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How To Renovate An Old Peeling Formica Laminate Desk Top

Wilsonart 1847k-46 On Desk CountertopA few years ago…I purchased a cheap desk from Office Depot. It was one of the prefab, ready-to-assemble (RTA) styles. As time passed, I began to notice that the key board slide-out was getting really ugly and worn. The actual desktop was also peeling away from the daily abuse. It was a cheap vinyl coating that was wearing out.

Wilsonart HD Bronze Eclipse 1847K-45 Video Review

As luck would have it, an old customer of mine hired me to renovate their Formica counter tops in their master bathroom. The Wilsonart HD laminate (refer to the video on this page for the HD color) they chose was only available in a five foot by twelve foot sheet. So, I ended up with a rather excessive amount of plastic laminate left over. It’s too bad the beveled edge counter top fabrication process didn’t yield any left overs.

One day, when my home based Internet business was a little slow, I decided to renovate my excessively worn desk top.

Tools And Materials Used:

High-Speed Router
Laminate Roller
Contact Adhesive (How To Apply Contact Glue)
Phillips Screwdriver
Contact Glue Remover
Block Sander With 50 Grit Coarse Sand Paper
Plastic Laminate Hand Slitter
File (How To File Formica Laminate)

Removing The Riser-The first thing I did was removed the second level of the desk top. It was attached with a couple of Phillips-head screws. There were also a few of the cam-fasteners that needed to be loosened.

Preparing The Edges-The laminate that was on the desk top edges was peeling away. It was that really cheap paper type of edge-banding material. I had to peel some of it off because it was too loose to work with. Then, I used the sanding block to rough up the edges in order for the glue to have a coarse surface to adhere to.

Cutting The Desk Top Formica To Size-For this step I used the tin-snips and the slitter. Formica should always be cut a little over size and then trimmed off with a high-speed router after it is adhered to the surface. Refer to this video: Cutting Formica Plastic Laminate . If you are working with larger sheets, you can cut the Formica using a table saw.

The edges get glued on first, routed, filed and sanded flush with the desktop. Review this article: Plastic Laminate Countertop Recovering Instructions

Once you have finished the desktop laminating, clean all of the surfaces really good using lacquer thinner and a clean rag. Wait for a couple of days and then file all of the edges of the countertop again. Formica has a tendency to grow a little after a couple of days have past.

  1. July 22nd, 2011 at 15:24 | #1

    Pay attention to the finish on the laminate you choose. You may want to steer clear of something like Formica’s honed finish (I think there’s a -77 at the end of the color number) because these wear out funny. A customer of mine just came in complaining that he’s starting to see white areas in his kitchen. This is where he and his wife are wearing through the color layer, on the high spots of the laminate. There is a general store near me that’s had theirs installed for a little over a year now; I can fell things getting smooth already at the cash register area.

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