Do it Yourself: How to Install Laminate Countertops on an Existing Countertop

If your countertop is in need of an upgrade but you don’t want to spend the money to replace it, consider laminating the surface. This is an easy way to refinish a laminate countertop or cover an undesirable top.

To get an idea of your color and pattern options, go to a home improvement center. They should sell a wide variety of laminate sheets and laminate edging to complete the job. You should also purchase contact cement and a laminate bit for a router for this project.

Begin by sanding the top of the old countertop. Your goal is to remove the top layer, allowing the new material to adhere to the old counter. After the area has been sanded, vacuum thoroughly to remove any dust. Then use a soft rag to remove any residue.

To install the new laminate, begin buy applying the edging. Put contact cement on the vertical edge of the counter as well as on the edging. When the cement has dried enough to be tacky, carefully install the edging on the side of the countertop.

Using a rolling pin or thick dowel, press out any air bubbles. Trim any excess from the corners with a router fitted with the laminate bit. After they are trimmed, use painters tape to cover them and protect them from the remaining steps of the install.

Measure your countertops and mark the laminate sheet to that size with a inch extra allowance. You will trim the excess after the install is complete. To cut the sheets to size to begin the top install, it is easiest to use a sharp utility knife and a straightedge to score the material. Then you can carefully bend the sheet until it snaps. You can also use snips to cut it if you prefer.

To adhere the material to the counter, place contact cement on the countertop as well as the sheet. Then follow the same procedure you used to apply the edging. Work from one edge to the other, it is very helpful to have a partner for this step.

Use your roller to remove any air bubbles. It is important to be very thorough in removing any air bubbles; these bubbles can cause the laminate to crack and the bond to become weak. Work carefully side to side to make sure you cover all areas.

Then trim the top of the countertop with the router using the same method you used to trim the edging. After edges have been trimmed, clean your new surface with a damp cloth and remove the tape from the edge of the countertop.

A new laminate install on an existing counter is an excellent way to change the overall look of your kitchen without the expense or work of replacing the countertop. A professional can also do the job if you are short on time or do not have the tools to complete the install.

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