Give Your Grooming Space Distinctive Style
Tiling your bathroom vanity can give your countertop a new distinctive style without having to remodel your whole bathing space. A good reason to tile your grooming area if you’ve already tiled your walls and floors is that it also helps to better integrate all your rooms surfaces for visual consistency.
On the other hand, if you just want your vanity to stand out and become a focal point in your bath then this procedure will make your grooming space a more visually central part of your bathing facility. One of the most important things you need to do is build a stable and level substrate before laying your tiles.
The basic skill set you will need is the ability to cut, set and grout tiles as well as some very basic carpentry skills such as cutting the hole for your sink if you remove your existing vanity top to replace it with a new custom unit.
One thing you should note is that typically most commercial vanity countertops are not meant to support the weight of tiles and grout, so to avoid any buckling or cracking of your tiles, you need to remove the top.
Reinforcing the Countertop
In doing so you must also reinforce your existing base cabinet with a wooden brace along with a layer of three-quarter inch plywood and a water proof membrane over top it all. And on top of that you will be placing cement backerboard, thinset mortar and then your tiles to be grouted, in that spatial order.
We should mention that this is only if you are building your vanity base from scratch, just remember you can also purchase a prefabricated or custom base unit from a home improvement store.
If you are building your vanity tiling base from scratch your next step would be to glue your brace down on top of your existing base cabinet and reinforce the unit by screwing the bracing inside the cabinet.
Once this is secure you need to install the three-quarter inch plywood sheet over the brace. It’s best to have about an inch of over hang on the front and on both sides of your vanity to create a better countertop design.
Making Your Surface Waterproof
When tiling your washroom vanity, while it is not necessary to staple a waterproof membrane to the plywood, this step ensures that if, however unlikely, water does somehow get past the layer of backer-board on top, the membrane would act as a last line of defense against seepage and would protect your base from warping. On top of the membrane install the half inch cement backer-board using backer board screws.
When purchasing a bathroom drop down sink, it’s better to buy a self-rimming sink, simply because they are easier to install because the rim can be used to cover the rough trimmed edges of your cut tile around the basin.
New bath sinks normally come with an outline of the sink you have purchased so you can place this on the tiling vanity base to mark the pattern and cut the sink’s opening in the base. If on the other hand, you plan on using your old basin, just turn it upside down and center it on the backerboad so you can trace its outline where your sink needs to be placed.
Working Around the Sink Area
Remember you sink normally has a lip of about one or two inches, so be sure to draw another line, one or two inches in from the sinks outline, on the backerboards surface. This inside line will actually be the cut line you will use when cutting the hole for your sink.
If you are using the manufactures template, mark the outline (sinks perimeter) and inside cut line of your new sink. Somewhere on the cut line drill a starter hole with a cordless drill and then finish cutting out the hole for your sink with a jigsaw.
Next comes your tiles. To ensure tiling consistency, make sure your cartons of tiles have the same lot number. Also choose glazed tiles about three-eighths to half an inch thick. Glazed tiles as compared to non-glazed are better because glazed tiles are easier to maintain and better resist water and staining.
Before you can grout your tiles, you must first make sure everything fits through a dry run. Lay out your tiles on the backer-board and space them out using spacers to represent the space between the tiles that will eventually be filled with grout.
This way you can evaluate the pattern of the tiles thereby minimize cutting as much as possible. Cut and shape your tiles around the sink basin using tile nippers for a better fit. Don’t worry if the edges are not perfect because the sinks lip will hide the rough edges.
Next mark the edges of tiles by snapping chalk lines to guide your installation when you temporally remove your dry run. Remove your tiles and spread thinset (using a notched trowel from your tiling toolbox) between and up to the guide lines, making sure not to cover the guide lines or you will have nothing to assist you with your tile placement.
Reconstruct your tile placement as you set them in place and level them in the thinset. You can make sure your tiles are aligned by gently butting them up against a straight metal edge as you press them into the mortar.
The metal edge can also be used to press down on the tiles to make sure they are level. Let the mortar cure based upon the manufactures specifications and then grout your bathroom vanities tile lines. Once the grout has cure in a day or so, also based up the grout manufactures stipulations you will be ready to put in your vanity sink.
Reinstalling Your Plumbing Fixtures
To install you bathroom vanity sink, you should squeeze out a bead of silicone caulk around the edge or the hole that your sink will be placed in. Gently drop in the sink and tighten any mounting hardware.
Attach the plumbing drain assembly lines and inspect the plumbing for any leaks. If all is well run a final bead of caulk around the edge of your new bathroom sink, this will prevent water from running down a grout line and down into your vanity causing water damage.
Tiling your bathroom vanity couldn’t have been easier and now you are ready to use your beautifully tiled bath vanity countertop.
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