How to tile a bathroom vanity countertop
You can change the entire look of your bathroom with a tiled vanity top– it’s a project you can do yourself with a moderate amount of skill, a little patience and a weekend of work. With so many tile choices of color, pattern and texture, the hardest part could be deciding which tiles to select!
Remove the old vanity top and sink
Step one is to remove the old vanity top and sink. It's critical to have the vanity level, so check it with a 4 foot level and shim underneath if necessary. Measure the top for your plywood. The top can be even to the edge or have a one inch overhang on the front and sides. If you're reusing the old sink, trace it on the plywood to determine the opening cut dimensions. A new sink should have a template to use for the trace. Using a drill to start the cut, make an opening large enough to insert the jigsaw and cut the sink opening. Dry-fit the sink to check your cuts.
Place a water-resistant barrier over the plywood and backerboard. Backerboard can be cut with a utility knife and should fit flush against the wall. Screw in place with cement screws. Keep checking your levels to be sure everything is squared. Place some wide painter's tape from ½ inch above the countertop up the wall to protect against smudges of thin set or grout.
Get to work
Mix thin set according to directions. You'll tile from a front corner and work back. V-cap tiles are the starting edge and cover the front and sides of the wood. Place your tiles with spacers between the v-caps – 1/8 inch is good for small counters. Push tiles down gently being sure you have the backs covered with thin set. In the back row and at the rounded edges by the sink the tiles will have to be cut to fit using a wet saw. Turn the tiles upside down and trace the openings to make your cuts precise. You can use duct tape to hold the outside and backsplash tiles in place until the thin set hardens. Allow tile to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Don't forget the grout
Now pull out your spacers and mix the grout. Unsanded grout is best for wet areas. You can even choose colored grout to compliment the tiles. Place a small pile of grout on the tiles and push the grout between the joints. A tile float tool makes this simple. Fill all the openings. Using clean water and a sponge, go over the entire countertop to remove excess grout. You might also use a soft brush and wipe down again with clean water. In about an hour you'll be ready to apply tile and grout sealer, available in brush-on liquid or spray formula. Use three coats, allowing for drying in between.
Install the sink
Lastly, install the sink, running a bead of calk down where the rim of the sink will sit to prevent water from traveling down a grout line into your vanity.