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cweese 10-29-2009 05:50 PM

What do I do with this countertop - suggestions???
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We purchased our house in June. Needed a big facelift but it was mostly paint and re-finishing the hardwood floors. I'm currently working on the kitchen and I need some suggestions on what to do with this countertop - previous owner painted it PINK! I'm not sure what kind of paint they used, but it's pretty darn scratch resistant. There's only one small place where it's flaking off the countertop.

Here's what I'm planning - sage green walls, paint cupboards white, put in double sink, and I am stumped as to what to do with the countertop. Is there some kind of paint I can safely use to paint it a different color? I don't mind using a "temporary" solution if it looks reasonable. We're getting to the end of this year's reno dollars....

Or, I really like tiles, but I don't want to replace the whole countertop board, as it's very solidly built onto the wood cabinets. If I could find a way to tile over existing countertop, that would be my first choice. But everything I've read says you should NOT tile over formica.

Here is a "before" picture... So far, after this pic was taken, we've removed the wallpaper, painted the walls and removed the backsplash. I'll be tiling a backsplash behind the counters for sure.

Any suggestions??? :huh:

cweese 10-29-2009 06:01 PM

I'm not even sure, is Formica the right word for what's currently covering the counter? House was built in 1958.

rselectric1 10-29-2009 06:12 PM

I hope you're not the sensitive type because I can be brutally honest sometimes.
Paint (depending on what type) can be unhealthy for a kitchen countertop. (Paint chips can easily dislodge and you end up eating them) Not to mention that depending on the paint, it could be trapping bacteria which you and your family will also be consuming.

Depending on your budget, there are many ways you can go.

I and the contractors that help out on this site will have a wealth of information that we are willing to share, but we will need to know your mindset. Are you looking for a quick fix? Are you planning on remodeling and replacing the cabinetry in the near future? Etc.

cweese 10-29-2009 10:20 PM

Not sensitive at all, it's just a kitchen :) Any comments are welcome. I know generally paint is not a good choice but I didn't know if there were paint or paint-like coatings that could be used specifically for countertops. I've tested what's on there with a knife, and you can more or less cut on it without scratching it up. I could of course be wrong but I don't think it's typical wall paint. Which doesn't mean it's not toxic.

As for budget, I would have to say "it depends". For a permanent option I'm willing to spend some money, but if it's more than, say, $500-ish, I can plan for the permanent option in the future but would like a temporary quick fix for now. And personally I hate the look & feel of cheap formica.

Is there any way at all to tile over what's there, such as screwing or gluing down some proper backing? Or I've heard it might be possible to score the top with a saw blade, and tile over that... There's one corner of the existing countertop that's chipped due to ripping out the backsplash, and it doesn't look like it would be possible to remove the top layer from the backing board. I checked out under the cupboards too, and I don't see any easy way to remove the entire countertop. It's not screwed in for easy access the way they are nowadays - it's pretty solid all around. Which means I'd like to not tear it apart if at all possible.

Definitely planning to keep the cupboards, though we'll paint them white. I really like some of the 50's details on them, like the rounded corners.

Mop in Hand 10-29-2009 11:51 PM

Remove the back splash and the sink. Some 1/4 backerboard glued and screwed to that top will work, and then tile. Same on the sides. Go for it, (can't understand why you want to cover it up though)

rselectric1 10-30-2009 06:05 AM

For a quick fix, I agree with Mop in hand.
My advice was going to be replace the top. But that will be over what you want to spend for the quick fix.

Mike Swearingen 10-30-2009 07:39 AM

When we remodeled, my late wife had them jump the 12" square ceramic floor tiles to the countertops. They glued and screwed 1/4" cement backerboard right over the old laminate, tiled the top and backsplash (directly onto the drywall), and used off-the-shelf crown molding stained to match the cabinets as edge trim.
Looks great and is easy to keep clean with a tiling contractor-suggested 1/3 ammonia and 2/3 water sprayer (Windex bottle) solution.
Should fit well under your budget.
Good Luck!

diy'er on LI 11-23-2009 12:35 PM

I am in a similar situation (but have a yellow formica counter that's in good shape). I have pretty much no more reno $, but would like to get rid of the yellow.

So, once I have about $500 and some time, I intend to go to lowes and get pre-fab formica counter tops and install them myself. I think that's the only option

I second the comment above. Don't trust the paint. don't put food directly on the counter until that pink is covered. It could have all sorts of toxins...

cabinetman 12-07-2009 11:44 AM

On some older homes or ones that were upgraded on the job, countertops may have been screwed down to the cabinets and then laminated with mica. That may be why you can't see any mechanical fasteners from underneath.

You could tile over the mica, but add 1/2" cement board (gets screwed down). Then use thinset.

pyper 12-07-2009 12:33 PM

My cabinets looked a lot like that. They were site-built.

The tops were nailed down to the cabinets, and then covered with formica.

It was easy to pry the tops off, becasue the nails just went down into the plywood cabinets.

From your description, maybe it's pink epoxy.

For a temporary fix you could just glue laminate over it and be done in a few hours for under $100 if you can get it all from one sheet.

Bud Cline 07-31-2010 03:02 PM

If the existing coating is as tough as you describe then it is likely some form of epoxy. It should be safe, ugly as sin but safe.

Doesn't matter! If you intend to use ceramic tile then YES the backerboard is the thing to do first. Glue it and screw it.

Formica is a brand name for laminate counter top material that's all. Basically all counter top laminates are the same thing but all laminates are not Formica brand. It's like Kleenex. Kleenex offers tissues but not all tissues are Kleenex.

Just to keep the record straight it is absolutely possible to install ceramic tile to laminate tops directly but backerboard is the better way to do it.

I would not however try to install ceramic to that pink-thing, if it is epoxy it isn't compatible with any of the tile adhesives except epoxy tile adhesive and you don't want to go there - trust me on that one.:)

Trying to re-laminate that top in-place over what is there is a very bad idea for DIY stay away from that thought.

It is most likely those counter tops are in fact site-built and can't be removed without running the risk of some damage to the cabinets. That vintage of cabinet is typical of also having site-built counter tops.:)

annie68164 05-09-2011 06:39 PM

I am waiting for a small amount of Envirotex clear coat because I am going to do a sample of Paper Illusions with the Envirotex coating to see how that would do on my old ugly counters. I can't afford (nor does my husband see any reason to replace them- they're "fine") to replace so have been thinking about painting, Paper Illusions etc. I'm thinking of trying paint first because if it ends up not working out I could then do the paper. Not sure what to do, have read mixed reviews.

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