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Installing Laminate on Your Counter Tops

Apr 15, 2008
How to prepare the surface for the laminate

I recommend that you use laminate plastic sheets which are 1/16" thick when used on horizontal work surfaces. If you are using it to cover vertical surfaces then you should use thicker plastic perhaps as thick as 1/32" thick.

You should make sure that you clean the surface before you are ready to install the laminate. Remove anything which is on the surface such as paint or varnish. Clean the countertop using household cleaners to remove grease and grime. Most countertops which were purchased recently are made from high density particle board. Plywood bases are also suitable for using laminate plastic.

How to Cut the Laminate Plastic to Size

The plastic laminate material is actually fairly easy to cut, you can cut it with a utility knife, backsaw or even a circular saw depending on what you prefer. You should make sure you use a blade with fine teeth so that it doesn't cause rough cuts. Before cutting you should use masking take to protect the surface from chips.

When you are using a circular saw then you should make a point of cutting from the back of the laminate to the front. These types of saws will cut on the upstroke, by cutting from the back you will prevent causing chips and damaging the surface. When using hand saws you should cut from the front side but at a small angle.

You should always cut the sheets slightly bigger than you need and then trim them with a utility knife when you install them. This reduces the chance of wasting material.

Fitting the laminate

The plastic laminate sheet can be applied using contact cement. You can also use epoxy adhesive however I would suggest using contact cements where possible.

You should roughen the surface by using rough sandpaper, and then clean away the dust using a brush or compressed air.

When laying the sheets you should be very careful to get it right first time. When using contact cement the bond will be strongest if you don't move it around a lot. You should make sure that everything is accurately located before the glue is touched.

When you are installing the laminate sheets to vertical surfaces it's normally fairly easy to stick the sheets without needing to use any wooden strips.

The Finishing Touches

When you have taken time to position the laminate correctly you should then remove the rods of dowel individually to stick the two pieces together.

Apply even pressure using a roller which will cause the laminate sheets to stick to the work surface. This will also remove any bubbles and ensure that the sheet is firmly fixed to your countertop. It's worthwhile spending time on this because it will help your worktop last much longer.

If you don't have a large enough piece of plastic laminate to cover the surface then you need to make a seam. This is fairly easy, you need to stick two pieces together, start by sticking the larger piece to the countertop and then add the other one.

To finish the edges you should use your router. First make sure that the blade is clean, also put tape on the base to protect your work surface.

Remove any extra adhesive using solvents, or simply nail polish remover if you wish.
About the Author
Ken Morris regularly produces news on news associated with kitchen cabinet islands. You can find his abstracts on kitchen island counter and kitchen cabinet islands on his site.
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