How to Remove a Countertop From a Vanity + Bathroom Misadventures

Over the past few months, I’ve been making over our upstairs main bath slowly but surely. This project started as a “mini surprise” when Dan went out of town one weekend and I decided to rip up the old laminate floor. {Things I do for fun} Since then I’ve done all kinds of little projects. Most recently I put window film up, made a fake roman shade and put up new towel hooks. Replacing the bathroom vanity top and faucet was next on my list.

Did this project go smooth, was it easy, is it finished? Not a chance!

The vanity in this bathroom, in my opinion, is too big for the space. And it has a really dated counter top and sink. Bad 90’s dated.

How to Remove a Countertop from a Vanity

It used to be an oak color, typical of what you find in the store. I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in graphite and sealed it with poly. My next idea was to replace the top and faucet. As you can see it’s gold and we have a shell sink.

Gold Faucet Shell Sink

I know gold is back and all but this thing had to go. You have no idea how excited I was to remove the counter. Very excited. THIS excited.

Jazz hands, jazz hands!

Jazz Hands

So I got my supplies and go to work. How to remove a countertop from a vanity with a faucet on it is pretty easy. In 3 simple steps this is what you do:

  1. Loosen or remove any caulk connecting the counter top to the wall
  2. Turn off the disconnect the water supply and the drain stopper
  3. Disconnect the P trap under the sink – And that’s about it!

First, you can use a box cutter to slice the caulk off the back of the counter if yours is connected like this. It just separates the seal and will loosen the counter from the wall.

Remove caulk

After that you’ll work under the sink, so prepare some supplies. A drip pan, towel, gloves and pliers can help. A wrench will come in handy too if you need to loosen the water lines.

IMG_7331

Under the sink you’ll have this. The pipe that comes down from the sink, the P Trap {although nobody knows why it’s called this since it’s not shaded like a P}, the water shut off valves and the water connection pipes, which are those flexible hose-like cords. You’ll also have a drain stopper set up, which is the copper colored pipe in the back of the sink that controls how the drain plug. You have disconnect the pieces for that too.

Plus some fabulous wallpaper from a time gone by if you are lucky.

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I got under the sink to turn off the water, thankfully we have shut off valves at this sink. Some sinks don’t have valves, if yours doesn’t, put them in. It will make projects like this so much easier, otherwise you’ll need to shut off the water for the whole house. Shut off valves only cost about $10 and you can actually do it yourself pretty easily.

I went to turn the hot water valve and it wasn’t budging. Even with my grippy blue gloves. So I grabbed the pliers and tried to loosen it.

Bad idea.

The handle crumbled as soon as I gripped on to it. Way to start my project right? Cold water valve on the right, broken hot water valve on the left.

IMG_7327

I ended up being able to turn off the water with the pliers, but I was lucky. I was waiting for water to go squirting out any moment. Note: This is when you text your husband who is out and ask him to stop and pick up a new shut off valve. Love you honey!

Once you have the water turned off you can disconnect the pipe under the sink. Since we were going to take out the whole countertop and faucet while it was still attached, all I needed to do was disconnect the P trap pipe underneath. The P trap is the curved part of the pipe that connects your sink to the water drain.

This is the part of your plumbing that catches everything that goes down the drain, so warning – what comes out of it is not pretty. Actually it’s quite gross. Wear rubber gloves, you will thank me. Here is where the drip pan comes in handy.

All you do is twist off the connection pieces from each side of the P trap. Remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey. Twist and it will release the pipe. The connection pieces stay on, they are just threaded plastic pieces.

How to Remove a Countertop

After you disconnect the water supply lines from either the top of them right underneath the faucet or the base of them by the shut off valves, which is what I did, you are set to go.  Gently lift off the counter top and BAM, no more 90’s countertop and faucet.

Bathroom Vanity

You can make a birdbath out of the old sink if you want, but the better idea is to donate it to your local Habitat for Humanity or architectural salvage store. Speaking of Habitat, our plan was to get a replacement counter from there, one that was all white and shell-less. We picked one up many months ago and kept it in the basement until we were ready for this project. It only cost $15 and was an amazing steal. It goes to show you that there are new items to be found out there that don’t have to cost you a fortune in your home improvement projects.

Here it is shiny and white and perfect… uh wait…. Do you see what I see???

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The new had been waiting in our basement for 9 months all white counter that was to go perfectly in this bathroom doesn’t fit!

Yep.

Old sink removed, no working sink in our only bathroom.

I’m not putting the old shell sink and gold faucet back on.

Nope. This new one’s too small.

IMG_7342

Sigh. Did I not measure? Didn’t I think these would be different sizes? Apparently they are! The old one was 37×22, this new one is 37×18. Two inches too short.

So now we have to find a solution. Either buy a new countertop that will fit and spend about $90 - throwing our whole money savings quick project plan out the window – or maybe find a new vanity that fits the new top? Which would be so much more work since I’d have to remove the old floor under it since it would be smaller.

Projects never go the way they are supposed to right? Especially the ones that are supposed to be easy!

Well, come back later in the week and see where we are with this. And don’t forget to enter the $50 giveaway at minted!

Have you had any home improvement misadventures lately?

Jessica
Hi, I'm Jessica, a grad student by day and project queen by night. Decor Adventures is my way of creating a beautiful home while having a great time along the way.
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Comments

  1. measuring schmeasuring! Doesn’t that just figure!

  2. Jackie says:

    Haha, jazz hands, love it!

    I think the vanity in my master bathroom is too big too. I don’t like it being so close to the toilet. I found a vanity on sale for $99, by far my biggest purchase as everything else has been “found” or deeply discounted.

    Thanks for this blog post. You’ve given me the courage to try my hand at replacing the vanity. Here goes nothing…

    • Hi Jackie,

      Good luck with your DIY project! We actually just got a new vanity on sale the other day, which is more narrow than the current one by 3 inches. We’re going to have tons of space! But hey, you do what you can in small bathrooms right?

  3. You are a brave Lady from pictures your old top looks better then The new one.
    My top cost me 100 many places wanted over 300 for particle board and stone is about 400 to 1200 just for the top. So there is plenty of money left over.

    • Hi Rick,

      The old top was one we got from a salvage store, so it had some damage on it. Vanities tend to be expensive, you are right. Glad you found a deal.

  4. Great post! It helped give me a little inspiration on tackling my own. I found this after I too found a great new vanity at the ReStore for just $16. After reading this post (before installing) I of course had to run with my tape measure to pray that I hadn’t made the same mistake. Lucky that it fit, I don’t think I measured the depth either! Thanks! :)

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  1. […] line and I installed it on my own. I’m getting quite good at the plumbing After I had to take apart the sink upstairs, I definitely learned a thing or […]

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