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Old 04-09-2013, 07:32 AM   #1
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


I have a slightly unique issue with my counter tops, and I'm hoping to get some input from others who have more experience in this area than I do.

As some of you may know by reading this thread, the previous owner of my home considered himself a "handyman."

He tried to install 12" x 12" black granite tile counter tops in the kitchen to cover up the outdated laminate underneath. Normally this would be an effective method if applied properly, which mine was not. It appears as though he did not use tile spacers anywhere, or own a level or straight edge of any kind. The surface is so uneven that I've almost cut my hand by dragging it over a tile corner. The worst part is that he used 1/8" thick trim on the sides with a rather large grout line between the trim and the tile. The trim pieces are held on with 3/4" or so brad nails and are starting to fall off. I apologize for complaining a bit, but I feel like a bit of a back story will help with making a decision.

Please excuse the random baby bottled chewed up by the dog, and mini birdhouses in the pictures. These are the only ones I have right now that show the counters.
2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-baby-bottle.jpg

2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-mini-birdhouses.jpg

I will obviously be doing away with the granite tiles, but I am stuck on what route I should take to end up with a better end result. I am addressing the counters now because we are trying to have our house on the market within the next couple of months, and I know it won't sell if I don't fix the counter top. I am looking into the following options and would greatly appreciate y'alls input.

1) Remove everything (tile, laminate, and sub base that the laminate is adhered to) and replace it with...
a) Updated laminate
b) An acrylic or other solid surface material (not anything expensive)

2) Only demo enough to expose the old laminate, and re install a different tile PROPERLY this time.

3) Demo all the way down to the laminate sub base, and try to install new laminate sheet.

The old laminate has a standard square edge and not a rounded or bullnose edge.

I appreciate any help you can give me. I will take some better photos tonight when I get home to help show what I am working with. I will also be happy to keep updating this thread with whatever option I end up going with, and what types of issues involved with it. I'd imagine there are other people out trying to figure out what to do with multiple layers of countertops and I hope to be of some help to them as well.

Thank you in advance!

Sean

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:48 AM   #2
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


We have no idea what your home is worth and what the selling range would be so it's hard to suggest which top would make more since.
I personaly would remove everything down to the base cabinets and install some of the new tops that Home Depot carrys that have Roman Ogees edges and look like stone tops.
That would be one cost effective and easy DIY install.

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:00 AM   #3
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
We have no idea what your home is worth and what the selling range would be so it's hard to suggest which top would make more since.
I personaly would remove everything down to the base cabinets and install some of the new tops that Home Depot carrys that have Roman Ogees edges and look like stone tops.
That would be one cost effective and easy DIY install.
Thank you for the laminate suggestion. This was the direction I am leaning towards.

Last edited by captainawesome; 04-10-2013 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:09 AM   #4
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


Here are the layers of the countertop.
2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-counter-top-layers.jpg

This is one of the outside corners.
2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-grout-line.jpg

And this is an area that was just filled with grout instead of cutting the tile properly.
2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-grout-corner.jpg
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:42 AM   #5
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


Hard to tell from those pictures but it may be your going to be stuck with custom counter tops because what you have may be old, made in place cabinets.
Which are often odd ball depths and angles.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:52 AM   #6
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Hard to tell from those pictures but it may be your going to be stuck with custom counter tops because what you have may be old, made in place cabinets.
Which are often odd ball depths and angles.
Thank you, that was another concern of mine. Of course I forgot to take pictures of the overall layout, but the sink area is what worries me the most. I will take pictures tonight and post them. I drew up a quick sketch to show you what I mean.

2 layers of counter top, 1 headache-kitchen-sketch-001.jpg

Even if I had two pieces of laminate with a miter going into the corner, it would leave a void in front of the sink that might look bad if I try to cut an additional piece to fill it. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


Honestly? With that much of a corner you're going to be best served calling in a counter contractor. They can make the whole thing custom for the oddball size. You'd save by doing all the demo yourself.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #8
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Honestly? With that much of a corner you're going to be best served calling in a counter contractor. They can make the whole thing custom for the oddball size. You'd save by doing all the demo yourself.
Thank you. I planned on doing the demo to save cash, but didn't want to waste money by jacking up a perfectly good counter top by trying to install it myself. If it was just a straight 90 degree corner with a miter, I would have no problem.

I agree with you about having a counter contractor come in to handle it. I'm wondering if the installers from the big box stores would be good enough to make this section look good. The only counter top people I've found in my area really only deal with materials like granite or other solid surface materials. I'm hoping that the big box isn't my only option here.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:42 AM   #9
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


Just call around to local counter shops. Go directly with one, not through a box store or a kitchen/bath/cabinet place. They just subcontract to the counter shops anyway. But I'd start by talking with local tile and stone shops to find out who they'd recommend specifically for laminates.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:47 AM   #10
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


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Just call around to local counter shops. Go directly with one, not through a box store or a kitchen/bath/cabinet place. They just subcontract to the counter shops anyway. But I'd start by talking with local tile and stone shops to find out who they'd recommend specifically for laminates.
That's great advice, I can't thank you enough! I'll look into it a little more this afternoon and see what I can find out. Thanks again!
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #11
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


I don't want to open a can of worms for you, but if you're going to demo/replace counters then give serious thought to the condition and placement of the rest of the setup. Better to have taken some time to really think about the kitchen layout now, rather than after having spent for replacement counters. I never really like corner sinks, mainly because of the dead space behind them and the lack of access by more than one person. Sometimes there's good reasons for them, but often not. Perhaps a few pictures of the rest of the kitchen would help?
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:23 AM   #12
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2 layers of counter top, 1 headache


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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
I don't want to open a can of worms for you, but if you're going to demo/replace counters then give serious thought to the condition and placement of the rest of the setup. Better to have taken some time to really think about the kitchen layout now, rather than after having spent for replacement counters. I never really like corner sinks, mainly because of the dead space behind them and the lack of access by more than one person. Sometimes there's good reasons for them, but often not. Perhaps a few pictures of the rest of the kitchen would help?
I had planned on one day building all new cabinets, and maybe even a butcher block style counter top, but the wife wants a bigger house (I'd like one with a bigger garage) so we are getting our current house ready to go on the market. The layout isn't perfect, but it is perfectly functional for whoever buys the home next.

Who knows, maybe the next house will need some nice upgrades, and I'll have my chance at building a kitchen!

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