How to Install a Bath Vanity Top
Whether it is to replace an old, damaged vanity top, or to just change up the feel of the room, adding a new vanity top can completely redefine your entire bathroom. The majority of time, the vanity is the key centerpiece of the bathroom. A beat-up or outdated vanity top can make your centerpiece an eyesore, but a sleek new top might make the bathroom your favorite room in the whole house. Installing a new bath vanity top may seem like a daunting task, but the process of completing it is simpler than you think.
To install a bath vanity top, all you really need are a few basic tools and the right steps to follow. What may seem like an impossible project can be made simple with just a little help.
While it may look like a task only professionals should be allowed to handle, it’s not really the case. Most vanity tops can be maneuvered by one or two people and the entire project can usually be completed in an afternoon. If you think you don’t even have the tools necessary to complete the installation, don’t worry. The only power tool technically needed is a drill, and often times, even that isn’t required. As far as the remaining tools go, most people are able to find them lying around the house.
With that being said, there are several things you can do to make your installation easier. Most of them have to do with the type of vanity top you choose. To avoid any extra hole cutting, choose a top that fits perfectly with the sink and faucet setup you currently have. This makes the installation easier, but then again, there is more freedom in style and design if you want to go with a whole new custom setup.
Regardless of your choice, the step-by-step solution below will help guide you through the process. Let’s check out just what it takes to install a new bath vanity top.
An Easy-to-Follow Bath Vanity Top Installation Guide
It can seem like a big task, we get it. But you shouldn’t be worried about messing anything up. Be excited! This is a chance to completely transform the look and feel of your bathroom with a fairly easy installation. And as mentioned before, this guide is going to walk you through every single part of the process, step-by-step.
· Pipe Wrench
· Adjustable Crescent Wrench
· Tape Measure
· Utility Knife
· Pry Bar
· Caulk Gun
· Plumber’s Putty
· Pipe Tape
· New Vanity Top
· Silicone Sealant (Caulk)
· New Faucet Set
· New Hardware
· Wood Shims
· Bucket & Towel
· A Strong Helper!
Step 1: Measure & Plan
Hopefully you are reading this before you purchase your new vanity top. It’s important to know all your measurements before buying because it makes the installation that much easier. Ideally your new vanity top has the same dimensions as the old one, this goes for both outer dimensions and sink/faucet dimensions. Take these measurements down before you buy to make choosing your new top as simple as possible.
While your style may not have any limits, the size of your vanity top will largely be limited by the space you have available in your bathroom. You could technically get away with a slightly larger top that overhangs the sides of your vanity. But you don’t want it to overhang more than an inch, otherwise it may interfere with cabinetry/drawer access and walking space.
Step 2: Know Your Design
The most exciting part about getting a new vanity, besides seeing the finished product, is designing it all yourself. There are a number of different style variations to choose from. You can customize everything, including vanity top material, finish, sink style, backsplash, hardware, and more.
As far as materials go, a sleek black granite vanity top can do wonders for keeping a clean look. A glossy finish cleans super well and leaves your vanity top so shiny you can see your reflection in it. At the same time, a greyish-black moonstone top goes perfect with a rustic, woodsy vibe. While both of these materials have their fortes, they can each be used universally to match almost every bathroom style.
Many new vanity tops will come with sinks and faucets already customized and fitted to their own style and measurements. However, others leave room for you to customize the sink and faucet yourself. As with everything else in the design, this one is all up to your own style. You’ll be able to choose from different shaped sinks to a whole variety of faucet types.
If you are getting a new vanity top, you’ll likely want a new backsplash too. Some tops come with a matching backsplash, others don’t. If you want to go with a contrasted look, it isn’t a bad idea to match it to the color of your vanity itself, giving you that 1:2:1 aesthetic.
Step 3: Disconnect the Plumbing
First thing’s first, don’t forget to shut the water off. You can do this at the valves located directly below the sink. While you are underneath the sink, you may find it easier to take off the cabinet doors, which will give you a little more room to work in. Once the valves are completely turned off, open the faucet to relieve any excess pressure built up in the plumbing system.
The next step is to remove the P-trap, a U-shaped piece of pipe below the sink. This can normally be removed by simply unscrewing the nuts on each end by hand. Be sure to have your bucket and towel ready because this is the place in the plumbing where all the leftover water will stack up. Next you can unscrew the water supply hoses from their attachment points at the shutoff valves. You should be able to use an adjustable crescent wrench for this. Don’t throw away any of the plumbing fittings you disconnect during this step, as you will need them again when it comes time to reconnect your system.
