How to finish unfinished edge of laminate countertop?

emily_mbAugust 1, 2009

Will remodel in a year or 2, for the time being, I want to open the kitchen to the dining. What to do with the unfinished edge of the laminate (?) countertop?? I see IKEA has strips. Anything else that might work?

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I don't know how handy you are or what the current status of your countertop is, but it does sound like you're thinking about installing a Formica countertop and would like something nice to edge it. It that is the way of it, the solution is really rather simple.

I won't tell you about the steps for installing the Formica itself, as I will assume that you already have that knowledge, except to say that it is really not as difficult as it seems to be from the outside looking in. It is one of the easier things I have learned in woodworking, to be honest about it.

The way to get a nice edge treatment is to apply it to the countertop substrate before you glue down the Formica. I would choose a wood that matched my cabinets. If you have, say, ¾" particleboard for a substrate, you simply glue the wood of your choice to the outside edges of your substrate. Typically, that wood should be 1½" wide, thereby giving the illusion of a countertop that thick. You can miter the corners, but I have found that what works better and easier is to use wood that is 1" thick, as opposed to the usual ¾". You can then simply use butt joints for the edges of your wood trim. I do it in such a way that the joint is NOT on the side that will face out when the counter is installed. Make your joints on the sides.

Next, I would make a template that has a 1" radius for a corner and put rounded corners on all of the corners that will face out. Obviously, where it butts to the wall, you want it to stay as straight corners. The easier way to round those corners, once you have the template, is to clamp the template in place, use a hand saw to cut across the corner to remove most of the waste, then finish up with a straight trim bit in a router.

At this point you can install your Formica.

Once you have finished installing the Formica, you can then put a nice profile on the countertop, making sure to cut through the Formica just a little. What works particularly well in that regard is to use a roundover bit and cut it deeply enough that it creates a shoulder. The Formica is then on a "shelf," so to speak, just above where the round starts for the profile on the edge. The other bit I like for this purpose is a simple 60º bevel bit. On this one, you simply cut through until you are happy with the resulting profile.

After that, you would finish the wood the same as you would the wood in your cabinets. It is really not that difficult to do, and as I say, it makes a truly dramatic edge treatment for a Formica countertop. It makes it look like the countertop is solid whatever wood you choose for your edging, and it finishes the edge wonderfully.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet & Furniture Trends & Information

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Wow! Joseph7505. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:39AM
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