DIY & Inspiration Roundup Posts Hallway Bathroom

Wood Countertops For Bathroom Vanities

Most of the design decisions for my hallway bathroom remodel came together pretty easily for me (oddly enough!), but I’ve had a heck of a time deciding on what countertop material I want to use on the vanity. I have never, and will never, like granite. That wasn’t an option. Marble is my absolute favorite countertop material, but not only does it cost way more than I want to spend on my hallway bathroom, but even if it was in the budget I think I would have a heck of a time finding a marble that would look good with the marble-ish floor tile I chose. I’ll save the marble for my big master bathroom remodel.

So after giving it much thought, I’ve decided on wood.

wood countertop on bathroom vanity - by Craft Art Elegant Surfaces, via HouzzContemporary Bathroom by Atlanta Kitchen & Bath Fixtures Craft Art Elegant Surfaces

I used wood on both bathroom vanity countertops in the condo (here and here), as well as the countertop on the living room built-ins and in the condo kitchen. Oh, and also the built-ins I added in the hallway to act as my “laundry room” at the condo. Basically, every single countertop in the condo was wood, so it should come as no surprise that I absolutely love wood countertops.

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wood countertop on bathroom vanity - from House of Tubers blogvia House of Tubers

For a couple of days, I considered using the old oak flooring that I pulled up from the linen closet area to repurpose as a countertop, but I decided to use an undermount sink, and I just couldn’t figure out a way to make it work. That might still be an option if I can figure it out. I think it would be awesome to repurpose that old flooring from the original bathroom into something new that stays in that bathroom.

wood countertop on bathroom vanity - from Welcome To Heardmontvia Welcome To Heardmont

It seems that wood is becoming increasingly popular as a bathroom countertop material, and you can find it in just about any and every style of bathroom, from farmhouse to elegant, traditional to contemporary. It’s a very versatile material.

wood countertop on bathroom vanity - from Centsational Girlvia Centsational Girl

So right now, the plan is to use butcherblock , like the bathroom above from Centsational Girl, stained in a medium brown.

wood countertop on bathroom vanity - from Design Milkvia Design Milk

I did find butcherblock countertop locally at Lumber Liquidators.  They’re fairly reasonably priced for oak and maple, but I actually didn’t like the look of them as much as the ones from IKEA.  Sadly, we don’t have an IKEA here in Waco, so I’ll have to drive 90 minutes north to Dallas or 90 minutes south to Austin to get my countertops if I decide to use the ones from IKEA.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue brainstorming about how I can use the old flooring as a countertop with an undermount sink.  Something may come to me.  But if you have an idea of how to make a countertop using old, solid 3/4-inch oak tongue-and-groove flooring that can be used with an undermount sink, please share you thoughts!  There has to be a way that I’m overlooking.



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51 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tess
    February 10, 2015 at 9:43 am

    i LOVE the wood idea! Here’s one I fell in love with! http://www.diydesignfanatic.com/2014/08/how-to-make-custom-wood-countertop-for.html In a later post they bent the wood and made a wood skirt on the front with fabric below.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Karen
      February 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      That reference you made is wonderful. I really like it.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Dale
      February 11, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      I checked out your site, just beautiful !! I love the faucet off to the side too!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Justin
    February 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    An under-mount sink shouldn’t prevent you from using reclaimed flooring as long as you build the countertop stand-alone using finish carpentry techniques so that you can get a perfectly sold slab of wood. You’ll need to seal the hell out of the cut ends inside the sink no matter what wood you use.

    See if you can find a tutorial on This Old House or something where they glue several boards together to make a single slab of wood. Generally, this is the process:

    1) Get the side edges of the boards super smooth and square. Pro’s use a “jointer” or electric planer for this. You can probably make due with a small table saw and a really good blade (a great excuse to get a table saw…I’m surprised you’ve made it this long without it). You might be able to make due with your skillsaw, a good blade, and a sled (I know there’s a tutorial for making sleds on the TOH site).
    2) Optionally, use biscuits or pegs to strengthen the joints between the boards. You can get an inexpensive peg drilling kit at Home Depot for under $20. Biscuit cutters are power tools, so they’re pretty pricy.
    3) Spread a nice even layer of glue on the edges of the boards and in the peg holes if using. Glue them side-to-side and put them in a set of long clamps to hold them together. You might be able to use glue and a Kreig jig, but I’m not sure how tight you’d get the joints with only pocket screws. Glue and clamps would be preferable, I think.
    4) After the whole thing dries overnight, sand the top smooth. If it was done right, you shouldn’t need any wood filler. Then, you can cut the new board to size and mark and cut out your sink hole. If you use pocket screws, make sure they don’t end-up where you need to cut.

