The Laundry Room Makeover: How to Hide a Laundry Utility Tub Sink.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

 
wood lath cover for white plastic laundry utility tub sink
Mmk, all righty, let's do some catching up on the DIY laundry room budget-friendly makeover, shall we? It's been a stitch since the inaugural part one, my apologies! In this episode, random project, we cover the laundry utility tub sink!

Woot!

So right, last we left off with this Room of Massive Conundrum, the machines were unstacked, woot!!, I was gettin' splashy with it in a happy teal green originally in the stair and a stencil, sh*t was happenin'!  And whooie, damn, I was excited!

And then eerrrrttttt, I halted in front of the laundry utility tub sink one day, ya know, those ubiquitous white plastic things* that were not designed for aesthetics, and felt very displeased with its existence. 

Right, this laundry room utility tub sink, it's...it's Iiii dunno....

white plastic laundry utility tub sink before
Before.  Ubiquitous.  ...yawn

The height was shortened because they didn't want to change the drain plumbing to fit.  The back part where the faucet sits was warped, pooling water at the wall and they screwed that part to the wall.  Weirdly.  Screwed the feet to the floor.  Legs screwed to the tub.  Yet the thing was loose and wiggly.

I stood and stared for a while, trying to think of ways to disguise it, improve it, I dunno, melt it down and install something attractive, but as this was a budget one room challenge, springing for a new sink seemed ridiculous and wasteful.

After searching the interwebs for ideas on how to hide this albatross, I kinda winged the whole thing based on what was already in my wood stash.  

Part of my intended plan was to level up the back part and make the thing sturdier on its feet, atop making it far more aesthetically pleasing.

Heh, I keep ending up with leftovers of wood lath despite trying to use it up, only to have to purchase more.  So I thought, ok, this is it dammit, I am gonna use up that wood lath once and for all.

Seriously, I am not trying to be the Crazy Wood Lath Lady here.

But.  It is a great material, it's inexpensive, it's flexible in its use in multiple design genres (modern, contemporary, farmhouse, whatever), can be decorative as well as functional, and it's easy to work with.

Ok, so I ran to Menards anyway, hahaha, and picked up some 3/4" square dowels* for this wacky idea I had.  Or, I should say, I ran to Menards to pick up more square dowels because I math-errored the first go around with the dowels I had on hand.

wood and tool supplies prepped

All righty!  Here we go....

First I measured the existing height of the sink because I too didn't want to mess with the drain, settling on a height of 32.5" to under the plastic sink edge lip thingie part.

Cut my four wood dowels for legs to 32.5" on the ol' miter saw, done.

Next, the front panel.  I measured the sink face so based on that and the width of the wood lath, I went with nine horizontal pieces tall.  For the width, I measured underneath that plastic sink edge lip thingie part across, standing two dowels beneath the corners, and went with 23" wide.

Now, math/design/construction tip here:  cut the wood lath strips for the front wider, aka, let the lath overhang both sides by a quarter inch each.  That hides the ends of the side panels so the face is full across and uninterrupted.

To aid in construction evenness, take a piece of 1/4" thick scrap and clamp it to a side of the leg.  Align the wood lath strips, dab a lil' wood glue,* then adhere however you wish.  I chose 3/4" brad nails* with my nail gun.*

clamping guide piece to square dowel
All of these pictures are so terrible for some reason, I apologize now.  So yeah, clamp a strip to your dowel.

aligning and gluing wood lath to square dowel
Dab a blob of wood glue, line the wood lath up to the outside edge of the guide piece, and tack.

wood lath pieces attached to square dowel for front panel
Ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk, tacked.
Repeat with the other leg and the front panel is done.  All righty!

For my side panels, I tucked the front panel under the sink, measured under the lippy part again, front of the front panel face to the wall, got 24" so cut I the lath to 23.75."

To build, make sure you've laid out specific left and right sides.  Leg on the right for right, tack the nine wood lath strips down the right, no leg for the left side of right.  Heh, left right left right.

starting left side panel
Starting the left side panel here.
Tack the floppy free edge of the wood lath pieces to the side of the front panel leg so that it tucks behind the 1/4" overhang and repeat the side panel process with the other side.

taking side panel to front panel
This is a bit of a balancing act.
In between there, I had to run back to Menards and you guessed it, buy more freakin' wood lath.  Oy dear me, for the love of all things holy I am never gonna get rid of this stuff!!

To add some structure, I cut some leftover bits of 3/4" square dowel and made angle brackets of sorts tucked up underneath.

added angle brackets inside
Itty bitty teeny weenie angle brackets though they can be any size so long as the sink fits.
For a three-fold add of structure, I tacked a piece of 1x4 across the back side to a. make a complete square and sturdy up the frame, b. have something to attach the whole shebang to the wall with, and c. use as a base to shove the droopy back part of the sink to level.  -Ish.

1x4 support piece in the back
Okey doke, built and ready to install!
How does my whole wood-fangled contraption work?  

The sink edge lippy part rests atop the wood dowel leg ends and along the edges of the wood lath.  It's not completely structural per se (sorry Dad) but when combined with being attached to the wall and the tight connection of the drain holding the sink downward, this bitch ain't movin'.

So what I did to install was remove the white plastic legs, disconnect the drain (merely unscrewing the parts over a bucket), ah I think I had to disconnect the water lines (another bucket, twist to shut off and unscrew the nuts), skootch the new frame up and under the sink, and snugged it up against the wall.

installation viewed from underneath
Installation time!
A stud finder* to locate my targets and I tacked through the 1x4 with 2 1/2" or so screws,* whatever was long enough to zip through 3/4" one-by, 1/2" drywall, and securely into studs.  Don't make me do more math.  And be sure to pilot drill holes through that one-by so it doesn't split.

Then step back, lo and behold, our tragic and ugly, dinged up plastic laundry utility tub sink was hidden and rejuvenated into something a lot less ugly.

finished laundry utility tub sink wood lath cover
Tada! 
I wasn't done with this little sink area so there will be a part two!  Be sure to stay tuned for that.

hidden laundry sink by wood lath and wood dowels

On a very very sad note, please send warm, loving thoughts to my brokenhearted sweetheart Mike as we have lost his much loved father to cancer.  Sigh.  It's hard to find words at times like these.

*The laundry utility tub sinks, square dowels, wood glue, brad nails, nail gun, 2 1/2" screws, and stud finders are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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