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Old 10-31-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Greetings all;

I need to upgrade my kitchen countertops. Would rather not spend $1000 on new - laminate (2 estimates). Have been learning about re-laminating my existing countertops - am wondering how doable/difficult this really is. Looks like all I need is a palm sander, router w/ laminate bit, circular saw with fine tooth bit for initial cuts, and TIME! Seems pretty straight forward, if a bit time consuming. Does the old laminate have to be completely removed? or just roughed (80 grit?)? I have about 22 ft (4 sections) with only 1 seam. should be pretty easy? Could I do this in 2-3 days? thinking I can sand in 1 day.

Alternate might be to try this Rust-o-leum product http://countertops.rustoleumtransformations.com/ ?

Thanks so much in advance.

Kelly

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Old 10-31-2012, 05:30 PM   #2
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


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Originally Posted by hondochica View Post
Greetings all;

I need to upgrade my kitchen countertops. Would rather not spend $1000 on new - laminate (2 estimates). Have been learning about re-laminating my existing countertops - am wondering how doable/difficult this really is. Looks like all I need is a palm sander, router w/ laminate bit, circular saw with fine tooth bit for initial cuts, and TIME! Seems pretty straight forward, if a bit time consuming. Does the old laminate have to be completely removed? or just roughed (80 grit?)? I have about 22 ft (4 sections) with only 1 seam. should be pretty easy? Could I do this in 2-3 days? thinking I can sand in 1 day.

Alternate might be to try this Rust-o-leum product http://countertops.rustoleumtransformations.com/ ?

Thanks so much in advance.

Kelly
Welcome to the forum Kelly, glad to have you with us.

If your don't have the preformed tops it should be fairly easy to recover your counters with the old HPL (high pressure laminate) in place. If you have the preformed tops it will be somewhat harder and more work than it is worth and hard to get it right.

Are you planning to go back with a wooden edge or a self edged. It is a lot easier for me with a wooden edge. I remove the HPL off the front edge and install a piece of wood that is usually 1 inch thick X 1 inch wide. Glue and nail the edging on the front and sand the HPL to roughen it up fairly well. Cut and dry fit your new plastic to fit letting the front edge overlap the front piece of wood you installed. You can let it over lap as far as you like because you will run the profile and trim the plastic at the same time. In other words, by routing the profile on the wood, it will cut the plastic nice and straight for you at the same time.

Once you have the HPL dry fitted make line up marks from one piece to the other at the joint. Just a series of maybe 4 or 5 straight marks from on piece to the other about 2 or 3 inches long will be fine. You will uses these marks to get the joints back together in the same place. Now before you pick both pieces up just pick one up and don't move the other one. Take your pincel or knife blade and make a mark across the end of the new piece onto the old HPL below. This will be where you line the HPL bck up to after the glue is ready.

I usually lay the new pieces upside down and put the glue on them while they are laying on the old top. Once glued up, lay aside and glue the old top. You will need to wait until you can touch the glued surface and it will not come off on your finger, usually about 15 - 20 minutes. I use sticks that I have ripped down to about 1/4 inch thick that will lay from back to front and over hang the front by about 5 or 6 inches or so.

I place the sticks 10 or 12 inches apart all the way from one end to the other, I then lay the largest piece new plastic on top of the sticks. I line the plastic up with the mark I made on the old plastic and glue that end down. I start removing the sticks and sticking the plastic down from the end where I just stuck working all the way to the end.

Next and with the sticks on the end that the next piece will go, aline the marks you made on the end and stick that end down making sure it fits good and tight. I will stick the plastic down for about 12 inches from the end joint, I will then skip on down about 3 or 4 feet and pull the sticks out and stick it down there for a foot or so. Start sticking the plastic down there and work back to the joint this will tighten the joint up really good.

Be careful not to let the plastic come lose at the joint, the end would jump over the other and you would have a mess. Make sure the plastic at the joint stays stuck down by pushing down on it as you stick the plastic toward that joint. Once all the plastic is installed and you have rolled it hard to make sure there is no air bubbles under the plastic, you can run the router down the front edge and cut the profile on the wood.

I usually chose a profile that has a lip that will leave a 1/16 or so of wood below the HPL at the edge. Trim the rest of the plastic with your router, take a file and knock the sharp edge off the plastic where it has been cut, it get really sharp after it has been cut. Clean up with lacquer thinner.
I hope this helps.

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Old 10-31-2012, 05:38 PM   #3
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Before deciding take a look at the new style tops there selling at Home Depot. There right next to the old style rolled back tops.
Far better looking then just flat tops.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:19 PM   #4
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Greetings Jim and Joecaption;

thanks for your replies.