    I plan to try this with old pallet wood for a buffet I’m trying to refinish. I don’t have a jointer either, so I’m going to have to find a way to do without.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Justin
      February 10, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Here’s a recent TOH episode where Tommy builds a table top from boards. It’s a fire pit cover, but the technique is the same: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tv/ask-toh/video/0,,20894123,00.html (Scene #2)

    • Reply To This Comment
      Lori
      February 11, 2015 at 8:33 am

      I totally agree! with the above ^^^ My final finish was a product named WaterLox. It is water safe, food safe and will cure to more of a 50% sheen rather than the shiny you see now. If we spatter water or coffee…we just wipe it up! I put it on the ends of the boards too. So your undermount sink might show some cut wood ends but they can certainly be water proof. All the best deciding.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sheila E
    February 10, 2015 at 9:54 am

    This is where we purchased the walnut countertop for our kitchen island (our one splurge): http://www.hardwood-lumber.com/butcher-block-countertop.html?gclid=CKSMhN7d18MCFdU9gQodAh8AxQ I would buy from them again. I would love to buy from them again!

    If this were my project though, I’d go for the marble, or other stone that resembles it. Don’t you have a place where you could buy a remnant?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 11:35 am

      There are places around here that sell remnants, but I need one piece that is 55 inches wide, so it’s not really remnant size.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jamie
    February 10, 2015 at 9:55 am

    What about the table your mom gave you with the ball and claw feet?? Didn’t you want to use that as your hallway bathroom vanity? 🙂 and it’s wood!!! All you would have to do is cut out a hole 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 11:47 am

      I did originally plan to use that, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wouldn’t work. Since this bathroom will be used not only by me, but also by Matt, the countertop/vanity needs to be very sturdy and strong as he will be using it, as well as a grab bar I’ll install on the other side of the toilet, to steady himself and to help him get up. That table isn’t strong or sturdy enough for him to put that much weight on.

      I did consider using the green console with the striped wood drawers. I actually purchased it originally to use as a vanity in this bathroom, but then it turned out to be too big. Now that I’m moving the door, it would fit in there now, but now that it’s refinished, I think the striped wood drawers would be too busy in such a small room. :-/

      So after all of that, I’m pretty set on just using a standard vanity. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Brent
    February 10, 2015 at 10:11 am

    What about attaching the floor boards to a solid piece of wood? You could easily trim it out so you wouldn’t see the base, and it would give you something more solid to attach an undermount sink to.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

      That as my idea as well. I could cut the hole in the solid layer underneath larger so that it doesn’t show around the edge around the sink. I’m still uncertain how the tongue-and-groove cut edges would look around the sink, though, especially on such old wood on which the tongues and grooves are a bit chewed up and don’t fit together perfectly anymore. .

      • Reply To This Comment
        Brent
        February 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

        Ah, I didn’t think of the tongue and groove edges! Since you’re thinking of attaching the planks to a solid base (I’m assuming with construction adhesive + braid nailer?) what about just cutting the tongues off all together? It’d be a bit more work, but the planks would line up a little easier and you could fill the grooves around the cut-out with woodfiller. That might be more work than it’s worth, but just an idea!

      • Reply To This Comment
        Justin
        February 10, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        Ok, now I understand why you were concerned it wouldn’t work. I didn’t realize you were planning to leave the tongue and groove. That definitely wouldn’t look very good on the sink edge and probably wouldn’t be very water resistant.

        If you slice off the tongue and groove and just glue together straight boards, it should work perfectly.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lisa E
    February 10, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Kristi, how about possibly using the old flooring for a backsplash. Check out this bathroom. The pictures are towards the bottom of the post. http://www.thelovedhomeblog.com/tag/subway-tile-backsplash/

    • Reply To This Comment
      Lee Ann Perez
      February 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

      That’s an interesting idea! Could easily be implemented with other woods used on the countertop, and stained to match or compliment.

