Laminate over laminate on kitchen counter?

acw2355December 8, 2013

I'm getting new laminate on my kitchen counters. The old are "okay" not torn up or dinged but they are 20-odd-years old and in need of a face lift. So, for a variety of reasons, I'm going with a new laminate and plan to have a contractor do the work. This is just a straightforward counter, no special edges. My contractor came out, measured then sent me a bid and on the bid it stated that they would be laying new laminate over the old.

My understanding is that it is best to take off and then have the new laid on. I've emailed him asking about it and am waiting for the reply but wondered if any of you have laid new laminate over old? Just doesn't seem right to me.

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tbo123

I did that like 20 years ago. Still there. You'll be fine.
The key I think is a serious cleaning and a good sanding.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 6:50PM
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snoonyb

The general interpretation of a "laminate" in kitchen counters is that it is formica, and in their original configuration are referred as square edged. The field was a flat slab with a metal or formica edge band and the backsplash was a separate piece with a formica top band where it was trimmed to fit to the wall.

Which it sounds like what you have.

The modern form is called Bull-nose and back-cove and is a roll formed monolithic single piece.

Formica 2000 is a totally different product and is an alternative to corian.

As opposed to a GC, you mite find a formica fabricator on your area for an estimate.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Trebruchet

alygal:

I just turned this:

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Trebruchet

Into this:

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Trebruchet

Make sure your seams look like this:

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Trebruchet

To answer your question, no, it is not necessary to remove old laminate if the existing is stuck really well. It would be more cost effective to make new tops at a shop and install them than it would be to remove old laminate and recover.

Sanding the tops beforehand need only clean the surface and remove any gloss; deep belt sander marks are a waste of time.

I couldn't get any nonflammable contact cement and had to use flammable. Fortunately I'm in Florida, there were no pilot lights, and the doors could be wide open. Contact cement fumes are heavier than air and travel along the floor until they reach a point of ignition. Obviously this cannot be overemphasized, as well as the use of flammable solvents to clean brushes and dribbles. A fire extinguisher is a must-have.

If you're getting this done for around $25.00 per square foot, backsplashs included, you're about right.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Trebruchet

The first part of the trick to getting inconspicuous plastic laminate seams is to cut each butting piece simultaneously. Clamp both pieces about 1/4" apart and run a 1/2" double flute bit on a router between them guided by a clamped straightedge.

After the contact cement has "dried" (squeaky when you drag the back of your fingers over it) 1/4" dowels are laid every foot or so to allow the piece to be positioned without sticking.The second part of getting a tight seam is to stick the first 4" or so of the seamed edges together, leave a dowel, pull several dowels and stick the piece. Pull the dowel between the stuck sides and work the hump to flat toward the seam. Too much hump and you'll split the laminate, too little and your seam won't be as tight as it could be. It's exciting.

After the laminate is stuck and rolled you may have a bump somewhere. If so, you have to guess if it's just a glue goober or a chip contamination. With a plywood or MDF substrate, you can cover the hump with a board and whack it with a hammer to flatten it, no matter what it is, however, if it's a chip between new and old laminates, your new one is probably going to suffer badly. This is really exciting. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 11:04PM
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acw2355

Thanks for your thoughtful replies.
Snoonby, Yes it is square-edged as you say. I'm replacing for the same - no bull-nose edging. It will be self-edged.

Bid came in at $1420 which includes removal/replacement of sink and also to have 2x4 mini subway back-splash (basic white Dal-Tile) installed. We are moving appliances ourselves.

There are only two counters plus short ones either side of free standing electric range. This is a galley style kitchen - not a lot of counter space.

I feel the bid is fair, had another one for 1750 but they would remove old laminate, sand old base and set new laminate over that. I just didn't know what is best. If I can get 15 years out of the laminate I will be okay with that.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:31AM
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snoonyb

There are also some alternatives to the edging, as aesthetic enhancers, such as wood molding and splined trim.

"Trebruchet"

Has detailed the process, so you know whats coming.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:51PM
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lavender_lass

Wow! Those look great...how difficult was it to do? Anyone install their own? I only have small areas...no island or peninsula :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

You could do it, lavender. Check youtube. I'm sure there will be videos. Just remember the dowels or yardsticks or something on the contact cement that was applied to the counter before you lay the Formica on it. If the Formica touches before you are positioned you're SOL.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 6:44PM
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lavender_lass

Thanks, Lov_mkitchen! :)

I remember seeing something like that on This Old House...years ago. The dowels seemed to be a big deal! LOL Bob and Norm had to lay the new surface down three times (I think) before it lined up right.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Trebruchet

"Wow! Those look great...how difficult was it to do? Anyone install their own? I only have small areas...no island or peninsula :)"

lavender lass:

It was straightforward for me, but I've had extensive experience in the store fixture manufacturing business. I can stick laminate in my sleep. email me with any questions or concerns.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:12PM
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lavender_lass

Thanks! It won't be right away, but I would like to see if it's something I could do this spring :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:25PM
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snoonyb

Yep, there is a learning curve, patience is a virtue, flammable is the best, along with a high quality laminate trimer and a sharp file.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 2:07AM
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