New countertop installed over old?

bobomcdoJanuary 12, 2008

We live in an old house, with an old, worn formica countertop that is in need of replacement. I would love to have a stainless steel top "wrapped" around the existing top, to avoid tearing out the old countertop. (a contractor who was here yesterday remarked that this old countertop would be "very expensive" to tear out...) I read in a home journal that a homeowner had found a stainless steel pro who "wrapped" her countertop with steel sheeting. Does anyone know if this works for us real life folks, or just them millionaires? :-) We're having the existing (metal) cabinets electrostatically painted. Painter says new counter should be in before painting happens. Thanks for your input!! Is it better just to have the old one ripped out and a new one installed?

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I personally think the best part about re-doing a kitchen is tearing out the old stuff! It's pretty cathartic and very easy to do. We tore out our old formica counters ourselves, and it took less than an hour to do. They weren't all that heavy, and my husband and I were the only ones doing the demo. It felt so good to see those counters go.

Is there something special/unique about your counter that caused the contractor to think it would be expensive to remove?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 10:27AM
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I'm not sure, I wish I had asked him. He said, "these were built and installed here, on site, so they will be more $$$ to remove." I don't know how he knew this, frankly. The counter and cabinets are circa 1940, we're estimating. The house was built in 1915. The counters have stainless edges, I wish they were all stainless! Alas...I think you're right, I need to get to a kitchen shop and talk to someone about a new countertop. Incidentally, did you and your mate remove the sink yourselves, when you tore out the old countertop? Plumbers, we're not! Would an installer do the sink part, if we hire an installer, or do we need a plumber as well? (I can tear stuff out, I'm not afraid of hard work. In fact, today I'm tearing out one wall of the metal cabinets. We want to put a wall of open shelves there instead.) Thanks!!!!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 3:59PM
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I know you are interested in stainless counters, but I heard of "Granite Transformations"-- where granite is installed over existing counters..... maybe there is something similar in stainless.

I, too, would opt for new counters. BUT, maybe tearing out the old counters will disrupt the cabinets (that may be where the contractor saw the added expense).... I'd call the guy and ask him why he thought it was going to be so pricey.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Fori is not pleased

What about new cool Formica over the old, and putting the metal strip back on? I think it's great you're refurbishing the metal cabs, and I certainly love SS counters myself...

Get some quotes on going with all new counters. It might be more sensible than you think!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 7:18PM
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I love the idea of still using Formica w/ a metal strip. I also think stainless would be great on the counters.

Get into one of the base cabinets with a flashlight and see if you can determine how the existing counter is attached to the cabinets. With ours, we just unscrewed the counters and took them off. We turned off the water, disconnected the sink pipe, and the sink came out right with the countertop.

It sounds as if you will be making such a lovely transformation while keeping the history and flavor of your kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 7:43PM
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Wow, you guys sure are nice! I've been feeling poor, since we cannot afford to gut and re-do the entire kitchen, so it's fantastic to hear such reassuring comments about working with what I have. I thought I'd post a photo of where I'm starting. Click image to enlarge.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Here is a better image, click to enlarge.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:53AM
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Hello, bobomcdo!

I sure hope you can share the solution to your dilemma. We just submitted an offer on a house with metal kitchen cabinets! I don't want to get rid of them! They are cool! AND there are many of them. All the bottom / base cabinets have cool drawers or built-in drawers behind the doors! Special dividing sections. Some upper cabinets have adjustable shelving. One upper cabinet has built in flour and sugar sifters that slide out. Also, there is a new stainless steel 5-burner gas stove installed between the cabinets that fits perfectly! I normally would remove a free-standing, build up for a cooktop and build for built-in ovens separately, but this one has changed my mind.

Our issue? The same as you described! It looks like there is no way to replace the countertops separately. They are really ugly, but additionally, the area behind the sink is damaged and must be replaced. Our countertops look identical to yours, to include built-in section of stainless on either side of the stovetop, the stainless being flush with the formica. We also have the metal all around the countertops! And where the counter meets the wall...and at the top of the formica backspash. The only difference is that the formica backspash extends all the way up! to the bottom of the upper cabinets. What did you end up doing? I so hope you reply. It is difficult to search this specific type of issue! I've tried!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 6:44PM
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If you want to reuse a metal strip, you could install a thin stainless sheet right over the old formica and re-install the edging.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:29PM
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