As a side note: since you now have access to the inside of your pipes, it may be a good opportunity to clean out any grime or buildup that may have accumulated over time.
Step 4: Remove the Existing Vanity Top
Bathroom vanity tops usually have two ways they are secured in place. The first of which is by caulk adhesive. There is almost always a bead of caulk connecting the bottom of the vanity top to the vanity itself, and a bead where the vanity top meets the wall. Using a utility or razor-knife, you should be able to smoothly cut along each bead of caulk, freeing the vanity top from its anchor points. The bead of caulk along the bottom of the vanity top can be tough to cut through, so it’s a good idea to cut from the outside and inside of the vanity. If you plan on removing your vanity’s backsplash too, you can dismantle that in the same way.
If your existing vanity top is made of a laminate, tile, or wood material, there is likely multiple screw attachments on the inside of the vanity in addition to the caulk. These can be quickly taken out with a screwdriver or drill.
If at this point, your old vanity top comes off, fantastic! Lift it off and move it out of the way. However, much of the time, you’ll have to put in a little additional work to break the caulk or glue bond between your vanity and vanity top. This can be done with a chisel and hammer, carefully breaking apart the bond, piece by piece. Once you have a section of the vanity top freed from it’s base, you should be able to insert a pry bar to loosen the rest of the top. Be careful here not to damage the wall and vanity itself. As long as your sink wasn’t caulked in, it should lift freely out at this point too.
Step 5: Clean & Prepare Attachment Surface
You’ll have a hard time getting your new vanity top level if the surface you are attaching it to isn’t clean. Scrape all caulk and adhesive residue from the top edge of the vanity with a chisel or utility knife. If you have access to one, it isn’t a bad idea to really level off the surface with a sander, but that isn’t required by any means. A good clean scrape will do the trick. You will also want to remove all caulk residue from the wall. Some of this can be taken away by hand, but utilize a knife’s edge to really guarantee a clean surface.
If the wall or vanity received any damage during the removal of the old vanity top, now is the time to complete any touch-up paint work.
Step 6: Secure Your New Vanity Top
Position your new vanity top on the vanity base, making sure that all corners and edges line up evenly. If you have designed your vanity top to overhang the sides of the vanity slightly, just be sure the amount of overhang matches on all sides. Before you do anything to secure the top to the base or wall, you’ll want to make sure your new top is level. Grab a level and place it on the top to ensure this. If your top needs adjustments, you can slide wood shims in between the vanity top and base to get it perfectly leveled. You won’t want any shims sticking out where you can see them, so cut off excess shims with a utility knife, making them flush with the base.
Once you have the vanity top properly positioned and leveled, you can now secure it to the base and wall. If your new vanity top came with securing clips or some other kind of base attachment, now is the time to screw those into the top. Next, you can apply a bead of caulk along the underside of the vanity top to add an additional layer of attachment with the base.
If you are installing a new backsplash as well, you’ll want to get that into position before caulking between the vanity top and wall. To get the cleanest lines, it’s not a bad idea to use masking tape to block off any wall space you don’t want to get caulk on. Apply an even caulk bead where the vanity top and/or backsplash meet the wall. Congrats, your top is attached!
Step 7: Reinstall Your Faucet and Sink
Now, if you’ve taken this opportunity to purchase a new faucet and sink setup, this won’t technically be a reinstall, but the same steps apply. It’s best to save this part for last, because then you won’t have to work around the faucet and other hardware when you are caulking. It makes for much less mess.
Depending on the manufacturer’s requirements, the attachment of faucet and sink to the vanity top may differ. But generally you won’t need any additional tools than the ones described earlier.
To reconnect the plumbing, attach the water supply lines and P-trap in the same way you removed them before. Be sure to reapply pipe tape and plumber’s putty to the threaded connection points to help prevent leaks. As an additional step, you can caulk around the bottom of the sink and faucet fittings to help prevent any other leaking.
Finally, to check that all your work has been squared away, turn back on the water supply. If after a few moments you don’t spot any leaks, you’re good to go!
Vanity Top Installation: It’s Easier Than You Think
While it may seem like an overwhelming task at first glance, installing your own bath vanity top isn’t so complicated when you break it down. Customizing your own bathroom setup can be extremely rewarding. This installation is your chance to make this space something functional, yet completely unique to your style. Whether it’s a sleek black marble top, or a streamlined white glossed finish, you now have all the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the job. Now that you’re basically a certified professional, suit up. It’s time to install your new bath vanity top!