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Old 30-04-2009, 06:51   #1
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replacing galley counter top

Has anyone had to replace their laminate on the galley counter top? I noticed the Formica or whatever they used to cover the counter top beginning to curl up in places last year. Of course, I ignored it and of course, it progressively got worse.

This past weekend I finally took out my tool box and after removing the galley sink, easily removed all of the laminate with a wood chisel. I now have a relatively clean plywood surface where my nice counter top used to be.

I figure Home Depot or Lowe's will have the laminate (at least I hope they do), but I'm a little hazy on how to do the cutouts for sink and top loading refrigerator/Freezer. I do have a router with a counter top laminate bit ... but it seems to me that contact cement might come unglued pretty easy if I use a couple of horse power router in these openings. The counter top is 18" x 5 feet.

Looking for advice from folks who have been there and done that or a url to a project page.

Thanks
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Old 30-04-2009, 07:25   #2
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The Home Depot

They no longer carry the counter top laminate. 5 to 10 pieces were broken daily.....heavy handed customers. Don't know about Lowes.
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Old 30-04-2009, 07:35   #3
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Should not be a problem. If worried aboutusing a router, just rent a laminate trimmer for an hour.
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Old 30-04-2009, 07:44   #4
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A router works fine. A sharp bit puts very little load on your adhesive.

George
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Old 30-04-2009, 10:01   #5
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laminate is very fragile, how will you cut the outside perimeter... or do you have the fiddle off also? Might be worth making a template and getting a cabinet shop to cut it to size? I had that same problem on one of my boats and ended up getting a tile man who did the whole counter in tile for $250... seemed well worth it as it improved the look of the boat also......
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Old 30-04-2009, 10:02   #6
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Might want to consider upgrading your counters. You can buy Corian or similar pretty cheap here: SolidSurface.com - Everything Solid Surface With a router and your old countertop as a guide, you can make new counters almost as easily as with laminate. This is DEFINATELY in our plans. BTW, it DOES make a big mess. Just so you know!
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Old 30-04-2009, 10:47   #7
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Originally Posted by Sunspot Baby View Post
A router works fine. A sharp bit puts very little load on your adhesive.

George
I have a brand new bit I've never used. It has a bearing and everything. It came with a set of router bits I bought some years ago.

George if you say it will work... I'll give it a try.

Any ideas who carries this laminate stuff? Reading the replies, apparently the home improvement centers are not the place to go.
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Old 30-04-2009, 10:52   #8
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Might want to consider upgrading your counters. You can buy Corian or similar pretty cheap here: SolidSurface.com - Everything Solid Surface With a router and your old countertop as a guide, you can make new counters almost as easily as with laminate. This is DEFINATELY in our plans. BTW, it DOES make a big mess. Just so you know!
The admiral suggested this as well. I'm trying to keep this a 'minor' project' as opposed to tearing the galley apart. The plywood surface the laminate was glued to is still firmly installed. It will be a real project to remove it as it forms the top of my fridge.

I might have mentioned the boat has a top loading fridge/freezer. It would be a real project to fit Corian around the access door and still have a seal. Not impossible but more time than I want to spend on this.
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Old 30-04-2009, 10:58   #9
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laminate is very fragile, how will you cut the outside perimeter... or do you have the fiddle off also? Might be worth making a template and getting a cabinet shop to cut it to size? I had that same problem on one of my boats and ended up getting a tile man who did the whole counter in tile for $250... seemed well worth it as it improved the look of the boat also......

Nah, I have a woodworking shop in my garage, with all the bells and whistles. This seems like a Saturday morning project. It's not like I'm dropping the mast!!

I don't believe cutting the laminate is going to present a problem as you use a straight edge and a razor blade for the thin stuff. the thicker stuff I could cut on my band saw.

Did that boat have a top loading fridge? How did he tile around the fridge door?
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Old 30-04-2009, 11:01   #10
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try a cabinet or...

countertop shop. They may have some pieces left over (drops) that they will sell cheap. During college, I worked summers in a cabinet shop building countertops. We used Formica brand laminate and I would do the initial cuts with a table saw, good surface side down with no chipping or breaking. Next step was to brush contact cement on the plywood base and on the Formica, let it dry,then press the surfaces together and use clamps and weights during the curing process. Next, route the edges of the horizontal surfaces, then install the vertical edges. Use a file to clean up the edges, works great. Sink cutouts were the last thing done. Drill a hole for a place to start the router bit and let it follow the sink cutout in the plywood base. Use a regular hole saw for the faucet holes.

Hope this helps.

Steve
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Old 30-04-2009, 11:20   #11
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We used Formica brand laminate and I would do the initial cuts with a table saw, good surface side down with no chipping or breaking. Next step was to brush contact cement on the plywood base and on the Formica, let it dry,then press the surfaces together and use clamps and weights during the curing process. Next, route the edges of the horizontal surfaces, then install the vertical edges. Use a file to clean up the edges, works great. Sink cutouts were the last thing done. Drill a hole for a place to start the router bit and let it follow the sink cutout in the plywood base. Use a regular hole saw for the faucet holes
Thanks for confirming the process steps. Any idea on where to buy the Formica? Someone posted that the home improvement stores don't carry it any longer.
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Old 30-04-2009, 11:28   #12
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Thanks for confirming the process steps. Any idea on where to buy the Formica? Someone posted that the home improvement stores don't carry it any longer.

Lowes' web site seems to indicate that they sell Formica. Bear in mind that Lowes does show products available locally, you have to tell them a zip code before you shop so what is available near me might not be available near you. And Home Depot is listed as a dealer when you go to Formica's website Formica Corporation - North America

Might be a good place to start.
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Old 30-04-2009, 12:08   #13
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Thanks Frank, I will
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Old 30-04-2009, 12:25   #14
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For small jobs like on a boat just use utility knife to score and cut the laminate. If your boat is like most, you will want to cut the laminate very carefully and make sure it fits. Then apply contact cement to the existing plywood and to the back of the laminate. Let dry for a few minutes. Then put down some plastic (good use of those plastic grocery bags.) Make sure to have the plastic overhang the edge of the counter. Then position the laminate. Carefully slide out the plastic without letting the laminate move. Use a rolling pin or whatever you have to make sure the laminate is stuck down. Then cut your holes and trim the edge. It really is a piece of cake.

Every kitchen and bath shop sell laminate. They just don't stock it. HD and Lowes used to stock a couple of really tacky styles, but maybe they don't anymore. Get what you want. It usually only takes a day to get the product.
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Old 30-04-2009, 12:26   #15
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I've worked with laminate for years and I agree with Steve W about getting a scrap from a cabinet shop. Post-forming is the right grade (thickness) also some colors or styles have the print very thin and are easily scratched so ask advice as to which are more durable(scratch resistant).
Have it cut a little large so you can scribe it into the bulkheads. Also ask the cabinet shop for some of their contact cement, they'll have the good stuff as there's a wide range in quality in contact cement. If good contact cement was used in the first place the original laminate would not have delaminated. Brush or roll the cement on, let it dry to where it is tacky to touch (not wet), then carefully place it in position (once the surfaces touch there's no adjusting placement). No clamping is necessary as was recommended in a previous post.
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