Have you ever wanted to replace your bathroom vanity top? Maybe you didn’t like the color or you wanted something more stylish. But after shopping around you were surprised at the cost? Especially if you have a non-standard, custom length vanity top, the price doubles. Personally, I was shocked to see an estimate of $1000 to cut a custom vanity slap with two sinks for our bathroom. So I decided to look for a cheaper alternative. Instead of completely replacing the top, I refinished the bathroom vanity top with DIY epoxy resin. The cost of the epoxy resin was less than $150.
What is epoxy resin?
Epoxy resins are known as polyepoxides, a class of reactive prepolymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups. Epoxy resins may be reacted (cross-linked) either with themselves through catalytic homopolymerization. These co-reactants are often referred to as hardeners or curatives, and the cross-linking reaction is commonly referred to as curing. Epoxy could be used in a wide range of applications, including metal coatings, use in electronics/electrical components/LEDs, high tension electrical insulators, paintbrush manufacturing, fiber-reinforced plastic materials, and adhesives for structural and other purposes.
Epoxy has become a rising trend among DIYers looking for cheap countertops or creative ways to update their bathroom and kitchen style without breaking the bank. Mixing and applying a coating of this material can help restore or revitalize old, worn out, or out-of-style bathroom countertops, kitchen countertops, and floors.
You cannot pick up epoxy in pre-made slabs from a supplier and have it installed in your kitchen or bathroom. Rather, it’s a type of refinishing product that you buy in the form of an epoxy countertops kit and then use to refinish an existing material.
DIYers commonly place epoxy over wood, laminate, concrete, or ceramic. The popularity of epoxy is due to durability and scratch resistance. It can tolerate most of the cleaning materials without losing its shine.
Epoxy countertop design and colors
The results can be absolutely amazing and unique by adding different colors or by mixing the metallic powder with alcohol and spreading over epoxy. Any design, pattern, or color you can imagine is possible. The colors could be added during the mixing of part A and part B or applied after the epoxy has been spread on the countertop.
Check out Stone Coat Countertops website for additional designs and possibilities.
Time to Complete
Tools for this project
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Remove Backsplash
Before applying epoxy to any surface, it is important to clean and prepare the surface so that epoxy will bond properly and not come apart in the future. For the best results, you want to have the surface horizontally leveled. If the surface is vertical or sloped in one direction, the epoxy will follow the gravity and slowly flow down in the direction of the slope. Although it is possible to apply epoxy on the vertical surface, the coloring method is slightly different than using a horizontal surface.
My bathroom vanity had a vertical backsplash that has been glued to the wall with a waterproof sealant. So the best solution for me was to remove the backsplash completely and apply epoxy when it’s in a horizontal position. After the epoxy completely cures it’s very easy to glue it back on the wall.
To remove the backsplash, take a razor knife and cut through the sealant. Typically the sealant is applied on all sides of the backsplash to prevent any water running down behind the sink. Make sure to cut the sealant on top at the drywall and the bottom between the vanity and backsplash. Then take a screwdriver and carefully pry it away from drywall. Be careful not to press on the drywall too hard, otherwise, you’ll damage the drywall and that will create extra work fixing it.
Some of the vanities out there have a backsplash that is not removable. So you have to keep in mind that epoxy will try to slide down when applying it on the vertical surface. In this case, most of the color design will need to be done before applying the epoxy.
Some people question if the bathroom vanity needs a backsplash. You may choose not to install it altogether.
Step 2 – Remove Old Sink Faucets
The next step is to remove the faucets. Removing the faucets is quite simple. First, under the sink turn off the hot and cold valves that serve water to the faucets. Then unscrew the flexible hose from the faucets. Place a bucket under the sink to catch any water trapped in a hose. Once the hose is removed, unscrew the locknuts and pull out the faucet from the vanity top.
Some people apply epoxy without removing the faucets, but it’s much harder to work around the faucets and it makes the job sloppy. The faucets in our bathroom were old and had to be replaced, so I really didn’t have a choice.
Step 3 – Scrape Off Old Sealant and Buildup From Counter Top
After the backsplash and faucets are removed, take a putty knife, and go through the vanity top and scrape off any old sealant and buildup. Then spray TSP cleaner (trisodium phosphate) over the countertop and wipe it off with a shop towel. TSP cleaner removes grease and oils from the surface. If epoxy is applied on a greasy or oily surface, it will not bond properly and eventually come apart. Don’t forget to do the same cleaning process with the backsplash.
