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Cabinets and Counters
Counters Q's and A's

Replacing | Sinks | Cabinets | Granite
Wood | Formica | Tile | How-To-Do | Laminate | Corian
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Replacing

Replacing countertop laminate

I understand how to re-laminate an existing smooth countertop with a new sheet of laminate. But, are there any methods to re-laminate a sculptured (bumpy) laminate with a new smooth one? Or, must I replace the countertops?

I have resurfaced laminate many times, just not over textured surface,
My 'guess is that it will work, but if you have your doubts, try to remove the old laminate with a 6 inch putty knife and a hammer tapping the blade under the old Formica and removing it...if the surface of the plywood or particleboard seems okay, then just proceed as normal...Otherwise make some new countertops...

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Sinks

Tiling countertop around kitchen sink

I am installing 4 x 4 ceramic tile on my kitchen counter. The counter is in a wide U shape. I have already tiled both sides of the counter around the sink, but now it is time to remove the sink to tile around it. I have looked under the sink to see how it can be removed. To no avail, I am unable to figure out which is the best way to lift it out. I don't plan on replacing the sink, just lifting it up long enough to tile around it and drop the sink back into place. What is the best way to do this? The house was built in 1972 and it is a smaller version of a double porcelain sink w/ disposal.

O.K... a couple things to address here.
One the sink itself is may be held down by a bunch of screwed in clips that go all around the outside
(underneath) clamping it to the countertop. These are also "probably" long enough to take in the additional height. For porcelain, the sink may just sit in the hole and the caulking underneath the rim is all that is holding it down. Just pry it up, carefully.

But.. then you need to worry about the water lines. Both the drains and the supplies will need to be that much longer. If the pipes are too short, you will have to take out the shorter piece and put in longer sections. Just to lift it up, you will need to disconnect the piping, I doubt there is even a 1/4 in of give on either the supply or the drain line. Make sure of course that the water is shut off with the shutoff valves underneath and unscrew the piping.

When you put it back, you will find if the pipes will now reach. Like I said.. I doubt they will. So be prepared to just take off the old sections and install newer longer ones.



Cabinets

Removing a kitchen cabinet?

I would like to completely remove a kitchen cabinet that had an old trash compactor in it (which has already been removed). Before I start chopping away with an ax, what's the best way to take OUT a cabinet? Is it just a matter of a few screws, or are they usually glued in, too?

Usually the cabinets (I assume it's a lower cabinet due to the trash compactor) are just sitting on the floor and are screwed to the studs in the wall behind them. They may also be screwed to each other.



Granite

Granite Counter Tops

My husband and I really like granite countertops. We have just ordered them for our new condo. Are they very hard to care for and what is involved? Is is true I heard that there is a sealer you can apply to the top to seal any of the little holes in the granite to avoid anything getting in them?

After your counters are complete they should be sealed with a sealer of some sort. The fabricator should apply this for you. After it is installed, they should also apply the sealer again to once more protect against bacteria growth. This will also protect the seams against bacteria growth. After installation, this sealer should be applied every 1-2 years for preventative maintenance.


Wood

Wooden countertops

Mineral oil is great for that kind of thing don't spend so much money on them other items. We have beautiful kitchen countertops made of wood. They seem to have been treated with an oil,not a polyurethane coating. We like this finish a lot, but they have some cuts and marks in them and need sanding and refinishing. What can we refinish them with that will not be toxic (since they're in the kitchen and we prepare food on them?


There is an oil I know is safe for food surfaces called.. I think... Belson's Oil. Check in woodworking catalogues and stores. It is a salad bowl finish I believe.

Also


I'm not sure of the product name of the finish made for Maple countertops. I believe you can acquire this info from FSSCo. in San Jose, CA. The toll-free number is 800-852-9852.

Refinishing wood countertop

We have an old wood countertop in need of refinishing (mildew on wood around sink). The current finish appears to be a polyurethane. What would be the best course of action? What's the best way to remove a poly finish? Is there a good compound to use to fill fairly large gaps between the boards?

Refinish with polyurethane again. First sand the bad areas.. (well sand lightly even the good areas) but sand off any loose finish, and sand off any mold. I hesitate to suggest bleach on the mold.. it will kill it, but it may lighten the wood in that area compared to elsewhere. You can fill the gaps a wood filler picked to match the grain. Fill the gaps as deeply as you can and then sand the whole area flush.
Finally refinish the whole top with poly... and plan on at least 3 coats.


