Laminate is a durable and cheap countertop surface that has various colors and styles. Whether constructing desktop work surface or kitchen cabinet, plastic laminate is easy to build if you’ll use the proper materials and tools. Below are steps and guides on how to put laminate on countertops.
- Things you need to put laminate on countertops. You need sandpaper, shop vacuum, tape measure, laminate, contact cement, utility knife, J-roller, router with laminate bit, masking tape, and wooden dowels.
- Plan your project carefully. Write and draw your ideas on a graphing paper. Make notes about the project so you can trace out ideas easily.
- Select a finish and type for your material. You have limitless choices, from stone motifs to realistic wood to solid colors. All the materials have glossy and smooth, or textured and embossed finishes. Decide on your preferred finish and type two weeks before you’ll do your project so you have time to prepare if there’s a sudden change of preference.
- Choose your preferred material where you’ll attach your laminate. MDF or medium density fiberboard and plywood are ordinary materials for laminated substrate. Each option has its disadvantages and advantages.
Here are some tidbits among the two to help you decide. Plywood is much durable and lighter than fiberboard. You can buy it in various thicknesses, from ¼-inch to ¾-inch. Its sheets are usually sized at 4 X 8 foot. Make special order from your local supplier if you need longer sheets. Plywood that has exterior glue has more resistance to moisture.
On the other hand, MDF boards are less prone to deformation because it doesn’t have directional grain. Its surface is denser so it absorbs glue better than plywood. The glue won’t quickly dry as well. Fiberboards are usually cheaper than sanded hardwood plywood.
- Select a plastic laminate type. Make a research for the most affordable brand with the highest quality material. Plastic laminate sheets come from 49-60 inches X 12 feet. However, you can purchase cut it to suit your needs.
- Match the plastic laminate to your preferred contact cement. To save time, prefer laminate that has thermoset glue applied already at the sheet’s back.
- Buy paint roller or disposable paintbrushes. The paint roller must have a close nap so you can spread the glue easily.
- Assemble your materials. Cut the plywood or MDF. Make it slightly bigger if you’ll create a fit project so you can scribe and trim it to fit. It’s important if you’re fitting it against two walls or an abutting wall for you may not achieve a 90º angle.
- Rip a plywood strip. It must be 2-inches wide. Ensure that the edges are flush and square. Sand it if necessary to achieve perfect fit.
- Cut your laminate. Allow 1/4-1/2 inch overlap so you can trim it for adjustment.
- Lay the plywood on a sawhorses set. Then, position the laminate cut sheet on your workbench, bottom up. Apply the glue. Be careful so the laminate and plywood will be kept clean.
- Brush or roll contact cement on the laminate and the plywood’s back. Be careful because excess glue may cause a bump or dimple on the polished surface.
- Let the adhesive dry until the moist and gloss appearance disappear. Lift your laminate carefully and put it over the plywood. Align it carefully.
- Press your laminate’s surface with a soft cloth. Work from center outwards to prevent bubbles and buckles from forming.
- Cut laminate pieces for the edge band. Then, glue them on every exposed edge. Apply cement on the plywood’s edges and the laminate’s back. Let it thoroughly dry.
Use a router that has a laminate trimming bit so you can excess laminate. Clean up glue spots before fitting your countertop in the proper position.