A medicine cabinet can really add needed storage to a small bathroom. Because they are installed into an existing wall, they maximize the use of space. And the best part about installing a new medicine cabinet in your bathroom is the cost. The cabinets cost as little as fifty bucks and if you're decent with tools, you can install one yourself in about an hour.
Once you've determined a potential location for your medicine cabinet, it's time to check out the wall to see if any mechanical items are in the way. Mechanical items like plumbing, wiring, and ductwork can be a deal breaker on this project. We don't want to move any of these as it can get expensive.
If you have an unfinished basement below this bathroom, you can check from below to see if any mechanicals run up into the wall. A stud finder can be helpful to locate existing studs and some even have the ability to detect wiring and plumbing. You can also cut a small hole in the drywall at the potential cabinet location and look to see what's in there. Be careful to just cut the drywall and no deeper. You don't want to hit any wiring that may be hidden inside the wall.
Once you've determined that nothing exists in the wall, go ahead and cut the opening in the drywall the exact size of the cabinet insert. You may want to have a friend hold the cabinet in place while you mark the edge with a pencil before cutting. Make sure the opening is level and plumb. Set the cabinet into the drywall cutout to make certain it is the correct size.
Now you want to frame in the opening. For our installation, the vertical studs adjacent to the opening were in the correct location. Many of the medicine cabinets on the market are made to fit between wall studs spaced at sixteen inches on center. So all we needed to do was measure the horizontal distance between the studs and cut two new 2x4 pieces. These two pieces are to be installed at the top and bottom of the drywall opening. This gives you something to secure the medicine cabinet to and supports the cabinet once it's installed.
If you don't have a vertical stud at either side of the drywall opening, you will need to add these. The easiest way to do this is to cut a 2x4 the same height as the drywall opening. Slide it into the wall cavity and secure it to the side of the closest existing stud with nails or screws. If need be, you can add another stud to bring the framing to the opening in the drywall.
Once you have wood studs surrounding the opening in the wall, it's time to install the medicine cabinet. Have a friend hold the cabinet in place as you install screws through the jambs into the surrounding framing. Use a level to check for plumb and level prior to securing. Be careful if you use a cordless screw gun here. You don't want to damage the inside of the medicine cabinet by getting the screws too tight.
Now all you need to do is flip a coin with your significant other to determine who gets to use the new storage space.
Author Bio: Michael Luckado has built, remodeled and repaired thousands of homes across the U.S. He co-founded ArmchairBuilder.com to help people build and remodel their own homes. You can save money and build your own home with a little help.