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Medicine Cabinets

The medicine cabinet provides an area for storage and generally a mirror. Medicine cabinets come in a variety of sizes, finishes and functionality. The cabinet itself can be made of metal, plastic or in rare instances wood. Inexpensive cabinets will not have quality mirrors.

bathroom medicine cabinet
Figure 1 - Mirrored medicine cabinet

Selection of mirrored medicine cabinets.

The quality of the mirror and the hardware (hinges) are usually the determining factors in the retail price of the medicine cabinet. Other features which will affect the price is shelving. Molded or permanently positioned shelving will be less expensive than shelving that can be positioned at different levels within the cabinet.

medicine cabinets
medicine cabinet 4

Some medicine cabinets will have the option of a matching light bar for mounting above the cabinet, while others may have the option of matching light bars for mounting to the sides of the cabinet.

The majority of medicine cabinets are designed to be recessed into a wall and hence have a depth of approximately 3 1/2". This allows for the width of a standard 2 x 4 and the drywall or plaster lathe.

Before installing a new medicine cabinet, if the wall recess has to be enlarged to accommodate the new unit, it is wise to do some investigation, to determine what if anything may be behind the wall.

In many cases vent pipes, from the main house drain system can run behind vanity basins and if this is the case it could easily prevent opening the wall space to accommodate a larger medicine cabinet. Electrical wiring may also run behind the wall, powering lighting as well as receptacles.

Relocating vent pipes and electrical wiring can prove to be a major undertaking that may lead to a complete bathroom remodeling project just in order to change the medicine cabinet.

As with any home improvement project some basic investigation and planning should always be undertaken prior to actually purchasing new products.

Additional information on remodeling a bathroom