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Bath & Faucets

DIY Bathroom Vanity Refinish or Replace

Our bathroom vanities often get more wear and tear than our kitchen cabinets. Splashed water, spilled lotions, soap, hair spray and bathroom cleaners all land on the cabinets face and body attacking the finish and making them look old and tired. Often they can be just cleaned up, but in some cases a refinish or replacement is called for. Even if the cabinet is ok, it may be time to remodel the bathroom and re-staining or painting the cabinet is desired to create a fresh look to the room.

Let’s Take a Look at Your Options:


Assess the cabinets condition, if the paint is peeling or the stain has faded, you may be able to sand the cabinet and re-stain or paint it. Open the doors remove the drawers and access the condition of the body, if the doors are warped or the body has water damage, you will have to replace the cabinet. The Home Depot offers ready to install vanity cabinets with top for less than $200.00

Ready to Install Bath Vanity

If the cabinet looks OK, then look at its construction, most bathroom vanities have solid wood doors and fronts, however many have a body made with a vinyl veneer finish over particleboard, while this is a durable water proof finish, it cannot be sanded, refinished or painted. If you have a cabinet like this, your only option will be to replace it.


Once you have evaluated the cabinets condition, the next step is to decide whether to re-stain or paint it. This decision is often based on your redecorating plans, whether you are just refreshing the room or doing a complete remodel.

Re-Staining the Cabinet:


Refinishing the cabinet is a relatively simple process, start by removing all of the contents, taking out the drawers and remove all of the hardware. Next sand down the finish so it is smooth and even, you may use a palm sander for the body, however the doors are best hand sanded to prevent damaging the doors details.

If you are re-staining the cabinet brush on or apply the stain to a cloth and wipe it on the cabinet, allow it to penetrate the surface for a minute or so and then wipe off the excess. (the longer you leave the stain on the darker the finish will be, do not let the stain dry on the surface). Once you have wiped away the excess stain look at the finish, is it dark enough? If not apply more stain to the surface and repeat the process.

    Re-staining a Vanity Cabinet 


Once you have applied the stain, allow it to dry overnight, this allows any VOCS, (volatile organic compounds) to evaporate prior to applying the top coat of polyurethane clear finish. Note: some new finishes are stain and finish in one can, while convenient to use, in some cases you will not achieve the results you desire and if the finish is too light, you will have to sand off the finish and start again. When you’re done, new cabinet hardware will help freshen up the look of the cabinet.


Painting the Cabinet:

    Prepped Vanity Ready For Painting

Repainting a vanity is simpler than staining one, just sand the surface smooth and if the original finish was stain, or you are covering a dark color with a lighter color apply a coat of primer, before painting.


Paint the body first, while it’s drying paint the drawer fronts and doors, allow everything to dry overnight before reinstalling the drawers and the hardware.

Regular latex paint such as Behr Premium Plus will work fine for the experienced DIYer. If this is your first DIY project you may find buying a kit such as Rust-Oleums' Cabinet Transformations a better option. This kit includes all the items needed to paint your cabinet complete with step by step instructions.

   Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Refinishing Kit


Replacing the Cabinet:


If you decide to replace your vanity, be sure to look at our article “How to Install A Bathroom Vanity" here on the community. This article will give you all of the steps to remove the old vanity and install the new one.

No time for DIY Projects? We can do it for you! Our Home Services Division can replace your vanity or do a complete bathroom remodel, just give them a call at 1-800-557-5221.

Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

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Posted 2016-12-08T23:32:17+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC