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How to Redo Bathroom Walls With Formica

Larry Simmons

Formica is a laminate product available in a wide range of styles and colors to suit your every design need. With its water-resistant surface and its ability to be cut to fit, Formica wall panels are perfect for covering bathroom walls quickly, instantly changing the look of your bathroom in a matter of hours.

The panels glue into place, creating an instant bond with your walls that lasts years without delaminating, even in the moisture-rich environment of your bathroom.

  1. Use a tape measure to measure the height of the bathroom walls that you’re covering with the Formica panels. Adjust the height to allow for 1/4-inch gaps between the top of the panel and the ceiling and the bottom of the panel and the floor by removing 1/2 inch from your measurement. Use a straightedge and a pencil to mark a line onto the panels at the measured height after the gap adjustment, and then cut the panels with a table saw along the marked lines.

  2. Spread a layer of construction adhesive onto the rear of the Formica panels using the flat of a notched trowel. Make the adhesive layer about 1/4-inch thick, then ridge the surface by tilting the trowel until you hold it at a 45-degree angle with the notches pointed toward the adhesive. Drag the trowel notches through the adhesive.

  3. Use the assistance of a helper to place the panel onto the wall beginning at a corner. Push the panel onto the wall and adjust its position until satisfied with its placement. Press around the edges of the panel to bond it to the wall.

  4. Run a laminate roller over the Formica panel from the center outward to press the entire panel surface against the wall, and to push any air bubbles out from beneath the panel. Wipe along the edges of the panel with a sponge dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild liquid soap to remove any excess adhesive.

  5. Continue mounting the panels to the wall following the same process and leaving a gap of 1/8 inch between each panel for expansion. Cut the panels with the table saw where needed to cover spaces too small for a full panel width.

  6. Mark the locations on the rear of the panel of any outlets or pipes requiring holes through the panel with a pencil. Find the locations of each outlet or pipe in reference to the panel using a tape measure to measure the distance from the panel edge to the side of the outlet or pipe closest to that edge, and from the bottom of the panel to the bottom of the outlet or pipe. Measure the dimensions of the outlet or pipe and use them to mark the hole that you need to cut. Measure everything twice to ensure accuracy in placement, as a mistake in making your cut will result in a panel that doesn't fit around the outlet or pipe, requiring that you start again with a new panel.

  7. Drill a hole with an electric drill large enough to hold a jigsaw blade in the inside edge of the drawn outlet or pipe hole. Place the jigsaw blade into the starter hole you drilled and cut the remaining outlet or pipe hole from the panel.

  8. Fill all joints between and around the edges of the panels with silicone sealant. Level the joints with the panel surfaces after sealing by wiping the joints down with a sponge lightly dampened with water.

  9. Warning

    Avoid inhalation of adhesive fumes by opening any doors or windows to the room and wearing a respirator.