A while back when I revealed our Powder Room Renovation, I promised to show you how I created the counter top that the vessel sink sits on. I have not forgotten and now that the crazy holidays are over and I’ve got my priorities in order with this blog, I’m back to give you the details.
Note: Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone because I didn’t have my Fancy New Camera yet. So please excuse the quality.
I started with a piece of 1-in x 20-in x 36-in Kiln-Dried Elliotis Pine Panel that I cut to fit my uneven 34-in wide walls. I opted out of using plywood because the edges needed to be clean.
I screwed 1″x3″ boards around the perimeter to make it look like an inch and a half thick slab when it is actually (2) 3/4-in thick pieces of wood stuck together. To keep the perfect edge, I ran my circular saw along the front of the counter top and cut off 1/8″ removing the wood putty.
For the side of the wood that would be visible, I added wood putty to fill in the tiny space where I screwed and glued the second piece of wood.
Tip: If you don’t have wood putty, you can use a few teaspoons of sawdust and wood glue mixed together as a substitute.
I also used some scraps to add support on both sides of where the sink would sit. I didn’t want the counter top to start sagging underneath the weight of the sink.
I put the sink on top of the raw wood to draw a template and figure out where I wanted the faucet in relation to the sink. I was sure to allow enough space to clean around the base of the faucet as well as the back of the sink. Below is my super high-tech method of the template.
Most importantly I wanted to know where the hole would be for the drain and if there was enough space between the front of the sink and the front of the counter top.
I wanted it to have a nice edge like you see on the granite and quartz counter tops. I clamped my long steel carpenters square about a 1/2-in from the edge and ran my palm sander across the edge at an angle and created a beveled edge.The next steps were Sand , Prime and Sand again to knock the wood grain back down. Then I covered the counter top and back splash with white paint
When the paint dried, I hauled the pieces into the powder room to do a dry fit. If I needed to make any adjustments to the board, now was the time to do it because the next step is true artwork.Before I painted the actual counter top, I practiced on a piece of construction paper. My first try looked lik a pair of 90’s Acid Wash jeans not faux stone.My method of painting included a sea sponge and fifty shades of grey …no I’m kidding, more like three shades of grey
Then I added some metallic deep turquoiseIt wasn’t looking too great so I completely covered it with white paint using a combination of bubble wrap, plastic mesh, large sea sponges and a crumpled up plastic bag. As it started to look better I dusted it with a coat of white spray paint here and there. Then more grey paint and mother of pearl (Pearl White) craft paint. To add depth, I flicked black paint off a toothbrush by standing at a distance and using my thumb to pull the bristles back. This created an awesome effect. To create even more visual interest, I sprinkled iridescent glitter sparingly across both surfaces.
Because I didn’t know how the different paints would react with the seal coat, I used one coat of Minwax Waterbased Polycrylic . When it was dry, It was time for the fun part. My go to for a mirror like extra glossy finish is EnviroTex Lite Two Part Epoxy
I like to purchase in the gallon bottles and only mix what I need for my project. If you want to see specifics to how to use this product click here.
I had the hubs help me pour this stuff because of the large surface area that I was working with.
Once all the surfaces where fully coated, I ran the propane torch across the entire thing to get rid of any air bubbles. This took less than five minutes. As I let the Epoxy cure for three days, I occasionally snuck in to get a look at the glossiness of it. I love how it’s so glossy that you can see your reflection in it.
After three days of curing I sanded off the drips just like I showed you here . Now I was finally able to test the fit again.
The sink came with minimal installation instructions but it did say that the opening for the drain must be five inches. Since it didn’t specify circular, I decided that square would be easiest for me because I didn’t own a jigsaw and my hole saw bit was only 2.5-in.I measured and taped off my square using the measurements from my high-tech template then used my RotoZip to cut it out.After screwing the back splash to the counter top, I moved the counter top into place and secured it using “L” brackets. I installed the drain on the sink then flipped the sink over to add silicone for a water tight seal. The next part was a little tricky. I had to flip the sink back over and line it up perfectly with the template I taped onto the counter top. I only had one shot or I would be cleaning up a silicone mess and starting all over again. I also ran a bead of silicone along the corner where the back splash met the counter top.Since I’m not a plumber, I used my trusty Home Improvement 1-2-3 book from Home Depot to figure out what I needed to properly plumb the sink. I did hit one snag and had to make a run to the hardware store. The long pipe wasn’t long enough. What I had not accounted for was the extra length in pipe needed for a vessel sink mounted on top of the counter.
See how long that pipe is. I bought a 12-in pipe and then cut it to 11-in to fit. If you are very observant, you will see that I added another piece of wood under the spot where the faucet is mounted. I wanted extra support for the heavy faucet so I screwed and glued that piece of scrap wood and cut out the excess with the hole saw.
Now the sink and faucet are securely in place for years to come or at least until I can afford a real granite counter top. With thorough planning this project could be really easy and cheap. If I left anything out, don’t hesitate to ask for further details.
Cost Breakdown to build counter top & back splash
- 1″ x 20″ x 36″ Pine Panel: $14.72
- Envirotex Lite Two Part Epoxy (16 oz.): $9.00 w/ Michael’s 40% off coupon
- 2 1/2″ Hole saw bit: $8.00
All of the other materials (paints, sponges, glitter and propane torch) I already had in stock so I do not count them in the cost.
When we decide to build the counter top for the mudroom, I plan on using the same process. I only hope that I can replicate that pattern.