How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity like a Professional

Over the past few decades, contractors and home builders have consistently installed oak vanities in new bathrooms. While there’s nothing wrong with wood vanities, the humidity of a bathroom can begin to make them look washed out over time. Whether you’re an expert DIYer or are new to the game, repainting your bathroom vanity is a fun and easy weekend project. As with any other paint job, it requires some preparation and lots of patience; follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a shiny "new" bathroom vanity.

Materials & Preparation

As with any other DIY project, collecting your materials beforehand is essential. Materials can vary depending on the condition of your vanity, but here’s a list of the basics: a high density foam roller, household cleaner, alcohol, primer, sandpaper, foam brush, acrylic latex-based paint, painter’s tape, and plastic sheeting. You’ll likely create a mess during the project, so it’s best to protect your walls and floor with the plastic sheeting. From there, remove the vanity drawers and doors, and remove all hardware. Wash the doors and vanity with a solution of two ounces of household cleaner per gallon of water. After the doors and vanity have dried, rub down the surfaces with alcohol. This will remove any residual gunk and prepare your vanity for a fresh coat of paint.

Prime & Paint

Acrylic latex-based paint, whether sprayed or brushed, needs an undercoat of a compatible primer to ensure proper adhesion. Use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the exposed surfaces, scraping loose any peeling paint. Once you’ve finished sanding, use a vacuum or tack cloth to wipe away the excess dust. Before you actually begin painting, apply two coats of primer to the drawers, doors, and vanity. Once dry, it’s time to paint. A high quality acrylic latex-based paint will work fine, or you can buy a paint that’s formulated specifically for cabinets. Typically, you’ll need at least two coats of paint to eliminate any burn through and/or eliminate the wood look.

Replace Hardware & Reassemble

If you want to give your vanity a totally new look, consider changing the drawer knobs and door handles. While your drawers and doors are separated from the vanity, fill the existing holes with wood filler and allow them to dry. Once dry, mount the new pulls and handles for a brand new look. Once the new hardware has been installed or the old hardware has been replaced, it’s time to reassemble the vanity. Start with the bottom drawers and work your way up, making sure to fix any broken drawers or cracks along the way. Be patient – it can take a day or two for the paint to dry completely, and the last thing you want is to have to paint a scratched or damaged vanity all over again.

Other Tips

If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, wear a dust mask while sanding and painting to avoid breathing in dust or fumes. Be sure to follow the recommended drying requirements for the primer and paint, otherwise the final result may not turn out as desired. Some stores carry a specialty paint designed for cabinets – this paint can be used on vanities and does not require a primer. Regardless of your DIY skill level, repainting a bathroom vanity is a relatively easy home renovation task – you’ll save time (and money) by not having to hire a pro!

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