Refinishing wood countertop

We have an old wood countertop in need of refinishing (mildew on wood around sink). The current finish appears to be a polyurethane. What would be the best course of action? What's the best way to remove a poly finish? Is there a good compound to use to fill fairly large gaps between the boards?

Refinish with polyurethane again. First sand the bad areas.. (well sand lightly even the good areas) but sand off any loose finish, and sand off any mold. I hesitate to suggest bleach on the mold.. it will kill it, but it may lighten the wood in that area compared to elsewhere. You can fill the gaps a wood filler picked to match the grain. Fill the gaps as deeply as you can and then sand the whole area flush.
Finally refinish the whole top with poly... and plan on at least 3 coats.




Formica


Refinishing Formica

I've heard of painting Formica-type countertops and seen the results on some television "re-do your kitchen" shows. Is this feasible for do-it-your-own-bad-selfers and what type of paint is used?

This is really just supposed to be temporary as it does not make a good food safe surface.

You need to first wash with TSP to remove grease and grime. Sand using a 120 grit sandpaper or liquid sand will also work. Apply a good quality primer made for ADHESION like Bin by Zinsser or Sherwin Williams Anchor Bond.
Then paint with a good semi-gloss enamel in oil or latex. Some paints like Gliddens Melamine does not require a surface sealer while some regular latex paints will.
If you do intend to apply a sealer an acrylic would be best as it does not yellow.
Make sure you have cutting boards in that area and if you have small children I would replace instead at a cost of approx. $8 a linear foot.

Counter tops

My husband is maintenance man. Our question is is it possible to replace old Formica tops on wafer board that has been wet and caused it to buckle? Or should the board itself be replaced also? If so, could you give step by step instructions on how to install countertops?

Probably considering it has buckled it would be best to replace the whole thing. How handy is your handyman? Building countertops is not beyond the skill of handy folks, but it isn't that easy. You may want to price new counter tops build to fit your cabinets. To build them yourself, you will need to cut new tops from high-density fiberboard, and cover them with your new laminate. There is enough to this work to fill several pages. However, if he wants to go for it, use the old counter as a template. Cut and build it to the same size and in the same manner.

Alternative to marble for a counter top?

I need an 11foot long tabletop. I like the looks of marble (Carrera White). Can anyone suggest any less expensive alternatives? I have heard of, but never seen a counter top of concrete?

Formica makes a material similar in appearance to Corian but much less expensive and can be glued to chipboard inquire at a cabinet shop. It is less than 1/8" thick and is very serviceable

Painting a Countertop

I've heard that you can paint over a Formica?

I have painted mine! They are "foodsafe?" and four children safe as well, mine has lasted for a year and one half so far, much better than the ugly dark brown Formica. Sand lightly apply Kilz paint and let dry. Then I used three colors of gray light, medium and dark, marbleized them together, let dry then applied six coats of polyurethane, it works fine! Another answer:
It is not highly recommended and is only for a temporary solution since it is NOT Food safe!. Wash with TSP, sand to rough up, prime and paint and even seal with a poly or polyacrylic. For the price of a new post form counter top I do not find painting is worth it since the cost may end up being close in the end.

Tile

Installing tile countertop

I have a small basin area around my sink that is Formica and I want to cover it with a tile mosaic. I have removed Formica in the past and it is really hard to do since I think they use the same glue as they use for the space shuttle...so, I am wondering if it would be safe in this small area to make a ledge and just adhere the tile right over the Formica using a mastic and then follow with grouting as usual?

If you can take the sink out, I would recommend cutting a piece of cement backerboard to fit and screw it in place and then tile over it. There are mastics that claim they will work, but typically I've found they don't. Your other alternative is to tack down some wire mesh, apply a scratch coat of mortar and they tile on top of that.

Granite tile countertops

What are the procedures for constructing my own countertop from 12" granite tiles? Adhesives, mastics, Grout, underlayment, cutting, wood edging?

