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J187 04-17-2007 09:48 AM

Wilsonart post-form laminate countertops??
We would like to redo our countertops - At the very least - temporarily. Stone is out of the question right now, way too expensive for us, we just got married and bought the house a year ago today actually, and have done a ton of work and simply don't have much money left over for solid surface, stone, etc. We could however afford a laminate. Whats on there now is laminate glued over partical board, not done very well. Big seams, cracking etc. I really like the look AND the cost of post form laminates from Wilsonart. It would cost me around $330 for materials for my whole counter and I could do it myself. Anyone have any thoughts, insight or experience with these?

zel 04-17-2007 03:12 PM

Wow man, we were in the same boat as you a couple years ago. We bought a house, for a good price, that needs alot of renovations. We started with the first floor, including the kitchen. We did 850 feet of laminate, painted, new cabinets, appliances, etc. When it came time for counter tops, we were low on money, and the sticker shock of stone, and Corian pretty much forced us to go with a laminate. We did and we have been regretting it ever since. I wish we would have somehow scraped the money together for something better, but we had a wedding to pay for and alot more renovations in mind. I'm getting an estimate for granite or Corian in a few weeks, but wont be changing them until the upstairs is done.

By the way, those Wilsonart laminates do look pretty nice, as far as laminates go.

J187 04-17-2007 03:24 PM

Thanks, good info. Can you tell me what about the laminate you regret? I've been living w/ the laminate thats in there now for a year and haven't minded at all. A nicer laminate to me would only be better. But I'm interested in hearing why you regretted you decision.

zel 04-17-2007 03:50 PM

Well, a couple reasons.

We found some pieces of counter top with the laminate already on it at Lowes, that they were no longer going to carry in the stores. We bought enough parts from the Lowes stores around here to do the main counter tops. Cutting them without damaging the laminate was pretty tricky. We actually did damage one and had to recut it, making the one edge not have the stnadard "overhang" on the side. We had one place with a 90* bend and had to use the 2 opposite 45's and they didnt come together as perfect as we had hoped. They dont look bad, but not perfect.

About a year after redoing the kitchen, we built an island. It is a large island with 2 tiers and is built with matching cabinets, in 1/4 octagon shape. Since this was an odd shape and we wanted as little seems as possible, so we built the counters and laminated them ourselves. The first tier came out nearly perfect and we were very happy with it.
The second layer was very large, I needed a 5 x 12 sheet of laminate to cover the whole surface without seems. It didnt come out all that great, the long strip that wraps the edges just wont stick right in a few small places. We will eventually get something nicer, but just wish we did it while the place was all torn up.

BILZ 05-04-2007 01:06 PM

i would live with what you have for now and save your money. Be patient and get some real stone later down the road. Most people regret getting anything other than real natural stone.

send_it_all 05-04-2007 01:40 PM

Well. I might be able to help you. I have installed tons of laminate countertops. A few things I can tell you off the top of my head are:

Buy a dead-blow hammer to tap the seams flush between 2 sections of countertop.

Buy the correct joint fasteners for connecting sections together. SOme people call them dog bones. They are 1/4" bolts with 1 rectangular washer and 1 rectangular nut (Threaded washer)

Use wood glue on all the joints before fastening them together. Dampening the edges with a wet rag will give you additional working time.

As with any material, wear safety glasses if you have to make cuts for any reason, such as scribing the buildup on the backsplash to fit the wall.

This part can be tricky if you are not experienced with a circular saw, but when I make cuts in laminate counters, I run my saw backwards to eliminate blade blowout in the material. To clarify, I start cutting where you would normally finish a cut, then slowly make the cut in the reverse direction. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS...I CANT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. THE SAW WANTS TO GET AWAY FROM YOU. IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCED WITH THIS...IT IS NOT THE SAFEST WAY TO GO.. It simply makes a cleaner cut this way. If you are in doubt, make your cuts the normal way and leave an extra 1/16th of an inch of material and belt sand the small chips away.

While on the subject of cutting, I use a 40 tooth carbide tipped finish blade to cut laminate. A new 24 tooth should work. I like the Irwin Marathon blade cuz its inexpensive. A Freud (sp?) is good too.

If you have to re-laminate any parts, (hopefully you wont) use a good spray can contact cement. Apply cement to both the particle board and the plastic to be appplied. Wait for it to become dry to the touch and then stick pieces together. You only get one chance at this because it sticks instantly. No adjusting. Cut pieces oversized and trim flush. Buy a file specified for plastic laminate. It will have teeth on its edge that basically saw through laminate. Apply the edge material first, trim flush, then apply the top material. If you need to clean up overspray, laquer thinner works great and doesnt harm the laminate at all. Don't breath the vapors.

If I can help you more, feel free to pm me.

mikim 05-04-2007 02:05 PM

We're planning a new house in 3 years and my wife WANTS laminate. She won't be so afraid of damaging it, she prefers the even look, (same pattern here as there) and anything we use will be out of style and we will want to change it in 10 years anyway -- stone is just to darn spendy to do that. Course, she prefers roll vinyl flooring too. Not as hard to stand on as ceramic and easier to clean. Considering how hard she is to please .... guess I'm gonna keep her!

J187 05-04-2007 02:16 PM

Thanks for the tips.

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