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Home Improvement & Renovating

How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity

How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity

At Knowles Building Centre, we believe painting is one of the easiest and most economical ways to renew a space, especially in the bathroom. Maybe your vanity needs some perking up, or you are dreaming of a new colour scheme in your bathroom. You can quickly get impressive results without having to replace your vanity.

Bathroom vanities are an excellent project for the novice painter because they are usually not too large and can be completed in a weekend or two. At the same time, you’ll learn all the prep and painting skills you’ll need for future bigger home improvement projects. And most importantly, you will be able to give your bathroom a new look in a few days.

Preparation Comes First!

With every paint job, the surest path to a great result is to do a thorough prep job before you even think of dipping your brush into the paint.

Supplies you will need:

Prep: Drop cloths, rubber gloves, protective eyewear, mask if using toxic cleaner, painter’s tape, sandpaper, tack cloth, bucket, TSP or substitute, sponge, screwdriver or drill, wood filler, wood putty, putty knife, pencil

Priming and Painting: Paint tray, paint roller, paintbrush, paint primer, paint, new knobs and pulls (optional)

Step #1 – Remove Drawers, Doors, and Hardware

  • Protect bathroom floors and fixtures with newspaper or a drop cloth
  • Remove everything from vanity cupboard and drawers
  • Remove cabinet doors, drawers and hardware
  • Unscrew the fronts of drawers
  • Remove hinges, knobs and handles, and store screws safely
  • To prevent a mix-up when reassembling, label each drawer and door with tape

Step #2 – Clean the Vanity

  • Clean all exterior surfaces with TSP* or a less toxic cleaner such as BORAX
  • Clean interior surfaces to refresh the cabinet and drawers
  • Make sure there is no grease left on cabinets and then rinse twice with fresh water

*Note: TSP or Trisodium phosphate can irritate skin so always wear rubber gloves when cleaning with it. Check if TSP is permitted in your municipality before using it. You may need to purchase a substitute for TSP.

If your vanity has been painted before:

  • You can paint over it after sanding it to a dull finish
  • Use medium grit sandpaper first, then use a fine-grit sandpaper, always sanding in the same direction as the wood grain
  • Next, remove all dust with a vacuum cleaner or microfibre cloth
  • Then, clean surface with a damp cloth to remove all dust. You can paint most surfaces including wood, thermal wrap or melamine. Ask us about the best primer and paint for your vanity

Caution: If your vanity was painted before 1978, check for lead with a lead tester kit before removing the paint. If it contains lead, you can safely remove the paint with a Zero VOC paint stripper, laminated paper, a cheap brush and a scrub pad. Protect yourself with a mask and gloves and work in a ventilated area.

Step #3 – Patch and Sand

The objective in this stage is to make sure your vanity’s surfaces are clean, dry and dull for the best paint adhesion possible.

  • Repair any dents, holes or scratches with wood putty or wood filler. If you are changing the handles or knobs, check if you need to drill any new holes. If you do, then fill in the holes you no longer need. When the putty or wood filler has dried, sand it to a smooth finish
  • Lightly sand all doors, drawer fronts and sides of your vanity to ensure that the paint will adhere properly. Remove dust with a damp cloth. Vacuum to thoroughly remove all dust, especially from edges and corners of doors

Step #4 – It’s Prime Time

  • Primer is essential to ensuring a smooth protective base coat, and will help your paint stand up better to moisture and conceal any stains, wood knots or other marks
  • Tape walls and floor around your vanity to protect them from paint
  • Use a brush and roller to apply the primer to all visible parts of your vanity. Avoid applying primer too thickly to prevent drips and take care not to leave brush stroke marks
  • Allow the primer to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended drying time. Sand lightly and clean with a cloth. Apply a second coat of primer if needed. Two coats may be needed if going from a darker colour to a lighter colour. Sand lightly and clean with a cloth

Step #5 – Time for the First Coat of Paint!

Choosing the paint colour for your vanity is the fun part! The type of paint you choose will be dependent on the ventilation and moisture level in your bathroom.

  • Latex paint dries quickly and comes in mildew-proof versions such as acrylic enamel. Oil paint is better for humid conditions, but you need a well-ventilated room or area to apply the paint
  • Choose the finish that will go with your décor plan, keeping in mind that semi-gloss and high-gloss paint finishes stand up well in most rooms, but you can also use an eggshell or flat finish
  • Use brushes and rollers to apply the paint to doors, drawer fronts and sides of the vanity
  • Follow the drying time suggested by the paint manufacturer before applying a second coat, if needed

Step #6 – The Finishing Touches

When you have given your final coat of paint enough time to dry, it’s time to gently remove the tape. Now you are ready to put the doors and drawers back in place.

  • Put drawer fronts onto drawer boxes, then fasten them onto the vanity
  • Put the doors back on the vanity
  • Screw in original door knobs and pulls, or replace the hardware for a new look

Now step back and admire your “new” vanity!

If you need more information or have questions, visit Knowles Building Centre. Our team is always ready to help you with what you need. We're here to assist you in any way we can.

Disclaimer: The information and resources in these articles and on this website are available for informational and educational purposes only. The articles provided on this website are created with every reasonable effort to ensure completeness and accuracy. In doing so, the article writers, publishers, and the business that this website represents assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or opposed interpretation of the articles and under no circumstance will these parties be held liable for any direct, indirect and/or consequential damages of any kind incurred from undertaking tasks outlined in the articles or on this website. In addition, it is suggested that readers check by-laws, zoning laws and building codes of your local area and country.

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