If you are planning a major house remodeling work, then you must have definitely thought about installing a new kitchen countertop. No kitchen remodeling plan can be accomplished without provisions for a countertop. Countertops are an indispensable part of kitchen décor hence, they should be selected with great care. Laminate countertops can be a great choice for your kitchen, if you are looking for a beautiful, cheap and durable option. You can get unlimited colors and design patterns in laminate countertop sheets. Once you have settled for the pattern, design and color of the countertop, it is time to get them installed.
How to Install a Laminate Countertop
While installing laminate countertop may not be a tough task for seasoned do-it-yourselfers, you indeed need a fair amount precision and skill for this job. Following are the steps that will help you to install laminate countertops on your own.
Step 1: Preparing the Surface
You need not remove the existing laminate sheets to install the new ones. Removing old sheets is a time-consuming task and it may also damage the underlayment. Hence, keep the old laminate as it is, if it is intact. In case it is loose or damaged, you can fix some hardwood plywood over it, in order to prepare an even surface. Clear the surface stains, paint, varnishes etc., and make it clean. Rub it with sandpaper to make it rough, since adhesive works better for rough surfaces.
Step 2: Taking Measurements
Taking measurements before installing the laminate countertop is the trickiest part in the whole procedure. A small error in the calculation can lead to huge disappointment as your entire modeling work can go for a toss. Hence, take accurate measurements, especially around sink and utility openings. Check for the straightness of the wall, if you find dips or bows, make provision for the contours on the laminate sheet. Draw a proper sketch with all the measurements in place.
Step 3: Cutting Laminate Sheets
Once, you are ready with your sketch and accurate measurements, it is time to cut the laminate sheets according to the measurements. You can use any type of saw, like a circular saw, saber saw, hand saw or a utility knife to cut the laminate sheets. Cover the area to be cut with a masking tape, so as to prevent it from chipping. Draw a line, where the sheet is to be cut. Leave a margin of few centimeters to accommodate errors, if any.
Step 4: Pre-Installation Activities
Switch off all the kitchen appliances around the work area. Detach anything that is attached to the countertop. Close the water supply and the valves underneath. Remove the drain pipes and separate the sink from the countertop.
Step 5: Applying the Adhesive
Use a contact cement or any adhesive to stick the laminate to the countertop. Take a paintbrush and apply 1-2 layers of adhesive on the surface, as well as on the back of the laminate sheets. Allow the adhesive to dry properly. However, take care that it doesn't dry up too much, as this can weaken the bond.
Step 6: Installing the Sheets
The bonding strength of the adhesive is about 50 - 70% during the first contact. Hence, positioning of the sheets must be done with utmost care. Place some wood strips or dowel rods on the surface and place the large laminate sheet upon them. Adjust until you find the perfect position. Remove the wooden strips from below and press the sheet against the surface. Make sweeping movements so as to get rid of any bubbles or air gaps. Then exert equal pressure on the sheet, and smoothen it at the ends.
Step 7: Working up the Edges
You can cushion the edges with plastic or rubber moldings. If you wish, you can also cover them up with laminate pieces. Make sure the sheet seals the surface at all points.
Step 8: Rendering Finishing Touches
After the contact cement dries up, clean the laminate countertop with a cleaning agent. Trim the excess sheet and give a finishing touch to the countertop. Re-install all the utilities and fix the sink in its position.
This was all about how to install laminate kitchen countertops. Though the process is a bit lengthy and tedious, the end result will be definitely rewarding. Installing a laminate countertop yourself, will surely give you a sense of accomplishment.