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Process of Resurfacing Kitchen Countertop With Plastic Laminate

January 29th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you follow this process when resurfacing your bathroom or kitchen countertop with Formica plastic laminate things should go smoothly. You are going to need a belt sander, block sander, router, trim bit for the router, and a file. Other things will be required such as a straight edge (for cutting laminate), various clamps, contact glue, cleanser to remove excess glue with, colored caulking and a mixed assortment of hand tools. A mica plastic laminate roller is needed and cleaning rags.

  • Tip: You do not need to strip the old Formica off first. If there are any loose areas, glue them before adhering the new laminate to the old surface.



Re-laminating countertops is going to be a very dusty and dirty job. If you have a shop vacuum, this will help keep the dust particles under control. Use it after every recovering operation. If you do not you may end up with chips in the glue or on the laminate that will cause major problems.

  • Tip: Before you glue anything or stick two pieces together, always make sure that there are not any chips of plastic laminate in the glue or on the surface. If left unattended to they will leave an undesirable hump in the finished product.

Read these articles before beginning:
How to Apply Formica Contact Glue
Materials Needed For Recovering Cabinets

Plastic Laminate Countertop Recovering Instructions

All About Cabinet Refacing

How to File Countertop Plastic Laminate

Before starting to glue the new materials to the existing counter, fit all pieces to the humps and dips in the countertop. This is called scribing the laminate. You must eliminate all voids. It is not acceptable to have large areas where caulking is used. Fit the laminate very nicely to the existing pieces. It’s a time consuming process but well worth the effort.

How to Recover a Plastic Laminate Counter Top

1) Cover appliances and flooring with protective materials.

2) Measure the countertop area and determine the laminate sizes that you will need. Refer to this article to understand more about available Formica laminate sheet sizes.

3) Order the materials for recovering the old plastic kitchen tops with.
4) Cut the sheets using the straight edge, tin snips, table saw or hand slitter. Be sure to cut every thing oversized. The standard is one inch bigger for the decking and about one half inch larger for the countertop edging and backsplash mica.

5) Clean all surfaces really well with lacquer thinner to remove all grease deposits.

6) Sand all surfaces with fifty grit sand paper using the belt sander and block sander.

7) Glue the countertop edges on first. Roll the edge or use a hammer and a block of wood and pound on the Formica edge to bind the two surfaces together. Using the router remove the overhanging laminate.

8) Sand the flat surface of the top with a belt sander (50 grit) and file the underside of the edge so that it is not sharp.

9) Glue the top surface next. After you roll the laminate use wax, soap or oil (never on areas where you will be applying glue) along the edge where the router bit will ride to cut off the excess laminate.

10) File the edges.

11) Adhere the back splash-face pieces, route and file.

12) Glue the back-splash top caps, route off the access and file flush.

After resurfacing the kitchen or bathroom vanity countertops, clean everything really well with the lacquer thinner. Fill all void areas with caulking. You can find colored countertop caulk at your local cabinet supply company. That completes the process very nicely when you take the time to get the correct colored filler. I’ve seen many plastic laminate resurfacing jobs that looked horrible because the installer used white caulk on off white or darker colored kitchen or bathroom plastic laminate tops.

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