      Lee Ann

  • Reply To This Comment
    Katie
    February 10, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I can’t remember if you have a Kreg jig or not, but that’s a great way to make a “single” slab of wood out of pieces of wood. You can even “install” your reclaimed flooring to another piece of solid wood (or maybe concrete board?) and then treat it as one piece of wood, cut out the whole for your undermount sink, and then seal the inside edges of the cutout.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sue
    February 10, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Very interesting concept!! I like the idea of reusing wood from the house; it keeps the essence of the original house going. Here’s a link to a post on Houzz and, while it’s addressing wood counters with undermount sinks in the kitchen, it would certainly apply to bathroom counters as well. Lots of good info, including some honesty about not maintaining them properly. Based on what I read, and some tutorials on diy wood counters, I’d go for it! Knowing you (well, vicariously anyway) you will do what’s best for you! http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/2682133/undermount-sink-w-wood-countertops

    • Reply To This Comment
      Ann Marie @ Twice Lovelyt
      February 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

      I love the idea of using the old oak flooring as the counter top, but quite honestly, the idea of trying an undermount with it would scare the living daylights out of me! I know you can waterlox the heck out of the wood and it will hold up great even with heavy water use, but it’s the joined edges around the sink that would be problematic. One poster on the above Houzz forum that Sue referenced suggested a lip/edge of sorts out of a different material. I think that’s an interesting concept! You could have your wood counters and basically encase the edges in marble pieces to protect them. This could only work with a square undermount sink. Not sure what you’d do if you wanted a round/oval shaped sink!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Megan
    February 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I followed your post on the wood counter top you did in the condo bathroom when we did a mini remodel on our hall bath last year. I love the look of it and so far it has held up great!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Christina
    February 10, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I made a mantle top with tongue and groove flooring that had been used under very-very old laminate counter tops in my kitchen. I just framed out the edges and it turned out beautiful. I think you should at least try. I also built wood counter tops in the kitchen about 5 years ago with maple 1×8 lumber using strong backs. The cost is minimal compared to most options. I think its a great idea.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sharon C
    February 10, 2015 at 10:48 am

    What about a thick modern beautifully polished concrete vanity top as an option for your hallway bathroom? You did a fantastic job of your kitchen concrete counter tops! I know though, that you have a vision for your bathroom and that whatever you decide, it will be amazing, whether it be wood, re-claimed wood or any other finish.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Eileen
    February 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Kristi, I used an antique makeup vanity as my bathroom vanity with a vessel sink. I used about 5 coats of waterlox over the stripped and restained wood top and it is so warm and gorgeous. I absolutely love it! It’s just adults using that bathroom and I keep a small towel on hand to wipe down the counters after we use the sink. I don’t really know if that’s necessary but we have very hard water that does leave spots, so we do it. I can’t wait to see your finished remodel.!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Betty
    February 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

    The wood countertop is great for a vessel sink but not an under-mount sink. Also the above-mount sink has a very wide edge. Go with a solid surfacing which will be much more sanitary and you will be able to clean more thoroughly.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Hmmm…I had an undermount sink with my butcherblock countertops in the condo kitchen. It looked great, and I never had any problems with it.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sue
    February 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I love the idea of a wooden countertop and the open shelving underneath. Plenty of storage for the items you’ll need in a guest bathroom and you could use baskets to hide more personal items. As for the sink, I love the vessel sinks on wood but am not sure about the undermount sinks and how that would work. Hopefully, one of your more saavy readers can help with that.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Brenda Pawloski
    February 10, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Kristi, i thought the wood counters in your condo were very lovely and thrifty but now I’m surprised you are not making a concrete counter with an ogee (I think that’s Italian for “today”) edge like in your beautiful kitchen. I would have thought it would better fit in the more high end look and feel you were going for after you completed your amazing kitchen and then took a second look at your living room. You could also use some of the wisdom and know-how you gained after casting your kitchen counters. Listen, whatever you choose and execute will be first rate, I just wanted to register my surprise and tell you how classy you are when people make such comments as I am now ; ).

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lindia
    February 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I love wood countertops. We have oak in our powder room. Unfortunately I don’t think Ikea carries the oak anymore- just birch and beech.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    February 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Interesting!!!!! Sounds timeless, organic, and textural. All good.

  • Reply To This Comment
    wendy
    February 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I would do some research into the IKEA….maybe a reader know more than me, but I believe they changed the quality of the butcher block at IKEA. We used it as a counter in a built in and someone at the store made a comment about making sure we had all we needed because the product would be changing soon. This was about a year or less ago.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Paige
    February 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I liked all the examples that you showed of the wood countertops but also noticed that they were all used with top-mount or vessel style sinks. Does this mean that subconsciously you are drawn to that style instead of under mount? I totally understand if you already have an under mount sink to use that you like, but if you are set on wood counters(which I love) I would go in the direction of your awesome inspiration pics! Good luck, can’t wait to see what you decide on.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      No. It means that I had difficulty finding pictures of wood countertops in bathrooms that I actually liked, and they just happened to have vessel sinks. 🙂 There are tons of pictures out there with wood countertops, but the bathrooms are either way too modern, or way too farmhouse, or way too something for my taste. 🙂

      I actually really dislike vessel sinks.

  • Reply To This Comment
    PJ
    February 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Why an undermount? All the examples you showed are above the counter or had a very wide lip. I know that when I wash my face I splash water everywhere so I would be afraid of water damage with an undermount.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I had an undermount with my butcherblock countertops at the condo, and it was never an issue. I’m not really a fan of vessel sinks. A drop in with a small lip would be fine, but I just really wanted an undermount. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sara
    February 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    If you decide to go to ikea, the one in Round Rock is way closer. I didn’t know this until recently but Round Rock ikea is 75-80 miles from waco while the one in Frisco is actually 125-130 miles away. Just wanted to share and save you some drive time in case you didn’t already know that!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Michael
    February 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Kristi. Can you Kreg Jig the planks together (essentially fasten them to form one solid piece), then try cutting the hole to see if it still remains structurally strong? It’s worth a shot…if it fails, no money wasted.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Michael
      February 10, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Or mount the wood planks to a thin piece of plywood for stability. THe plywood would serve as the structural integrity for the counter and the planks would be purely decorative.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary Anne Looby
    February 10, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Kristi, you probably know a lot more than we do about wood countertops having installed so many in the condo. By the way, I clicked on the links you gave us, since I really did not hook up with you until you were tearing apart your kitchen. Jeeze Louise, that has to be one of the cutest places I have ever seen. If that condo were in my neck of the woods it would sell for $200,000. It is so darn cute. I cannot believe the talent you have. When I saw the argyle walls, I thought oh no, she did not paint that, it has to be wallpaper, but sure enough it was paint. That is so adorable. I cannot imagine the time it took to do that. Anyway, I have a question since I noticed that you had board and batten in the condo. Is that done with wood, or do you use the mdf for that? I am thinking about doing it in a very large room and am concerned about the cost plus the weight of the wood. Also, how thick is it if it is wood? I already have baseboard in place, with the extra trim on top and am wondering if it is going to have to be removed to do the board and batten. Any help would be appreciated. Blessings

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi Linauer
      February 13, 2015 at 12:36 am

      The board and batten at the condo was done with MDF boards. They’re 3/4-inch thick, just like regular 1-by lumber. I think I used the MDF board equivalent of a 1 x 4 on those walls.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary Anne Looby
    February 10, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Hi again, one more thing, after reading the comments. How big is your sink going to be, and how big to you plan to make the counter top? The reason I ask, please do not think I am an idiot, but there is a brand of butcher block cutting board on the market. They are pretty high end but well worth the price. The name is Jim Boos. I have one that weighs a ton and is very thick, but I just bought one for my son for Christmas and his was not as thick as mine (mine is like 2 inches) but his was larger. I am not sure what the larges size is but my sons was 18×30 and cost about $100. These are the best butcher blocks on the market or kitchens. They also make a paste wax and oil to use to preserve them. It’s just a thought. Blessings

  • Reply To This Comment
    January
    February 10, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Kristi I absolutely love this idea. I love it so much that the hubs and I took your “living room built-in” idea and made our own guest bathroom double vanity counter top. It turned out so good. We get complements on it all the time and the cost was very very minimal – lumber, screws, stain and poly 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Maggie Obst
    February 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Interesting reading and some great tops. And reusing the floor boards would be lovely. A great plan. Have you bought you basin as yet?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Elizabeth
    February 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Please do the IKEA wood counters so I can learn how to install them! I want to replace our kitchen countertop with the samething. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mandi Mock
    February 10, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    We did this in our bathroom 3 years ago with just a piece of butcher block from Menards and it has held up VERY well!!! I love it!!….I went with regular mounted sinks and stained the butcher block like normal and then ended up putting a marine grade sealant on top…..I have not had any problems

  • Reply To This Comment
    Gilmer Gal
    February 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Always loved the countertops in the condo. I’m thinking of doing the same in my bathrooms.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sarah
    February 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Love the wood counter idea!

    We used hardwood flooring to make counters in our kitchen, but I could not think of any way to make it work with our undermount sink, so we used the ikea butcherblock for that part of the kitchen. If you can think of a way to make the hardwood flooring accommodate an undermount sink, I’m going to be super interested to see how you do it! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Debbie in Fort Worth
    February 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I read this post this morning, then stumbled across this article this afternoon: http://diycozyhome.com/school-bus-cottage/ It appears they have a wood countertop with an undermount sink.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Debbie in Fort Worth
    February 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Oh dear… now, of course, I realize I missed your point entirely about the “wood” versus the “flooring” issue. Oh well. I’m clearly not the DIY’er you are! I so much enjoy following your progress, and especially your honesty and perseverance! You make me think I can do anything, too!

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