Photo by Solarnovo

Update: If you think your bathroom is outdated or tired and is in need of a lift, you may be considering a full remodel. But you can give your bathroom a quick and affordable makeover by adding new vanity and countertop enclosures. Not only will they provide much needed storage solutions, the array of designs and materials available mean that making these additions will give the whole room a brand new lease of life.

A new vanity and countertop enclosure is an inexpensive way to improve the look and style of your bathroom. It can help you manage the space in the bathroom in a better way and add a few more amenities.

Countertop materials

Usually, synthetic materials are preferred for bathroom countertops as they are more resistant to moisture than wood. Tops, as they are called, are usually customized to the cabinet and sink. They are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Plastic laminates: Plastic laminates are bonded under high pressure and include Formica and Wilsonart. Sinks are fitted into recesses in the bonded laminate sheets; either by self-rimming or under mounting. Laminates are available in a variety of colors and can be high gloss, low luster, or metallic. While resistant to water, they are susceptible to damage from abrasive and sharp objects, heat, heavy objects dragged across the surface can cause scratches. Using steel wool, strong cleaners, and scouring pads can scar or abrade the surface of the top. By applying a self cleaning wax, you can try and reduce the chances of staining of the surface. Laminates are relatively inexpensive, although they require maintenance. Care should be taken that the seams of the laminates are not exposed to too much water or the laminate layers may separate.

Cultured marble: It is a mix of polyester binding resins, calcium carbonate, and crushed marble. The material is durable, waterproof, and stain resistant. Minor scratches and chipping can be repaired with some sanding and polishing. Cultured marble is easy to maintain and it comes in a range of color combinations and designs.

Corian: Corian is a solid surface, non-porous and tough material. It resists the growth of mildew. Since, it is non-porous; liquids cannot penetrate or stain it. It does not react with chemicals, and is consequently easy to clean. Corian countertops are available in 3 different types of finishes — matte, semi gloss, and gloss. Contact with hot surfaces may damage Corian. Soap and water or standard detergents are sufficient to clean Corian.

Granite: Granite is the preferred material for countertops where beauty and elegance are important; in luxury hotels and other high-end applications. Granite is a rock; it is very durable and impervious to water. However, it is susceptible to cracks and chips, which are very difficult to repair. Abrasive cleaning agents can affect the finish of Granite. Warm water is usually sufficient to clean Granite. Liquid wax can be used for treating light scratches; denatured alcohol removes grime and dirt that clings to the surface.


Marble: Even though marble countertops look beautiful, marble is not a commonly used material for bathroom countertops. Marble is porous and liquids such as nail polish, shampoo, oils, and dyes can stain it; thereby spoiling its appearance.

Glass: Glass countertops lend a unique appeal to the bathroom but are not very easy to maintain. They reflect fingerprints and crack easily. Glass countertops can be cleaned by using water and a soft cloth.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles are available in a range of beautiful colors and shapes. They are easy to install and last a long time. However, the grouting needs to be sealed and requires regular cleaning in order to prevent fungus growth.

Vanities:

Vanities are usually made of wood, which gives them an elegant appeal. White, biscuit, and reddish brown are the favored colors. Cherry, Maple, and Oak are the natural woods used for vanities. The wood can also be veneered or lacquered. Drawer boxes are usually of the dovetail type; which makes them durable. Plywood is used for the insides of the cabinets; it is more expensive than particleboard. Plywood and particleboard should be covered by a coating melamine or veneer. Particleboard cabinets require careful handling as they are not very sturdy before they are installed. The cabinet boxes should be kept dry; any plumbing leaks in the bathroom should be repaired immediately.

The cost of a bathroom vanity: The materials used for the vanity are the major components in the total cost. The details involved in the finishing also affect the costs. The installation charges for a large or a small vanity do not have a big difference between them. A 24″ vanity can be installed for up to $500 and will include the sink, faucets, and countertop. Expensive vanities can cost upward of $2000.

Can a bathroom vanity be installed as a Do It Yourself project?

A bathroom vanity can be installed by anyone who has some experience with tools and working with their hands. It can help you save costs if you are planning a major remodeling of your bathroom. The entire process of removing the old vanity and replacing it with the new one can be completed in less than a day. Removing the existing structures, shutting off the water supply, removing the caulk between the vanity and the wall can be done single handedly. However, a helper may be required to move the countertop. It is important to have the right tools, such as shims and carpenter’s levels, to ensure that the new vanity is flush against the wall.