Making a Bathroom Countertop

Making a bathroom countertop is an ideal way to provide extra storage space, meaning that all the lotions and potion you use in the bathroom are readily to hand.

If you’re replacing an existing bathroom countertop, or installing one for the first time into an existing bathroom, you should take care to ensure that the material you use for the countertop is sympathetic to the existing style of fittings and décor of the bathroom.

However, if you’re renovating the bathroom you can decide what material will best compliment the fittings and final decoration scheme in the renovated bathroom. The following comments relate to making a bathroom countertop that has a wash basin incorporated into it.

So, if you are replacing an existing bathroom countertop you’ll need to remove the washbasin first. Alternatively, if you’re renovating a bathroom - you need to make and install the countertop before fitting the wash basin.

Bathroom Countertops and Wash Basins

If the wash basin is supported by a pedestal then the countertop can simply surround the wash basin and be supported by battens fixed to the wall and/or angle brackets. However, if the wash basin is to be supported by the countertop a sturdy frame needs to be built; into which the basin can be inserted and be supported by it. Having created a frame for the countertop to sit on - it is then a matter of personal choice whether or not you fit cupboards or draws into it.

Materials for Making Countertop

Whilst you could use wood to make a bathroom countertop it’s not really the best material to use. Even using the hardest of woods it would need constant treatment and care to avoid it becoming saturated and damaged. Natural and synthetic stone can be used for bathroom countertops.

Marble and polished granite are popular choices here, but working with stone countertops, cutting them to size etc, can be difficult for the DIY home enthusiast. However, a solution within the capabilities of most DIY home enthusiasts is that to create a wooden countertop; that is then used for a base onto which you fit bathroom tiles, creating a tiled countertop in your bathroom.

Making a Tiled Bathroom Countertop

Having cut a sheet of plywood, at least 3/4 inch thick, to the correct size; fit it securely to the frame with counter-sunk zinc plated screws.

Position the wash basin upside down on the countertop and above where the water and drainage connections are or, if necessary make and cut around a template of the wash basin - some manufacturers provide templates in the packaging of their templates for this purpose.

Draw around the outline of the wash basin and cut the appropriately sized hole.

After fitting the taps, waste outlet etc run some mastic or caulk around the opening in the countertop to create a watertight seal - you can then insert the wash basin into its aperture.

Next fit a smooth layer of a moisture resistant membrane, like roofing felt, over the plywood; then fit metal cap strips along all the edges of the plywood that do not butt up to a wall.

On top of the membrane pour a screed that can also be used as a leveling compound, on to which the tiles will be fitted. To ensure the screed is level, pass the screed board over it several times and check it ‘by eye’ regularly.

Once you’re satisfied its level and dry you can start to fit the tiles following the normal tile fitting procedures. In a bathroom I would not recommend using the new cementitous panels, as they would require nailing to the substrate - potentially weakening it in what will inevitably be a very wet environment.