How Are Countertops Made
There are several different styles of kitchen and bathroom countertops. In this article, I will explain how the most popular countertops are made. The list will include Formica, Granite, Glass, Solid Surface and Concrete.
How Are Plastic Laminate Countertops Made?
Most Formica counters are fabricated using particleboard. The wood comes in rips that are twenty five inches and wide ready to be cross-cut for kitchen tops. The plastic is available in many different colors, patterns and finishes. There are many different sizes of plastic laminate sheets that fabricators can choose from.
Custom edges such as real wood, post-form and Formica beveled edges can be adhered to the tops. The material is glued on with contact cement, then routed, sanded and filed. Finally, lacquer thinner is used to clean glue off of Formica.
How Are Concrete Countertops Fabricated?
These tops are built in a designated factory. The field measuring representative is sent to the job site after the cupboards are installed. He then makes a template of how the tops need to be built out of thin slats of wood material. The pattern is then taken to the factory and forms are manufactured to match the templates. Concrete is then mixed and colors added. The cement is poured into the mold, vibrated to get all of the air bubbles out and then troweled. The tops can then be sealed.
How Are Granite Countertops Fabricated?
Granite gets extracted from mountains of stone, then sent to a factory where it is cut and polished. From there, slabs are color matched and delivered in sections that are ten feet long and five feet wide. Granite countertop manufactures order the color matched slabs and keep them in-stock for customers to select from.
The slabs are moved around with forklifts and large hoists mounted on wheels. Fabricators cut the material with diamond hard blades and router-bits. Once the edges are processed, they then get polished to match the finish of the slab.
How are Glass Countertops Fabricated?
Most glass countertops are fabricated out of recycled glass bottle chips. Think Glass has custom built ovens. The process starts with half inch pieces of glass being integrated together to build the proper thickness. Then the textures are created by hand which makes each one a unique piece of art. You can read more here: Facts About Glass Countertops
How Are Corian Countertops Made?
Solid surface countertop slabs are made form a specialized blend of plastics that are cut with saws and shaped with routers to create kitchen or bathroom countertops. The material is heated and poured into molds to make special sink bowl styles and shower stalls.
There are other types of countertops that get made from many different types of materials. Tile layers install squares over plywood sub-tops. Granite simulators develop slabs of fake marble out of concrete mixed with recycled glass chips which get cut, sanded and polished to look like the real thing.
To learn more about how countertops are made, I would recommend checking out a few Youtube videos. They have hundreds of clips that demonstrate how countetops for kitchens and bathrooms are made.
We sell something where I work called Nova Ply. It’s a bit bigger than 4′ x 8′ (an inch over I think) and is particleboard. You can get this and buy laminate in sheet form (comes in a few sizes, 5′ x 12′ being the biggest) to totally make your own countertops. I don’t know if Nova Ply is the correct name, or just what the folks at the lumber yard have been calling it for 50 years. I find there are quite a few products in the building industry with name problems like that…