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Old 07-10-2008, 04:24 PM   #1
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Hello. My father in law installed a new laminate countertop for me this morning and when he went to caulk the corner seam with silicone from underneath, it flowed over. He wiped it down smooth but it left a thin residue of the stuff along either side of the seam. It's a black countertop and is VERY obvious since it has left a sort of shine. I tried using acetone to remove it but it's not working. Any suggestions??

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Old 07-10-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


When the caulk is still wet, you can use paint thinner on 100% silicone caulk. If it has started to set up, try using a rough terry cloth towel or one of those nylon dobies and thinner to get it off.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #3
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Ok. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Silicone caulk can be hard to remove if you don't know how. It actually softens up quite a bit if you apply paint thinner to it, but the problem is that paint thinner (also called "mineral spirits") evaporates before it softens the silicone much.

DAP sells a product called "Silicone-Be-Gone", and you can usually find it in the caulking aisle of your home center. It's really nothing more than gelled mineral spirits, so that it doesn't evaporate nearly as fast. Also, the product doesn't really dissolve the silicone, it just makes it swell up and get much softer so that it can be more easily removed by scraping or scrubbing.

If you can't find Silicone-Be-Gone, just just remove as much as you can with a razor blade, and then put paint thinner on and cover with wax paper and tape down the edges so it doesn't evaporate. After an hour or two, the silicone should be soft enough that you should be able to scrape or scrub the silicone off. If there's still any left, do it again.

The good thing about the DAP Silicone-Be-Gone product is that it emulsifies in water, so you can clean up the Silicone-Be-Gone with water.

If your father-in-law ever does another laminate top for you, maybe tell him to tape off the mitered ends of both tops with masking tape first, wipe off the excess silicone, then remove the masking tape.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-10-2008 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:24 PM   #5
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
If your father-in-law ever does another laminate top for you, maybe tell him to tape off the mitered ends of both tops with masking tape first, wipe off the excess silicone, then remove the masking tape.
Excellent tip. As someone who's about to replace their first countertop, you may have just saved me some aggravation. Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:51 AM   #6
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Artie:

As someone who's installed exactly 20 plastic laminate counter tops, lemme save you some more aggrivation:

Number your cabinet drawers as you remove them. Otherwise re-installing them without them hitting their fronts against each other could become quite a puzzle.

PAINT the backside of the front bullnose of your counter top with an alkyd paint. That will prevent any liquids dripping off the front bullnose from being absorbed into the particle board and causing it to swell. Do the same thing on the cut edges of your sink hole as well as the holes you cut for any faucets. I paint the entire underside of my counter tops for several inches on each side of the sink and right to the back of the counter top where the faucet is.

It's quite franky kinda dumb the way some installers install counter tops. They set the top on the cabinet and scribe the wall profile onto the counter top's backsplash, cut along that scribe line and then fit the counter top against the wall. Sound's good, but it's dumb to do it that way. A better way is to put a board between the front bullnose of the counter top and the cabinet. Now, holding that board snugly sandwiched between the countertop and the cabinet, scribe the wall profile onto the top backsplash of the counter top with another board of approximately the same width. Now when you cut the backsplash, it's fit up against the wall equally well, but it's now also guaranteed to be exactly parallel with the cabinet. If you just scribe the backsplash and cut, the counter top may end up being installed crooked to the cabinet.

If you have a two handle faucet, pack the body of the faucet with plumber's putty before installing it. That way, if any water spills into the faucet body when you remove a cartridge or the spout, it's won't come into contact with the particle board. (And even if it does, it won't do any harm if that particle board is painted.)

