How to Install Countertops That are Made From Laminate

There are many kitchen counter top materials available when thinking about remodeling your kitchen: wood, ceramic tile and stone, for instance. Each of these materials comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of these advantages include the material’s durability and reasonableness of cost. Other materials can be scorched when coming in contact with a hot pot or pan or can be quite expensive to purchase.

Probably the least expensive countertop product on the market is that product made from a laminate. A laminate is a thin countertop material that is made of plastic and simply glued down over a piece of plywood or particleboard.

A laminate is very vulnerable to heat and if a hot pot or pan is placed on this material a resulting burn mark will materialize. A laminate is also susceptible to knife marks caused when cutting a food product on the surface of the laminate.

However being a pliable material and easily molded, laminate can be easily installed by a knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer. How to install countertops made from laminate can be accomplished in three steps.

Preparation

How to install countertops begins with preparation. Generally, particle board and plywood is used as the surface that the laminate will be applied to. In order for the laminate to obtain a good seal with the counter top, the surface of the countertop should be free of any substances. Therefore, the plywood or particle board should be sanded and cleaned.

The second step in how to install countertops is the securing of the laminated sheets. The recommended thickness of the laminate should be 1/16” in depth.

Cutting the Material

The second step in the how to install countertops process involves the cutting of the laminate to be applied. The cutting of the material can be accomplished with various saws. In addition there are specialty blades designed to work with utility knives.

A few tips on cutting include the use of regular masking tape. Laying down a strip of this tape, corresponding to the cutting line, will help to prevent possible chipping. Also, it is best to cut the laminate, when using a power saw, with the surface side facing downwards, as this will also help minimize chipping. When non-power cutting tools are used the laminate should be face up and cut at a low angle.

When using a utility knife, a helpful technique is the use of a ruler or other device that will provide a solid guide in cutting. If using a utility knife simply run the blade down the cutting line of the laminate. When you have scored the laminate, simply detached the piece needed by applying a modest amount of pressure upwards.

Gluing the Laminate

The third step in how to install countertops is applying the adhesive. The best adhesive to use is a contact cement product. Also remember that before application, the larger grain sandpaper should be used to grade the counter top to be covered. Following this process the surface should be cleaned of all dust and particles.

The next step is the application of the contact cement. The cement should be applied to the back of the cleaned laminate sheet and the counter top that the laminate will be applied. The application of the cement can be accomplished with a brush. When the cement feels dry to the touch you are now ready to apply the laminate.

The placing of the laminate on to the counter top is an important step in the how to install countertops process. Because the first contact is critical in obtaining the maximum adhesion, it is very important to make sure the laminate and the counter top are perfectly aligned. Using ¼” wooden dowels and at set intervals may prove to be helpful when properly lining up the laminate to the countertop.

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