Jim - thanks for the info. How well do I have to sand the existing laminate? I'm guessing it's original (50's?) or at least from the 70's - varied, overlapping yellow squares pattern - lovely!! wish I could attach a picture. don't really like/want a wood edge - particularly in the kitchen. Also because I have one counter with a rounded end - can't put wood on that and don't want to cut it square. will be laminating edges as well. Think I've read that I should do edges before top?


joecaption: New - manufactured countertops are really not an option - the cabinets were built on-site when the house was built - 1954; subsequently, they are not as deep as new cabinets and the pre-made tops overlap the cabinets too much. Also, have a 'breakfast bar' (but not) section that extends into the middle of the kitchen. This has a rounded end and so, again, would need custom built tops. Too expensive - but thanks for the idea!

Last edited by hondochica; 10-31-2012 at 08:59 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Follow Big Jim's steps and you should be find. Plan ahead for where you will have seams. If you have not worked with laminate---or more specifically with contact adhesives---before it is handy to have a friend to help you maneuver the sheets. You don't get a second chance. Once the two glued up sides meet, that is more or less where they are going to stay. Large sheets of wax paper can come in handy for keeping surfaces apart until you are ready.

You will need some sort of heavy roller to make sure you make solid contact as you work any air bubbles out from the center to the edges.

As for the Rustoleum countertop restoration product? Do a search via this site's search engine. People seem to like the results at least from an appearance standpoint. I think it is too new to know how it will hold up over time. I worry about a layer so thin, over something as hard to adhere to as laminate, chipping.

There are also companies like Granite Restorations or something like that build overlays to fit over old cabinets. I have no direct experience with them either.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:36 PM   #6
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


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Originally Posted by hondochica View Post
Greetings Jim and Joecaption;

thanks for your replies.

Jim - thanks for the info. How well do I have to sand the existing laminate? I'm guessing it's original (50's?) or at least from the 70's - varied, overlapping yellow squares pattern - lovely!! wish I could attach a picture. don't really like/want a wood edge - particularly in the kitchen. Also because I have one counter with a rounded end - can put wood on that and don't want to cut it square. will be laminating edges as well. Think I've read that I should do edges before top?


joecaption: New - manufactured countertops are really not an option - the cabinets were built on-site when the house was built - 1954; subsequently, they are not as deep as new cabinets and the pre-made tops overlap the cabinets too much. Also, have a 'breakfast bar' (but not) section that extends into the middle of the kitchen. This has a rounded end and so, again, would need custom built tops. Too expensive - but thanks for the idea!
Just run the sander over all of the counter and scratch it well, the glue will bit the scratches. If you are laminating the edges I would suggest pulling the old edging off as laminating over the laminate edging doesn't hold to well. Yes you do install the edging first, then sand the top edge down flush with the top of the counter top. You will need to put two coats of glue on the edging and one coat on the edge of the counter top edge as there is one coat already on it. You will more than likely have to trim the front edge when you pull the old edging off as the top laminate over laps the edging.

I forgot, wash the top down with lacquer thinner to be sure there is no oily spots on it from food all those years before you start sanding or after you sand, either way.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Greetings again

Well, got to the house and went to work. Much to my delight the old laminate peeled up with a heavy duty putty knife and a hammer!!! No sanding required . . YEAH!!!!

I did pull up some plywood with the laminate, just small surface chunks, no bigger than 2-3 inches in size. I thinking I will have to fill in those spots for a smooth surface before I lay in the laminate. Any recommendations?

Also, am looking for suggestions about removing that backsplash. I am thinking it might be tacked to the wall and/or glued? Any thoughts there? The walls are plaster, not drywall.


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Thanks again in advance

Kelly
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:31 AM   #8
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


Ok . . . Sometimes I just need to be brave!! The backplash came right off - just pried off the tack strip with prybar (?) and hammer. No damage to the wall. Yeah!!

But I did forget to ak how I should prep the plywood for new laminate. Thinking I should still sand off the old contact adhesive. How rough does the wood need to be? Still use 80 grit? The wood very smooth.

Guess I still gotta sand - bummer!

Thanks for you thoughts

Kelly



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Old 11-04-2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


You won't be able to sand and there is no need for it, just fill the holes, let dry, and then go ahead with the HPL. There is a product called water puddy that you can mix and fill and does a pretty good job.
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #10
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


"won't be able to sand . . ." Can you elaborate, please. Don't I at least have to remove, lightly sand, the old adhesive off the plywood and smooth/level (kinda a strong word, the surface is basically level.)

I've decided to use a tile as backsplash, what about prep work here? Can I just go for it?

Thanks for your help!

Kelly
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #11
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Can I re-laminate kitchen countertops?


All sanding will do is melt that glue and clog up your sanding belts or pads and really quick, just won't work. If you want to get some good comments and instructions make a new thread in ceramics and tile and ask about your back splash.
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #12
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Thanks . . Had not thought about the heat generated from sanding. Will check out the other forum.

Kellt

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