Personally, I don't like using silicone on counter top miters. It can come out of the joint. I actually prefer a polyurethane caulk made by Sika called "Sikaflex 1a". I paint the mitered ends of the counter top with an oil based paint first and allow to dry. When taping the mitered edges, use wide masking tape and allow it to hang over the mitered edge a little. Then, just run a razor knife along the laminate at that mitered edge to cut the excess masking tape off. That way you're guaranteed to have the masking tape installed exactly where it's needed. I position one counter top in place and have the other about an inch away. I put a bead of that Sikaflex 1a on the edge of one counter top and then just slide the other counter top against it. You can slide them tightly together quite easily. Then, scrape off the excess polyurethane caulk with a razor blade, remove the masking tape and wipe the joint down with laquer thinner or acetone when it's still wet. If you're joint isn't that good, be careful not to remove too much caulk from it.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-11-2008 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:19 AM   #7
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Wow, wish I'd received all this advice before I did my counter! Any input on cutting and placing the new sink. I was under the impression that my father in law was well versed in these types of tasks but am a little concered now.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
Silicone caulk can be hard to remove if you don't know how. It actually softens up quite a bit if you apply paint thinner to it, but the problem is that paint thinner (also called "mineral spirits") evaporates before it softens the silicone much.

DAP sells a product called "Silicone-Be-Gone", and you can usually find it in the caulking aisle of your home center. It's really nothing more than gelled mineral spirits, so that it doesn't evaporate nearly as fast. Also, the product doesn't really dissolve the silicone, it just makes it swell up and get much softer so that it can be more easily removed by scraping or scrubbing.

If you can't find Silicone-Be-Gone, just just remove as much as you can with a razor blade, and then put paint thinner on and cover with wax paper and tape down the edges so it doesn't evaporate. After an hour or two, the silicone should be soft enough that you should be able to scrape or scrub the silicone off. If there's still any left, do it again.

The good thing about the DAP Silicone-Be-Gone product is that it emulsifies in water, so you can clean up the Silicone-Be-Gone with water.

If your father-in-law ever does another laminate top for you, maybe tell him to tape off the mitered ends of both tops with masking tape first, wipe off the excess silicone, then remove the masking tape.
I found the stuff and used it. It appears to be removing the actual silicone and the rubbery feeling but there seems to be a shadow left behind on either side of the seam. I just don't think it's going to go away. I'm really ticked off considering this is a brand new counter and being black, it's so obvious!
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:03 PM   #9
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


I wouldn't be too critical of your father-in-law. If you had hired someone to do this work, they wouldn't have done a much better job. They wouldn't have painted any areas of the top that could potentially get wet, they wouldn't have packed the faucet body with plumber's putty, and they wouldn't have used the "board behind the bullnose trick" to get the counter top installed parallel to the cabinet. Professionals get paid according to how many counter tops they install, not how well they install each one. AND, the bottom line is that every customer assesses the quality of his work based strictly on what it LOOKS like, not on all these other things that will make the installation last much longer. So, no professional is going to do those extra things because they're going to go unnoticed and unappreciated by the customer.

You're telling me that the silicone film seems to be gone, but there's a "shadow" on either side of the seam? You're also saying the counter top is black.

Does that shadow seem lighter than the surrounding laminate, and does it seem to disappear when wet?

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-11-2008 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:19 PM   #10
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


Good point. One thing is for sure, my father in law is wonderful to help me whenever I need him.

As for the shadow, yes the silicone is gone but it almost looks like an oil from it or from the stuff we used to get it off`has been left behind. It's made either side of the seam look dull and darker black then the surrounding area. I tried using a bunch of different cleaners to get it off and oddly enough, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser seemed to work the best. It's appears to be mostly gone although, if you look from the right angle you can still see a slight shadow.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:19 PM   #11
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Laminate counter and silicone caulk problem


OK, good.

Personally, I would apply the DAP Silicone-Be-gone on both sides of the joint and use the Magic Eraser to remove the silicone after allowing sufficient time for it to soften up. A Magic Eraser may seem soft enough to the touch, but the plastic it's made from is quite hard, and will easily scrub off softened silicone caulk.

Did you know that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are made by the BASF company of Germany as their "Basotect" foam. That foam was used in aircraft seat cushions (because of it's light weight) for years before ever being used as a cleaner.

Google "Basotect" and find out more about it.

Ya gotta know this stuff to get your DIY merit badge in cleaning at this website.


Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-11-2008 at 11:29 PM.
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