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How To Build Formica Countertops

March 11th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

How To Fabricate A Formica Countertop
I am a professional countertop fabricator. This article will teach you how to build a Formica laminate countertop for your kitchen or bathroom. The tutorial video below demonstrates the process of adhering the decking perfectly. If you want to add a beveled edge to your Formica top, the video below will teach you how as well.
Instructional Video For Laminating Countertops

Measure the area and draw a top view of the tops you will be building. Refer to this article for selecting Formica Plastic Laminate Sheet Sizes.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Table saw
  • Skill Saw
  • Saw Horses
  • High-Speed Router
  • Jig Saw
  • Laminate File
  • Contact Adhesive For Countertops
  • Router Trim Bits
  • Dowel Rods
  • Laminate J-roller
  • Paint Roller, Pan and Brush
  • Lacquer Thinner
  • Plywood or Particleboard
  • Belt Sander
  • 40 Grit Sanding Belts

Go here: Tools Needed For Applying Formica

Countertop Depths
A kitchen countertop is usually twenty five and one quarter inches (25-1/4″) deep. The standard vanity top is twenty two and a quarter inches (22-1/4″) deep. In any case, they should overhang the face of the cupboard by one and a quarter inches, over the door by one half inch (1/2″). Countertops are usually pulled off of the wall one quarters if an inch unless there’s going to be a tile backslash. So only cut the deck 25″ for kitchen and 22″ for vanities.

Sink Hole
Cutting the sink hole in a Formica top can be done before or after the laminate is applied. Most professionals prefer to cut it after the lamination is complete and just prior to installing the sink top. Just remember that once you make the cutout that the deck becomes very weak. One wrong twist could cause the top to break.  Refer to this article on How To Cut A Sink Hole In Formica Countertop.

How To Make Plastic Laminate Countertops

  1. Cut your plywood or particleboard patterns to the desired size and build them up to one and a half inches (1-1/2″) thick. The build-up pieces should be added to the front edge and also the back of the plywood or particleboard decking. The front strips should be one and three quarters (1-3/4″) wide and the back pieces can be one inch (1″) wide .
  2. Cut your Formica countertop laminate to size using a router or table saw.
  3. Glue and stick the edges first and route them off. Refer to this article on How To Apply Contact Glue.
  4. Sand both sides of the top with a belt sander using forty grit sandpaper.
  5. File the Formica edges on the corners of the finished ends. Also, file the bottom edge to dull the sharpness. Do not file the top edge of the top. It must remain perfectly flat.
  6. Apply the contact glue adhesive to both the wood and the large decking pieces of Formica. Allow the two surfaces to get tacky. Refer to this article on How To Apply Contact Glue.
  7. Place the dowel rods on the plywood or particle board top and lay the plastic laminate on top.
  8. Adjust the laminate so that it overhangs the edges of the counter on all sides.
  9. Pull the dowel rods out, starting from the center of the top.
  10. Roll the Formica down firmly with the J-roller.
  11. Apply wax or some form of lubricant to the finished edges to protect it from getting damaged when you run the router over the surface. Refer to this video on Important Formica Laminating Tips.
  12. File the Formica laminate edges.
  13. Clean the contact adhesive off with Lacquer thinner. Refer to this article: How To Clean Contact Glue Off Formica

You should refer to all of the links I’ve included in this article because they are videos that demonstrate how to do various things when you are making a Formica countertop. The clip I have placed on this page is an excellent movie if you are only making a top that has a beveled edge.

Making Radius Corner On Formica Top

If you are making laminate backsplashes to go with your top, the standard size ranges from three and a half inches (3-1/2″) to four and a half inches (4-1/2″) in height. They should be fabricated out of three quarters inch (3/4″) thick pine or plywood.

Go here for: Creative Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Mica backsplashes can be screwed directly to the top or installed separate by applying liquid nail to the walls.

For handling large sheets of plastic laminate, it’s a good idea to have help when you make your Formica countertops. Kitchen tops can be large, awkward and difficult to handle for an amateur.

When making Formica countertops, you can plan on spending the largest amount of your investment on the laminate. If you purchase the material directly from a local cabinet or countertop manufacture, you will get a better price than getting it from Home Depot.

The best way to learn how to build a Formica countertop is going to be through watching someone. If you have a friend who knows how to do this ask them for their help.

You could also consider hiring someone to help you build and teach you how to laminate a Formica countertop. It may cost a few dollars, but it would be worth the investment.

Routing Formica

Categories: Making Counter Tops
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