Intro: How to Make a Floating Vanity Countertop
Floating vanities and counter tops are great at providing a clean and modern look. If you have a small washroom like mine, it also has the benefit of providing a more open and less crowded feel.
There are lots of well done instructables on bathroom renovations already, so this one will focus primarily on the aspects of the floating counter top with hidden brackets.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For this project you'll need the following:
- Counter top - the one we chose was a grey quartz. Granite or even wood would work just as well. We purchased ours from a local stone counter top supplier that had an off-cut that was perfect for our small space.
- Heavy duty 90 degree steel brackets - You'll want at least one of these brackets for every stud that your counter will span. The ones used in this project were from Empire Brackets with the exact model being the 3/8" floating counter top steel brackets.
- Storage Cabinet (Optional) - We used an Ikea Besta cabinet to give us some extra storage under the counter top. The Besta isn't the most sturdy of cabinets you can find and the provided stock wall fasteners are dubious - so be sure to opt for the suspension rail if you do go for the Besta. Any other cabinet will work just as well though
- Extra Studs 2x4's or 2x6's (Optional) - You may need to reinforce the stud framing behind your wall. A few extra pieces of scrap wood are always handy.
- Miscellaneous Fasteners - Mostly wood screws. For our installation, we used #12 wood screws.
- Silicone Caulk or Construction Adhesive - To secure the floating counter top to the supports
- Drywall Patching Kit - Drywall knife, mesh tape, sanding block, and drywall compound
All the tools that you'll need are your standard hand drill, level, screw driver, caulking gun, drywall repair tools.
Step 2: Bare the Studs
Our bathroom renovation was a complete gut down to the studs. If you aren't doing a complete tear down, you can also just expose the studs where you plan on fastening your brackets.
After the studs are exposed, check that they are strong enough to support the load of your counter top. As you can see from the pictures above, our studs were severely compromised by both plumbing and electrical that ran through. Before moving forward, we sistered a few studs and added some extra bracing between studs where we would eventually mount the cabinet. We also made sure that the fasteners that we would eventually put through the studs would not hit any plumbing or electrical.
Step 3: Fasten the First Steel Bracket
The brackets from Empire Brackets come with pre-drilled and counter-sunk through holes. Secure the first bracket to one of the studs with 3 flat head screws and check for level in both directions - i.e. both along the length of the arm, and across. Shim if required.
You'll also notice that the brackets supplied have been painted. The Empire branded brackets can be supplied painted upon special request (and cost); however, I did have some Tremclad rust proofing paint leftover from a previous job, so before installing I gave them a few quick coats. In the end, they came out with a nice Aluminum finish and will resist rusting.
Step 4: Fasten Brackets Along All Studs
Repeat the process of fastening 90 degree steel brackets along every stud that crosses the span of your eventual counter top. For each bracket fastened, I would recommend that you check for level on the bracket itself, and level with respect to adjacent brackets.
Step 5: (Optional) Add Mirrored Brackets
Originally, we had planned for a butcher block counter top. Mid way through construction an executive order came in from the top to change the counter to quartz. I'm pretty sure the existing brackets would have handled the load just fine; however, just to be on the safe side, I fastened 3 more brackets in a vertically mirrored configuration. Again, check for level.
Step 6: Drywall Patching and Bracket Concealment
The brackets supplied were 3/8" thickness. We were installing 1/2" thick drywall, so that left 1/8" left to fill with compound. I used fiberglass mesh tape and standard drywall compound to fill over the supporting arms of the brackets. After several coats and lots of sanding your bracket supporting arms will be hidden from view.
Step 7: Attach the Countertop
Attach your counter top to the brackets with your standard construction adhesive or silicone caulking. If you are installing a wood counter top, use the supplied countersink holes with your usual wood screws. Be sure to check for level, and as usual, shim as required.
All done! Onward to the back splash!