Cabinets & Countertops

Cabinets and countertops offer the much-needed storage space in the bathroom to store your toiletries, keep medicines and first-aid box, cleaning milk, moisturizer and deodorants, towels and napkins besides other things that you use daily while showering in your bath. They are powerful accents to your bath décor and help you to define the tone and style of the bathroom and make the best use of the wall and floor surface of the area. They also are pivotal in keeping your bath well organized and efficient. Here are some tips that you can use while installing cabinets and countertops in the bathroom to give them the trendy look you have always desired:

Medicine cabinets often go in the back or sidewalls that frame the vanity and it's easier to put them in before the vanity. Also, take the doors off all the cabinets to avoid damaging them during installation. Fit the cabinet snugly between the 2 x 4's in the stud wall. At the proper height, box in an opening in the drywall between the studs and slide the cabinet in. Level the top of the frame and secure it. Many vanity cabinets go together with the drawers in or between two cabinets. Most don't have the top fastened because it's easier to handle and fit that later. Using a level, find the floor's high point to determine the cabinets' high point.

Mark a level line through that point across the wall. That reference line guides all the cabinet tops. Intersect that line with a plumb line down the middle. Any middle cabinet goes in first. Draw a line down the center of its back and line it up with the guide line. Transpose pipe locations to the cabinet back and drill pipe holes with a spade bit. Slide the cabinet into place, level the top and secure it to the wall studs with drywall screws. Flush and plumb the other cabinets. Use a wood clamp to tie the front frames together and screw them together.

NOTE: A gap is often left where a cabinet meets the wall. Fill it in with a trim piece cut to fit snugly in the gap. Screw through the cabinet 's side frame into the trim's side to fasten them.

Cut and fit 3/4" plywood to cover the vanity top. From the center reference line used to set the cabinets, find the center point of the cabinet front. Center the countertop and secure it to the tops of the cabinets using drywall screws up through the bottom. For an added touch, build up the edges of the countertop. This also prevents the doors/drawers from hitting the trim pieces. For trim, we added 3/4" plywood strips cut to fit along the edges that were held with a bead of construction adhesive and screws. Mark the centerpoints for the sink opening(s) and draw a center line connecting the points. Vanities usually include a template to outline the sink opening. Use the reference line to position the template and trace around it. Drill a pilot hole to start the jig saw blade and cut out the opening. Now the countertop is ready for tiling.

WARNING: Most laminate countertops are glued with very flammable cement. Work in a well-ventilated area, avoid open flames (like furnace pilots) and always follow the manufacturer's directions.

Particleboard is an inexpensive material for making laminate countertops. Cut a 4 x 8 sheet of particleboard to size and add bottom supports where joining pieces. With construction adhesive, glue on any edge pieces and test-fit the countertop. Use a utility knife (to score then snap), jig saw or circular saw (fine-toothed blade) to cut laminate pieces. Which side you cut laminate depends on the tool. Cut a scrap piece first on both the front and back to see which way cuts smoothest and chips less. Apply contact cement to both laminate and particleboard edge pieces. Once the cement dries to the touch, carefully line up the pieces and attach the laminate.

Use a rolling pin or roller to make good contact and to squeeze out any air bubbles.

NOTE: Once the laminate and cement come into contact they usually stay that way and are difficult to reposition. Use cardboard or kraft paper inserts between the pieces to position and line them up.

Let the edges set up as directed. Then cut off the excess with a router using a carbide laminate-trimming bit. Glue the top piece the same way. Apply contact cement to both the laminate and particleboard. Let them dry to the touch and use cardboard strips to position the laminate. Pull out the strips, press laminate into place with a rolling pin or roller and router the edges flush. To fasten the countertop, insert spacer blocks underneath the top cabinet bracing at the corners and screw through the blocks and into the countertop.

Installing A Laminate Backsplash

A laminated backsplash can also be attached to the countertop with drywall screws drilled from the bottom side of the countertop. Since the wall may not be totally even, leave off the top laminate piece of the backsplash. Butt it tight to the wall, glue it down and trim the front edge flush. Or, belt sand the backside of the backsplash to fit the wall. Dryfit the countertop and once it's positioned correctly on the cabinets drive screws up through the cabinet framing into the countertop.



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