Creating The Bathroom Countertop Of Your Dreams Is Very Doable!


Trying to find the right bathroom countertop today can be a bit of a challenge. I find that a lot of the reasonably priced options tend to be thin and dull.

So If you're out shopping for a new countertop, and like I just can't seem to find one that resonates with you, don't settle for less. You have another option,

How about choosing the countertop tiles of your dreams and tiling your own bathroom countertop? And since it's a relatively small surface to tile, You can feel more comfortable choosing from the more expensive countertop tile designs,  like natural stone or even glass tile. Or for a less expensive option you can choose from the elegant line of Porcelain tiles that convincingly mimic the look of natural stone countertops.

It's a relatively easy tiling project. All you'll need to do is remove your current bathroom countertop. Then create a nice level tile underlayment for your new countertop tiles. 

The tile underlayment consists of   3/4 inch exterior grade plywood that comes in 4x8 sheets.  You just install the plywood base with a smooth, watertight cement backerboard tile underlayment, And then you're ready to install your countertop tiles.

Preparing For Removing A  Bathroom countertop

* If you are installing a new faucet, you can remove the whole countertop with the faucet still attached. 

* If you want to save your old faucets, Disconnect the supply lines from the bottom of the faucets, And if you can't reach the connections with your hands use a basin wrench to disconnect the lift rods. Then remove the nuts from under the faucets.

* Self-rimming sinks are ideal for a tiled bathroom countertop. Not only are they easy to install, but as an added benefit the rims of these sinks will cover the rough edges of the cut countertop tiles. 

* If You obtain your new faucet and sink template which is supplied by the manufacturer, It makes it easier to mark the cutouts to your new counter.

* If your bathroom cabinet does not already have corner brackets to support the countertop, you'll need to purchase four. They are very easy to find at most any Hardware or Homes good store.

* Performing tile work in a kitchen or bath can be a bit of a challenge to you and your loved ones. Check out some of the tips in the section on planning ahead for tiling kitchens and baths. It offers some great tips that make tiling these rooms a lot less challenging.

Removing Your Old Bathroom Countertop

First turn off your water by turning the hot and cold water valves all the way clockwise.  If your fortunate enough to have them, They would be the two water valves found on the wall underneath the bathroom cabinet . 

Then check to make sure the water is off by turning on the faucet. If water still comes through, and tightening the valves more doesn't solve the problem, Or if you don't have these water valves at all, you'll need to cut off the main water supply for the entire house. 

Gather up a bucket to place underneath the sink to catch any water that will escape from the pipes. You'll also need some old towels for mopping up spills.

Step 1 - Disconnect Your Plumbing And Remove The Old Countertop

Water Supply Lines

Use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the water lines from the valves, The water supply lines are the two flexible hose-like cords.

Unscrew The P-trap

Then use your hands to unscrew the P-trap from the sink.  * The P-trap is the curved part of the pipe that connects your sink to the water drain.  If you twist off the connection pieces on each side of the P-trap, it will release the drain pipe attached to the sink.

The P-trap catches everything that goes down the drain. So here's where things can get messy. Just let whatever comes out, go straight into the bucket!

Cut The Caulking And Remove The Countertop

Score the joint between the bathroom countertop and the wall with a sharp utility knife.  If this joint is caulked, try to cut completely through the caulk.

Then use your utility knife to score the joint between the countertop and the bathroom cabinet. You want to break the bond of any glue or caulk.

Be careful to keep the blade of your knife as perpendicular to the cabinet frame as possible to prevent from cutting the wood. Then lift off the bathroom countertop. And if needed install your corner brackets to support your new countertop.

Step 2- Measure And Cut Out Your Ply Wood Base 

You can either lay your old bathroom countertop on top of the plywood and trace it, or if you don't have an old one, Measure the top of your bathroom cabinet and add an extra inch to all sides that are not against a wall. 

