DIY sheet Formica on waterfall-edge countertop?

mtnfeverJanuary 20, 2011

I LOVE the new Formica 180fx laminates BUT...Does anyone know if putting Formica sheet laminate over an existing waterfall-edge Formica countertop can be done as DIY? (I have searched diligently!) Maybe live wire oak??

The Formica site talks about 'postform' sheet laminate as bendable at 350 degrees or so... for 'professional postforming equipment' which certainly sounds discouraging for DIY. But, I'm nothing if not persistent (aka stubborn) would a heat gun really set the contact cement and my kitchen on fire??...

I found about 180fx here at the kitchens forum-- special thanks to florantha and rhome410 for their posts on the topic!-- and got wild dreams of upgrading my blah but great condition 30-yr old almond laminate countertops as DIY for not much money. Upgrading to just another solid/speckled color of laminate isn't worth the effort and the solid surfaces (stone etc) aren't worth the cost to me but the 180fx seems juuust right, to quote Goldilocks.

any ideas other than concocting experiments in the driveway?


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I'm sorry that I don't have a pic but oops, I should have at least included a description of the edge. The "waterfall edge" is rounded where the horizontal countertop surface transitions to the vertical countertop front edge surface. I believe this is also called a "demi-bullnose" in granite-speak.

And yes, "waterfall" is a very accurate description when I spill water on the countertop!

thanks again

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 2:05PM
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I was told by two countertop companies that you need professional equipment to do any kind of curved edge, IOW it is not for the DIY person.

I have laminate countertops with wood edging. When I was pricing new laminate countertops, I got prices all over the board. I had considered just relaminating the countertops (leaving the wood edge) but I had one company tell me that it would cost more than installed new counters (with new substrate) b/c of the labor involved.

So I don't mean to sound discouraging but it doesn't sound like relaminating the waterfall counters would be a great project. I am still trying to decide what to do for my own kitchen. I may do laminate on the perimeter and granite/quartz on the island.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 4:25PM
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Thanks for your response, chocolatebunny, and you're right, unfortunately, it's discouraging :) . well, maybe I'll think more about a square edge which is DIY. or, at least, read up on the flammability/volatility of contact cement :) .

please give an update on how it goes if you decide to go with some laminate in your kitchen!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 4:57PM
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Maybe I'm reading things that you didn't say or even on a different page than you are BUT can't you trim the edge off, apply your new Formica and then add a wood edge to it? My bathroom counters were made right here in the house and a wood edge added to them then sanded. You could stain the wood to match or contrast.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:13PM
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The "professional postforming equipment" is big enough to heat the entire edge quickly to the correct temperature, and has a hydraulic press to bend it exactly to the shape of the press.

It's not at all DIY.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Like others have said, you want a rounded corner, it needs to be done professionally.

There are lots of edges you can do DIY - we planned on putting a strip of oak as an edge on ours.

To do a good job with laminate edges, you should be proficient with a router, and make sure you get bits to be used with laminate.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 8:49AM
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thanks pinchme, lazygardens, and macybaby-- gardenwebbers give the best help!!

yeah...I'd love to keep the rounded edge for ease of cleanup so I need to decide if it's worth the cost of professional build (since I certainly don't have the 12' postform machine hanging around...) and installation, and if I have that kind of money.

Or, I can keep it DIY by changing the edge to a straight-edge wood or laminate or something. thanks too, macybaby, for the tips for working with laminate!

luckily for the decision-challenged me, I have a bit of time to think about it while we do our guest bath remodel, but now I have the info I need.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 1:55PM
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