15 day build: How I installed a sink in my van

In Health & Wellness, Recovery, Sober Living by THR

By Derek Peters Tree House Staff

There were a few things I wasn’t willing to do without when building my van out – one of them was running water. Honestly, I would have been able to live without it, but, if you can, why not?! It makes things like brushing teeth, doing dishes, and even gathering water for coffee or tea a lot easier.

First off was my sink installation. I traced the sink on the counter top using the stencil the sink came with. I checked about 5five time, making sure that’s where I wanted it. I drilled a few pilot holes, grabbed my jigsaw and started following the markings (simple enough). Now I had to seal and adhere the sink to the counter top. I choose to go with an oil free plumbers putty, it stays malleable throughout most of its life. This keeps the sink firmly attached to the counter as well as keeping a water-tight seal. Plus, if for some reason you need to take the sink out, you can easily do so. Another reason I went with the plumber’s putty was because I used a walnut slab as my counter and wanted to keep the counter in pristine condition.

van sink

Next was water storage. Both my grey and fresh water tanks are 5-gallon Jerry Cans. I went this route rather than a larger tank because I wanted the filling process to be as easy as possible. It’s hard to find a garden hose to fill a tank while van dwelling and living in a city. For the sink drainage, I went with a standard garden hose cut to length. It lead from the sink drain all the way to my grey tank at the back of the van. For drawing fresh water to the sink I went with some food grade clear hosing — one end in the fresh water tank making its way to my pump (mounted underneath my bed) attached with rubber brackets to prevent the vibration from the pump moving anywhere else. From the pump, the hose made its way through my counter wall and attached to the factory cold water hoses that came with the faucet. What I found to be the most challenging part was sealing all the gaskets and the hot water hose since I have no hot water. I used all Brass fittings with teflon tape. Still, leaks would magically appear. There are so many different types of threadings for plumbing, so make sure that you bring all your pieces with you to the depot or hardware store and save yourself 35 trips running back and forth.

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474