Transfer your measurements to a sheet of 3/4 inch exterior plywood. 

Make sure to add your extra 1 inch to your plywood markings as this will work as a 1-inch overhang to the top of the bathroom cabinet, And also ensure adequate support for your edge tiles. 

Also be sure to arrange it so the manufacturer's straight pre-cut edge will be facing out towards the room, And the side you cut will fit up against the wall.

Then use either a circular saw or a table saw to cut your plywood along the lines,

Test fit your plywood base by placing it on top of the cabinet and make any needed adjustments, like trimming if it's too large or cutting a new one if it's too small!

Check For Level

Lay your bubble level on the top of the cabinet to ensure that it's  level. If you need to raise, low spots use shims with a dab of wood glue to add the needed height. Insert the shims between the bathroom cabinet and plywood.

Screw Down Your Plywood Base

Apply a bead of silicone caulk  around the perimeter of the top of the bathroom cabinet, place your plywood base on top and press down.

Make sure to place your plywood base on top of the bathroom cabinet with the manufacturers pre-cut edge facing out towards the room. You'll  also want it so your 1-inch overhang is even. Then screw your plywood base to the corner brackets, while being careful not to interrupt the shims.

Step 3- Trace your plywood Cutout To The Cement Backerboard Sheet

Once the plywood fits over the bathroom cabinet correctly, use the cutout of the plywood as a template for cutting your cement backerboard tile underlayment to match the size.

Lay out your backerboard sheets on the floor with the tile side down, which is also the rougher side. Then place the plywood cut out over it face down as well.  Trace the outline of the plywood onto the cement backerboard sheets. Press your marker close up against the plywood to ensure the backerboard will be an even fit.

Step 4-Cutting Your Backerboard Sheets

Score The Cement Board

 Hold a straight 2x4 against one of your cut lines, and score the sheet with a carbide tipped cement board knife. Press down hard while making a dozen or so passes through the cement board.

Snap The Cement Board

 Snap your cement board by sliding your 2x4 underneath your cement backerboard and align it just under the scoreline. While you are holding one side of the cement backerboard sheet, firmly press down with the other hand and snap the board along the cut.

Then stand the cement board on its edge and make your final cut, by passing your knife through the back of the cement board. Use a rasp or a tile stone to smooth any rough spots on the cement board.

Step 5 Attach Your Plywood Base And Cement Backerboard Tile Underlayment.

Lay the cement boards on top of the plywood base.  Assure that the edges of the plywood and cement boards align, and if not make the needed adjustments. 

Then remove the cement backerboards and mix up a batch of Thinset tile adhesive.

Spread the Thinset over the entire surface of the plywood. Then replace the cement board evenly on top, and fasten the boards together using 1-inch backerboard screws every six inches or so across the entire top.

Step 6- Cutout The Hole For Your Sink And Faucets

If you are installing a new sink to your new bathroom countertop, use the manufacturer's template for marking and cutting out the hole for your new sink.

If there is no template, simply turn the sink upside down and center it on the surface of 1/2-inch backerboard sheets and trace the outline.

Use a drill to make a starter hole, and then finish cutting the sink hole through the plywood and the cement backerboard  using a jigsaw.

If the manufacturer has supplied a template for marking your faucets holes, Position the template in the correct position to the sink hole. And use a nail to mark the spots where you'll need to drill the faucet holes.

If the template is not available, you can make your own. Use a stiff piece of cardboard, punch out the faucet holes and trace the outline of the faucet plate to your bathroom countertop. If the faucets have individual sprouts, Mark the cement backerboard and plywood base for each. Space them at the appropriate locations and equal distance from the center of the sink basin hole.

Cut Out your Faucet Holes

Drill the holes by using a hole saw with a diameter equal to your faucet mounts.

Then Apply fiberglass mesh tape over any seams of the cement boards, And smooth over the tops of screws and fiberglass tape with thinset to create a smooth surface for installing your countertop tiles.

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