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Forum topic by harum posted 09-19-2014 12:31 AM 1508 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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harum

216 posts in 1109 days


09-19-2014 12:31 AM

About six months ago, I installed a bathroom vanity purchased from the meatball and mashed potatoes chain that also sells furniture. It’s made of MDF. Since that time the vanity, through normal use, has much deteriorated to the point that it needs to be replaced: the joints are swollen, the white paint bubbles and breaks at the edges. We’ve had good luck with other purchases from this store, but the vanity has to go.

I have been thinking of building it myself and wonder if there are tips on the design, joinery and finish for furniture to be regularly exposed to warm humid air? Are there any books or other references discussing issues like materials (solid wood or artificial materials, like plywood) and finish for this special purpose furniture?

Would greatly appreciate any suggestion and reference.
Thanks, h.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."


11 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#1 posted 09-19-2014 02:05 AM

Made my bathroom vanity from Cherry. More stable than many other woods in the presence of moisture.
This is why most foundry patterns are made of Cherry. Dimensional stability.

Made the top of the vanity of white marble because I wanted an under mount sink and wood was not an option..
And, besides its purdy.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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harum

216 posts in 1109 days


#2 posted 09-19-2014 04:10 AM

Michael, thanks, cherry sounds great!

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Keith Sonefelt's profile

Keith Sonefelt

18 posts in 817 days


#3 posted 09-19-2014 05:09 AM

I just finished a vanity, it was made of oak, and I used Kreg pocket hole screws, and let me tell you, it is super strong. My Dad always used mortise and tenon for face frames, but I’m not set up for it.

As for the finish, I use poly, and it seems to hold up well. I have heard of guys locally using SPAR Urethane and they have had good results. Although I let it cure for quite a while, that stuff STINKS!!!

I dont have plans for them. Just need to know how wide and the height and depth are pretty much standard.

-- "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right"

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harum

216 posts in 1109 days


#4 posted 09-19-2014 03:07 PM

Thanks Keith for your suggestions on the wood, joinery techniques and finish! Looks like solid wood is the material. Is plywood any good for bathroom vanity/cabinets? The bathroom is small; the steam condenses on the walls including the furniture surfaces, it’s dripping wet. I have to come with something that will hold up against the moisture.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View GregD's profile

GregD

783 posts in 2602 days


#5 posted 09-19-2014 03:37 PM


The bathroom is small; the steam condenses on the walls including the furniture surfaces, it s dripping wet. I have to come with something that will hold up against the moisture.

Don’t you have mold problems? Is there any chance you can improve the ventilation and/or better confine the steam from the shower/bath?

-- Greg D.

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1109 days


#6 posted 09-19-2014 05:01 PM

Thanks Greg! Yes, proper ventilation is on the list for sure. It’ll take some time though: cutting new hole through the ceiling, rearranging/installing vent ducts, pulling new wires, drywall and paint jobs, etc. I just want to start working on the vanity early. The current one has to go anyway.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View nicksmurf111's profile

nicksmurf111

361 posts in 916 days


#7 posted 09-19-2014 05:27 PM

Do you have a window? I’ve never had a house with a ventilated bathroom (the vent is building code now) and the window seems to do the trick.

Have you considered a between the studs cabinet? I hate how far the wall hangers stick out over the sink.

-- Nicholas

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1109 days


#8 posted 09-19-2014 05:52 PM

Nicholas, thanks. Yes, the bathroom window is always open and helps a lot: in about an hour after shower all the condensation dries up completely. This, I guess, is still not fast enough for the current vanity, it soaks in enough moisture. The mold hasn’t been much of a problem though. Yes, maybe we should have stuck to the between-the-studs design for this tiny bathroom, like the previous owners.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1510 posts in 3591 days


#9 posted 10-11-2014 01:10 AM

We set up a ceiling heater with a mechanical timer. Make sure it’s set for at least 15 minutes after we leave the bathroom. Between both of us in the bathroom that’s probably a half an hour of run-time a day, which is probably about $25/year in electricity, but the room dries out fast. Way easier to clean now.

The vanity is soon to come on our list too. and we’ve been poking along with the awful particle board vanity that was in the house. Repainted it a few times yet.

We’re thinking Cherry as well, but my other discovery has been that in thin layers, marine grade plywood isn’t all that expensive. So we’ll probably use Cherry for the frame, and then use Teak or Sapele veneered marine plywood for the panels.

Still divided between an oil finish and a varnish, but probably headed towards a marine varnish, thinned from out-of-the-can strength, and put on in many (like 7+) layers. This based on what boat building buddies tell me.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1109 days


#10 posted 10-11-2014 12:35 PM

Thank you, Dan. Plywood has to be more stable than most of the woods. Cherry and veneered plywood may be the way to go for me too. What kind of heater do you use? Is there also a fan and ventilation? What is your source of marine grade plywood? Marine product stores or Macbeth? The previous owner’s vanity, before I replaced it with a new vanity of painted MDF, was solid oak finished with some varnish, and it was in great condition.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1510 posts in 3591 days


#11 posted 10-11-2014 01:41 PM

The heater’s an integrated heat/vent/fan unit, I think it’s a Panasonic that cost us about $350, but did require a separate circuit (that heater draws a lot of current). Installation was: cut the right size hole in the ceiling, block it in with 2×4s, and run vent tubing to the side of the house, flexible pretty much straight up, then a long sloping rigid run to the outside wall (sloped to let condensation run towards that outside wall) with a dryer vent flap on the outside wall.

The marine ply I have right now is leftover scraps from a friend's 1929 wood cabin cruiser boat restoration, I think he got it at MacBeath, so when I need bigger pieces I’ll be heading over there (Mount Storm, my usual plywood supplier, doesn’t seem to carry marine grade).

And, yeah, I think if you account for wood movement, oak with varnish would work well too. We’re going with a solid hickory floor when we re-do the floor, because that’s done us really nicely in the kitchen despite spills and mop-ups.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

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