Step 4 – Sand the Vanity with 320 Grid Sandpaper
After all of the grease and oils are removed use a random orbital sander with a 320 grid sand disk to sand the vanity top. Make sure to sand the surface after TSP cleaner, otherwise, you’ll just spread the grease around the surface with sandpaper. The sandpaper makes the countertop surface slightly rougher which makes the epoxy bond better. The goal is to have epoxy stay on the countertop for a long time.
Step 5 – Cover Any Gaps Between the Wall and Vanity
Typically, most walls have some sort of texture on drywall. This texture makes the wall uneven with high and low spots throughout the wall. Since the countertop is installed against the wall, you’ll see small gaps between the wall and the countertop. If these gaps are not filled, the epoxy will run down through those gaps behind the sink. To fix this problem, use silicone sealant to cover these gaps.
Some vanities are installed with much larger gaps and most likely could not be filled with a sealant. You might need to use bondo for those larger gaps.
Step 6 – Apply Bonding Primer Over the Surface
Before applying the bonding primer, I taped the sink with scotch tape and Visqueen sheeting. Originally, I didn’t want to apply epoxy in the sink because it was already white. But then I realized that the sink white color was slightly different than epoxy color so I did end up using epoxy inside the sinks as well. If you choose not to apply epoxy in the sink, then make sure there are no gaps or holes in Visqueen, otherwise, the epoxy will seep thru into the sink. Also, tape around the vanity so you don’t get primer and epoxy on the walls or cabinet; then apply bonding primer on the surface. Plug-in the faucet openings at the top of the vanity so that you don’t have epoxy dripping down into the cabinet. I used small 4×4 foam pieces to plug in the openings.
Step 7 – Mix the Epoxy
The epoxy kit comes with part A and part B that would need to be mixed together before applying it on the surface. First, determine how much epoxy you need for your project. Measure width by the depth of the surface in feet and then multiply the two numbers together. For example, my vanity is 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep. If you multiply the two numbers together you’ll get 10 square feet of surface area. To cover 10 square feet, you’ll need a total of 1/2 a gallon (2 quarts) of epoxy (that’s mixed together).
When mixing the epoxy, use a bucket or a pail with measurement lines so that you could accurately mix 1:1 ration. First, pour 1 quart of part B into a bucket and then 1 quart of part A. I usually leave Part A in the sun for some time to warm it up before mixing. Part A flows much better when it’s warm. Then use an allway helix paint mixer to mix the epoxy. For best results, you’ll need to mix it for at least 5 minutes.
Epoxy is clear by itself, so to make the base color white, add two teaspoons of white epoxy Gelcoat pigment paint into the bucket. Make sure everything is mixed well before applying it to the vanity.
Step 8 – Spread Epoxy Over the Vanity Top
Now pour the epoxy throughout the countertop and spread it with a patty knife or with a chop brush. Let the epoxy drip over the edges and use a chop brush to spread it evenly on the edges.
Step 9 – Draw Black Random Lines Across Epoxy
Once the white-colored epoxy is evenly spread out, now its time to add some color. You could make this as creative as you would like and use whatever colors you’d like. But to make it simple I just used black spray paint to add few lines to make it look like marble. First, take black spray paint and spray a small amount on the tip of a mixing stick. Basically, you’ll use this stick like a pencil for you to draw over epoxy. If you want the lines darker, then spray more black on the tip. Then draw random lines with this mixing stick across epoxy.
Then take a hair blow dryer and blow on the black lines with hot air. When epoxy warms up, it becomes softer and runnier and the air moves the epoxy. Now the straight lines that you drew with a mixing stick could be shifted or curved with a blow dryer. You could blow air in any direction making this as artistic as you like.
Step 10 – Remove Bobbles with a Torch
When spreading epoxy over the vanity top, you’ll have bubbles that form during this process. To eliminate these bubbles you need to take a propane torch and quickly run through the top keeping the flame about 8″ from vanity. The fire heats up the epoxy and the bobbles pop. If you still see some bobbles go through it again. Do not overdo with the torch; this can give a yellowish tint to it.
Step 11 – Scrape off Dripping Epoxy at the Edge
The final step is to scrape off any dripping epoxy at the edge of the vanity. During the curing time, you’ll need to repeat this process every half an hour on vanity and backsplash until it does not drip anymore. But if you forgot to scrape off dripping epoxy, you could always remove the droplets with random orbital sander the following day once it cured. Let the epoxy cure for 72 hours before installing any faucets or attaching the backsplash.
Step 12 – Install the backsplash and faucets
When installing the backsplash, you want to make sure you’re using a waterproof sealant. I taped the backsplash and vanity so that I don’t make a mess with sealant. Once the backsplash is in place, remove the tape. You’re done with this bathroom vanity with DIY epoxy resin.
I took a picture of how our bathroom vanity looked before the epoxy resin.