Things you want to know before selecting your vanity

Table of Contents

1. Quality

Not all vanities are made equally. At Empire bathrooms we have been installing vanities for more than 20 years, we have seen it all from cheap and nasty to opulent luxury. Our goal is to supply fixtures that will last the lifetime of your bathroom. So rest assured that all of the vanities found on our site pass the Empire Bathrooms check list.

Some of the things that make a notable difference are:

The board used to make the structure

All of the vanities we supply are made from moisture resistant medium density fibreboard (MRMDF) from local suppliers (Polytec and Laminex) that hold a level A green tag tm certification, forest stewardship council. Certification (FSCR), and E0 formaldehyde emission rating. tmtm


All of our painted vanities have a poly urethane finish. What is PU paint?
A polyurethane coating (PU paint) is a hard-wearing, highly-resistant coating. It is a reaction polymer, a combination of a polyol resin and an isocyanate hardener or curing agent. Which means it is very hard wearing. Not all vanities are painted this way.

All of our laminate vanities use Polytec or Laminex boards. What is laminate?
By definition it is layered engineered timber board, bonded to a veneer layer with heat, pressure and resin. The result is a very water resistant hardwearing durable plastic finished board that can be finished in many different textures, This gives a wide range of effects and finishes. The regulations for making this material are very stringent here in Australia. So the main thing to watch for here is that your vanity has been made with board manufactured in Australia. Easy!


Hinges and drawer runners are an important part of any vanity. They are the moving or mechanical items that are most prone to wear and failure. Quality of these items is of the utmost importance. Our vanities have a variety of different drawer runners depending on the level you choose, but rest easy in knowing that even the more budget minded systems from ADP and Timberline are built to last in demanding circumstances.


This is an important aspect of any decision around purchasing. Note that different items selected in your vanity might have a different warranty periods, for example the hardware might have a 7yr warranty where as Caesar stone top might have 10yr warranty. The most important aspect of warranty is the reputation of the company backing it. The suppliers we use have professional staff and not contractors to service any faults directly. Furthermore companies that have been around longer will have a better chance of still being around in years to come when you might need them.

2. Making sure it fits

There is two main questions to ask here. Is your vanity going into a new bathroom, or an existing bathroom. And here is why:

New bathroom

This scenario gives us some latitude for choices. The length and depth of the vanity still need to fit the room- Some questions to consider will be:

How close will the vanity finish next to the other fixtures?  We recommend no closer than 100mm to the shower screen for ease of cleaning and no closer than 375mm to the centre of the toilet for shoulder room. Is the vanity against the wall and adjacent to a door? Will the depth come past the doorway or clash with the architrave? Will the drawers clash with the architrave when opened or any other items such as towel rails?

Once the size and configuration is accounted for the plumbing should be easy. As long as the vanity is selected before the plumber puts his pipework in the walls and floor it will be a dream run. If you can send a spec sheet of your vanity to your plumber before they start the work, you will make them very happy and it will eliminate any problems at installation.

Existing Bathroom

There is quite a few things to consider here. At Empire bathrooms we make this job super easy- We offer an installation service to go with your purchase (Sydney metro only) Should you choose this option we will

have a phone consultation with you regarding the plumbing and fixing situation. Also the removal and disposal of the existing unit. If you live out of town or prefer DIY you will need to consider these items: Where the pipes currently come through the floor and wall. Be aware that if the drainage pipe comes

through the floor you might be better suited to a floor mounted vanity, otherwise a wall mounted unit will leave the drainage pipe exposed underneath. Also some existing vanities are put in before the tiling. This can cause a few issues and may result in needing tiles replaced. If the new vanity has a larger footprint than the existing you might be able to cover the missing tiled area and then disregard the need for tile replacement. Knowing where the water pipes come through is vital. The water pipes will need to be accessible and will need to line up with an open area in the cabinet. If they come through in an area with

drawers or a joining panel in the cabinet you will be in for trouble. Same goes with the drainage pipe. Although a few bends might be able to be made under the kick board or tight to the underside of a wall hung vanity if you have a clever plumber on your side. Bottom line is, if you are unsure, call 98194681 and

we can give you professional advice.

3. Selecting the right options


There is many options to choose from here. Let me break it down into 3 basic options.

Acrylic tops are easy to clean and affordable, but be aware they are a natural enemy of anything too hot, like hair straighteners.

Ceramic tops are also easy to clean and they do resist heat, but they can be a bit susceptible to cracking, only if they are impacted with something hard or heavy.

Engineered stone is a popular choice. It is durable, heat and scratch resistant (depending on the range) and available in a multitude of colours and textures. A nicely matched stone top can be an elegant feature in any bathroom. However they do cost a but more and you will need to buy a suitable bowl separately.

Tap holes

You might see this option in a drop down box while buying a vanity online. It refers to the amount of holes you need in the bench top to suit the tap situation.

Before you make this selection you will need to decide if you are having a traditional two taps and a spout, a single mixer tap mounted on the bench or wall mounted taps/mixer.

A tap and spout in the bench will require 3 tap holes,

a single mixer 1 taphole and wall taps will be 0. Again, if you have any questions, call us.

Plug and wastes

If you look at the drain hole in you basin you will see a metal surround that the plug fits into. This is called the waste. The options here are the type and colour. Matching the colour of your plug and waste to your tapware is a nice touch.

Doors and drawers

Most vanities on our site have multiple configurations or drawers and doors. Drawers are considered more practical and a better use of space. Some people prefer all drawers and some want a combination. Its all subjective and your personal preference.

Drawer runners do vary, but essentially you get what you pay for in this department. All of the drawer runners from our suppliers are of sound quality regardless of the level selected. A popular choice is the soft close runners, not only can you slam the drawer in silence but the quality is generally a bit higher than the standard runners. Glass sides and automated lights are an optional upgrade that are appealing in look and function.

Handle choice really depends on the style you have selected. Finger pull door and drawers are a popular choice, no fuss and a sleek flat finish.

But perhaps handles suit your style, matching the colour to your tapware and accessories will keep things consistent.

Cabinet finishes

This comes down to two basic options. Painted (PU) or laminate. Painted finishes come in an unlimited range of colours and few different sheens which makes it an appealing choice when it comes to matching tiles and other colours within the space. Also paint can be used on profiled door and panels. (Shaker style).

Laminate finishes are becoming popular again/ Laminate technology has come a long way in the last 30yrs. These new products are very moisture resistant and hardwearing, probably more robust than paint.

The options here are quite large with finishes from flat gloss to textured timber grain. Laminates generally cannot be used on profiled doors and panels. Shaker style is generally painted only.

4 Getting the right style

Now we know the ins and outs of selecting the right vanity, here comes the hard part. Deciding what you want. With the amount of options available its not easy.

Some tips on getting started are:

Try selecting your tiles first, this will determine your colour palette and textures to match or contrast.

Think about what whether your vanity needs to match the existing style of your house or are you starting from scratch.

If you are having trouble don’t be afraid to involve an interior designer. Call us on 98194681 and book in Lydia for your full bathroom design service. Cost of consultation is included in some purchases.

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