Coincidentally, I am putting the finishing touches on a new countertop that I made up with 12" granite squares. I started the counter from scratch using 3/4" exterior plywood (AC-X). After leveling and securing with screws, I applied a layer of thinset mortar (mix w/ latex additive) and then set down 1/2" cement backer-board. This is also screwed down into the mortar bed. If you expect to get a lot of use and water on the countertop, a water-proofing mem- brane should be applied (sheet or trowel-applied). I didn't do this step, but it will add an extra measure of security from water damage years down the road. Finally, I set the granite in a new bed of mortar (special Ardex mix for granite and marble). I'll be sealing the granite tiles and grout this weekend before applying a length of maple trim around the edge of the counter. So far, it looks great, and at a fraction of the cost of a solid granite slab.

Ceramic Tile removal

I have a ceramic tile backsplash in my kitchen that I would like to remove (outdated colors, etc.)How would I go about removing this tile and will the wall behind become damaged and have to be replaced?

You cannot remove the backsplash tiles. You can buy latex modified mortar from Lowes at $29.95 and use this to stick new tiles over the existing ones. It is the best way.

How-To-Do

Do it yourself counter tops?

I have a terrible counter top and I want to change it myself, in the least expensive way. Can anyone tell me what choice I have if any and a brief description of how to do it. I have to do it myself. Can something be glued to the existing top?

I just got a new counter top with a new sink and new stovetop. It cost me only $200. You can buy the counter top from Home Depot select the type you want. Cost approx. $63 for a 10ft piece .Then use a mitering jig and saw off the miter on the end if you have to. Then use a jig saw and make the hole for the sink and you shall have a new counter top. When I was doing it, I realized that I needed help to lift it around, as it is quite heavy. Other than that, it was easy. I wonder why pro's charge so much. If you really want to make it easy you can buy a pre mitered top or get it mitered at $20 a miter.

Cutting Counter Tops to size

What is the best method to cut a counter top to size? I want to buy a premade counter top from Home depot. This size will be to long so I have to cut it DOWN> Can you give me instructions on the best method to do this, including saw blade to use. Do you cut from the backside? Is the blade reversed ?

You will mark and cut the countertop from the bottom side using a standard circular saw blade mounted normally. That's it. I've cut hundreds...

Laminate

Laminating kitchen and bathroom counter tops

Can new laminate be put over old laminate? I was told by a handy man that it would be very hard to put new laminate over our existing laminate. He said that we need new counter tops. When I suggested that we just cover the old laminate with the new, he said it would never work because it would not stick. My next door neighbor said that all we had to do was to rough up our old laminate with some sandpaper, cut to fit, apply the adhesive and put down the laminate. Will this work?

Yes, relaminating over existing is a common process EXCEPT if you have preformed countertops (i.e. the kind with rounded edges). Then you can't do it. The savings are marginal however, and if your old countertop are on their way out, best to make new ones. All you need do, is to rough up the laminate with coarse grit paper, add your contact adhesive, laminate and trim...

Defective Kitchen countertops

Our kitchen countertops are less than a decade old. The laminate itself is in excellent shape but it's delaminating. The adhesive has given up. It's not due to water leakage as one of the tops never sees water, and the middle of the top is the first to go, if it was water the edges would go first. Has anyone heard of defective adhesive around 1990? The installer is no help.

Unless the counter itself has deteriorated, simply squirt some construction adhesive between the Formica and counter and it will be good as new...

Laminate Countertops

Can you give me some pros/cons for laminate counter tops.

These are mine...
Pros:
Cost
ease of cleaning
availability of and variety of colors/appearances
Cons:
Depends on what you are comparing them to... some other counters are impervious to heat.. laminates are not.
Looks.. if you love the look of granite.. or ceramic tile.. or real wood...well.. you don't get that in a laminate top.
Durability... it won't last as long as a rock will.

Corian

Alternative to Corian Counters?

We are in the process of building a new home and our cabinet installer is pushing a product that imitates Corian, for much less. I believe the company is called Webbco...would you be able to tell me anything about this alternative?

I would be very inquisitive about the product's specifications for use and cleaning. Some "new age" counters specifically ban use of many types of household cleaners including 409, etc. Not sure why they do that, but I don't like the idea. It should be tough and washable with whatever you have on hand as far as I'm concerned.

Laminate Countertops

Can you give me some pros/cons for laminate counter tops.

These are mine...
Pros:
Cost
ease of cleaning
availability of and variety of colors/appearances
Cons:
Depends on what you are comparing them to... some other counters are impervious to heat.. laminates are not.
Looks.. if you love the look of granite.. or ceramic tile.. or real wood...well.. you don't get that in a laminate top.
Durability... it won't last as long as a rock will.



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