I needed a cheap solution for the vanity top in our bathroom, and wood seemed like the logical choice. If sealed properly, it is durable and has the added bonus of looking fine so fine.
The vanity is relatively small, and there were no complicated cuts or measurements to be made so it was a good area on which to attempt my first counter top installation. Plus, that laminate was just bad.
Remove the sink. Once Matt turned off all the water and unhooked the connections, we carefully pried the sink out of the hole. It was extremely hard to do this — that sucker was really stuck down.
After the sink was out, I removed the laminate slab by unscrewing it from underneath with my drill. This step was really easy, and here is what we were left with:
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of what I did next, but it’s simple. I scavenged the wood I used from my parents’ basement and just chose pieces that were all the same thickness (2 inches.) I took the old counter top into the garage and laid out the pieces of wood I was using (all different widths) like a puzzle on top. When I had the placement I liked, I marked where the ends needed to be trimmed and cut them to size. (Make sure you also do something to help you remember where each piece of wood goes on the counter. I marked on the back of the wood.) To stain, I did one coat of Minwax Puritan Pine followed by one coat of Minwax Dark Walnut. Once the boards were dry, we brought them into the bathroom and laid them across the top of vanity. (We also added some extra plywood braces across the top for more support.) Matt then screwed each board into the plywood base from the bottom up, while I put all my weight on the top to hold them down. Using the old counter top, we carefully traced where the sink would go and Matt cut it out with his reciprocating saw.
Because the wood was so thick, this was f-ing hard work. I felt really bad watching him do it, so I went downstairs and had a cup of hot chocolate and watched TV until he was finished.
Probably the most important part of this project is ensuring that the counter is waterproof, seeing as it’s in a bathroom. Waterlox is the way to go here.
Waterlox is a sealer/finish that actually penetrates the wood rather than just sitting on top of it. It is formulated for counters, and is 100% food safe once it’s fully cured. It also has very specific application instructions that I followed TO THE LETTER (except I didn’t use gloves or a mask or the right kind of brush) and is relatively easy to apply. The first few coats seep right into the wood, but subsequent coats will begin to form a finish over the top. I did 5 coats in total, waiting 24 hours in between each coat. The finish is a semi-gloss, and it changes the color of the wood only slightly.
After the last coat, we left the counter alone for five days (the recommended wait time is 72 hours) before giving the entire surface a light sanding with a very fine grit paper. Once the sink was back in the hole, I caulked around the perimeter from both under the vanity and on top for extra protection. I also replaced the old faucet with this one from Amazon.
I love how it looks with all the white, and it was so, so easy!
See the entire bathroom makeover here!