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Bathroom Vanity Top


 I received a lot of questions about my antique dresser turned bathroom vanity, specifically the finish I used to protect the top from water.

DSC_0765 (424x640)

I stripped the existing finish, because I knew that wouldn’t stand up the way it needed to.  (You can check out my video tutorials on stripping furniture HERE and HERE.)  Once the finish was entirely removed and cleaned.  I applied four coats of Waterlox Original Finish.  This is the same finish I used for my butcher block kitchen counter and I am in love with it.  It has performed so well!  I had some leftover, so I used it for this project.


I only finished the top, since the sides and front aren’t exposed to as much water.

The downsides of this finish are –

  • it’s about an 11 day process (four coats, 24 hours dry time between each coat and 7 day cure time)
  • the finish is stinky when you’re working with it, so you need to work in a well-ventilated area and it’s best if you can do it outside of the house
  • It is oil based, so I used a new brush each time I applied a finish, so that does add to the cost

The pros far outweigh the cons, though and the finish is smooth, beautiful and durable.

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  1. Good to know! Sure looks wonderful!

  2. Sounds like a great product and it looks beautiful – not too shiny! Just curious… Does it not clean up with mineral spirits? Is that why you had to use a new brush each time?

  3. Suzanna says:

    How beautiful! Would you mind sharing where you got your towel? You are so inspiring :)

  4. I actually made it! It was for an tutorial, so I’ll share the link when that tutorial is live.

  5. Hi :) Found you blog not too long ago . . . and I have to say — it’s addictive!! Love your taste and style. I’m going to try some of the milk paint on my store’s furniture. Question: Do you also sell your energy??!

  6. Thank you so much for the link to the furniture stripping videos; that saved me some time looking for them.

    Is there another product that you recommend for stained pieces? I don’t have any way of knowing how hey were finished. I want to restain two chairs that were given to me; I like dark wood and they are a honey color.

    • Christine says:

      I hope no one minds me jumping in. I’m using Citristrip to take the stain out of antique doors right now. It takes it down to bare wood. Follow the tiny web site blurb and clean it off with water and a scrubbie. I turn my doors on their side, since that’s so messy. Upside? No stinky, no flesh eating, no ruining clothing, if it dries out, just scrape it off, anyway, and I use it on my hands to take off the goopy old finish. I LOVE this stuff and my doors are down to bare wood.

  7. i love the contrast of the white sink against the aged wood!

  8. Karen says:

    Have you ever tried putting your used brush in a plastic bag sealed tightly, and then in the freezer after using it? Just thaw it and use it for another coat. It doesn’t seem to do anything to the oil based product or the way it goes on.

    • That’s what I was going to suggest,,,,,the plastic baggie. I’ve gone back to it a week later
      and it’s still fine.

  9. I have that very sink in my master bath. Not only is it lovely, it does a great job of catching MOST of the water that splashes around on a vanity. It sounds like you’ve really protected the wood for errant droplets that find their way over the edge. Gorgeous!

    • Who makes the sink, and do you remember the name or model number. I’ve been using pedestal sinks in BOTH bathrooms for 14+ years, with sloping, rounded shapes, so NO place to put a single thing but the soap. Husband hates that, and I fear he will never let me have another one – has already threatened to put in a boxy vanity :(
      P.S. Marian, just how durable is that finish? How many years do you think it will hold up before you have to do that process again?

  10. Catherine says:

    Hi Marian,

    Echoing The Prudent Homemaker, what product would you use for getting just varnish or a stain off furniture. The stripping tutorials were very interesting, thank you.

  11. sure is pretty!

  12. Genie says:

    I am wondering too why you need to use a new brush each time? I use oil-based paints/stains/sealers all the time and have had my brushes for years. I simply clean them thoroughly with min. terps.

  13. Claudine says:

    Adding to our original–Peach Fizz! Cause we are still thinking about that Nehi.

  14. Susan Tillett says:


  15. Tavia says:

    So funny I was just wondering if I had missed the reveal. I was really following this project lol! Good timing. Looks like another fantastic job. I am so inspired by it!! Thanks so much 😉

  16. Michelle L. says:

    confused about the brush too. Besides cleaning with mineral spirits between uses, you can also put it in a zip-loc baggie & store it in the freezer. Pull it out just prior to needing it again (~30 minutes kept in the baggie) and you’re good to go.

  17. Nancy says:

    Coral Heirloom

  18. Cathy says:

    Where did you find the sink? I am planning to use a vintage dresser for a cabinet as well, but the top is too narrow for a drop in sink. We have been looking for the perfect vessel sink, but I really like yours.

  19. I bought the sink from Home Depot online. It was perfect for this dresser, since it was a little smaller. It’s called the Retrospect Self-Rimming Bathroom Sink in White.

  20. What if you are building A brand new vanity, would you apply Waterlox after the stain or paint?

  21. Madeline Gaggi says:

    Is it a clear finish? I have a piece I’m turning into a bath vanity and don’t want to strip it, I just want to seal it. it’s brand new and I love the look

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