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Old 04-15-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Installing Laminate Countertops

We are in the process of replacing our kitchen countertops. We have a small kitchen with an "L" shaped counter. Only one part of the "L" runs along a wall. The other end of the "L" serves as a "breakfast bar" and is open on both sides. Our house is about 15 years old, and the walls are pretty straight.

We had our lumber yard come out and professionally measure the counters, and had everything ordered with the end caps installed, etc (laminate tops). They want $325 to do the install. I'm fairly handy, and have done many improvement projects, but have never done countertops. The biggest factor is, I don't have a belt sander.

My question is, what are my chances of getting by without using a belt sander being the counter runs along 1 wall, and the other end is open? I want to have a nice looking finished product, and don't want something cobbled. Any pointers or comments would be appreciated!
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:58 PM   #2
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for $325 I wouldn't have to think about it, I'd let them do it

"You get what you pay for, and sometimes free costs more!"
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:43 AM   #3
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I'd save the $ and try it yourself. Best way to learn is to do. Plus if you end up needing a belt sander just buy one!
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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I'd also suggest doing it yourself.
Why pass up the chance to buy a new tool.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:38 AM   #5
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If you are going to do the install, the belt sander may or may not be necessary. If you have and open L like you described, with a helper, set it in place carefully and do a test fit. Did you get a top with separate backsplashes? If so, much easier to hide a wall that has a few ripples. The one critical thing though is cutting out the sink hole. If you are cutting it, you can get jigsaw blades (don't use a sawzall) that have teeth configured to cut on the downstroke instead of the upstroke. I always run some blue painters tape where the cutout is going to be and draw my line on the tape. Drill four holes, one in each corner with a spade bit with the spur tips, 1/2" or 3/4" works well. Cut between holes to connect the dots. But be careful when it is almost cut out. Have someone support the cutout from below so it doesn't snap off right before you complete the cut. Be careful with your screw lengths when you go to fasten it down. Don't want them poking through. Make sure you measure your sink cutout 2 or 3 times to doublecheck. Once you cut it in the wrong place, you're screwed.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:45 AM   #6
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I would do it myself and spend 325 in new tools, this has been my justification for new tools my whole life. I rarely "save" money doing repairs myself, I just chose to spend that money on new tools instead of someone else's pockets.
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