, and in virgin packaging - again unlike Home Dumpo, where most factory sealed products have already been popped by the local savages who seem to enjoy parting out packages and with complete store complacency.



Common typos: medicen medisin cabine cabnet medican medcine medcin cabint medisen cabniet


Recessing a bathroom medicine cabinet can be a little touch-and-go as to its viability. But here's what it might look like if you decide to include this in your bathroom remodel.

Picture 1: Medicine cabinet framing
Picture 2: Medicine cabinet framing
Picture 3: Recessed cabinet framing and vanity
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Copyright(c)2007, by Scott Hares, All Rights Reserved - bathroom remodeling pictures.