How Long Does It Take To Install A Recessed Medicine Cabinet?

Bathroom storage can be cramped – that’s a fact. A medicine cabinet can be a great option to help add a bit more as well as make your bathroom your own. But what are your installation options? How long does it take?

Dig in and you’ll find out.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Recessed Medicine Cabinet?

When selecting a medicine cabinet, it’s essential to consider the types of medicine cabinets and which would be most beneficial for your needs.

The two primary types of medicine cabinets, named for the space intended for installation, are recessed medicine cabinets and surface or surface-mounted medicine cabinets. A surface medicine cabinet sits over the wall and can be easily hung with nails or screws, while a recessed medicine cabinet is put into the wall and delivers a more seamless look.

So, suppose you assess your needs and opt for the recessed cabinet instead of the surface cabinet. How long does it take to install a recessed medicine cabinet?

The answer depends on the wall you want to place it in and what’s located behind it. If you know what’s in your bathroom walls, it could take as little as a few hours, or as much time as a few days if you need electrical or other elements rerouted. The best thing you can do to ensure the installation takes as little time as possible is to plan accordingly.

How Do You Install a Recessed Bathroom Medicine Cabinet?

how do you install a recessed bathroom medicine cabinet

The first step in the installation process is planning and inspecting your wall. Before you even purchase the cabinet, you should inspect behind your wall’s surface and make sure there aren’t any major elements that could become an impediment.

You can cut a small, square hole in your wall to help you see into the wall cavity and determine what’s inside. Just make sure to keep the hole small and shallow enough that you won’t risk any damage to anything around it. You can always patch the hole later if you find that the location won’t work for a recessed medicine cabinet.

Look inside the wall to check for electrical wiring or water pipes. Often, these things can be rerouted if you really want the cabinet installed in a specific location. But vents or load-bearing framework aren’t so easy to move. If these are in your way, consider a different area for your cabinet or use a surface cabinet instead.

After you determine that the wall is a good location, mark the wall to the size of your cabinet. Use a stud finder to find any studs within those marks.

Next, use a saw to cut the wall, following the outline you created. Remove the cutout to reveal the drywall beneath. Repeat these steps with the drywall, continuing to inspect for any impediments as you go. You might have to cut through some drywall screws at points, and any studs you located previously will need to be removed as well.

Once you clear out the hole where you plan to place the cabinet, you need to create blocking to support the fixture. Install pieces of 2×4 measured to fit your space inside the top, bottom, and sides of the hole. You can install the blocking differently, but construction adhesive and screws are probably your best bet.

Once you complete these steps, you can begin to install your medicine cabinet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you could look into building your own recessed medicine cabinet to fit the space.

Is it Hard to Install Medicine Cabinets?

The difficulty of installing medicine cabinets all depends on your level of experience, the research you do on the topic, and whether you have the right tools for the job. If you put in the work upfront, this task can be relatively easy, even for a novice. You just have to follow every step; the correct process can be complex, but the results will be worth the effort.

Where Should I Put My Medicine Cabinet?

where should i put my medicine cabinet

It would be best to install your medicine cabinet in a place that makes the most sense and offers the most utility, but when storage is tight and the bathroom is small, your options might be limited.

If you’re struggling with your cabinet’s placement, consider where it would be the most useful to you. Are you using it as a secondary storage location for your skincare or other toiletries? Perhaps you could install it over your toilet so it remains out of the way but is still accessible.

Maybe your bathroom doesn’t have a mirror and you’re looking to use the medicine cabinet to serve as storage space and a mirrored surface. In that case, over the sink might be the best option. And if your bathroom does have a mirror, you could place your cabinet off to the side of it to give yourself a different mirror angle or even help the room feel larger.

What Is the Difference Between Recessed and Surface?

what is the difference between recessed and surface

When considering placement, you should also think about what kind of medicine cabinet you’re installing, such as a recessed or surface cabinet.

A recessed medicine cabinet allows the cabinet to sit almost flush with the wall so it doesn’t protrude in a way that could be obtrusive. This method requires you to cut a hole in the wall for installation, but it makes the cabinet look and function more seamlessly in the end.

The other type of medicine cabinet you can install is a surface or surface-mounted cabinet. A surface cabinet hangs on your wall using nails or screws. In this case, you need to consider where the studs are in your bathroom, which might affect the cabinet’s placement. Typically, wall studs are 16 inches apart, so use a stud finder to locate the ones in your home before hanging your medicine cabinet.

A surface medicine cabinet might be the easiest option to hang, especially if there are certain obstructions in your wall, but it doesn’t always look quite as chic as a recessed cabinet.

How Much Does it Cost to Install One?

how much does it cost to install one

The cost of installation depends on how involved the overall process will be in your home. If you cut open your wall to find there’s nothing in your way, the installation could cost nothing more than the price of the cabinet itself and whatever screws or materials needed that you don’t have on hand.

If you do find there are obstructions within your wall, you might need to involve a plumber or electrician to move them, which could become costly. At this point, you have to weigh the benefit of having a recessed cabinet in that specific location.

And if you don’t already own the tools for installation, such as a drill and saw, this could hike the cost even more. Before tackling this project, you should take all of these elements into consideration.

How Deep Are Recessed Medicine Cabinets?

how deep are recessed medicine cabinets

Typically, recessed medicine cabinets are about four inches deep, but it’s possible you can find one or make one bigger. Look into your options to determine the size that would be best in your space.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »