How To Cover Formica Countertops

Cassandra Tribe

Replacing ugly Formica countertops is an expensive proposition. You can, however, cover the countertops quickly and economically, turning a functional room into something beautiful.

If you can use a paintbrush, you can make your countertops look new.


If you need to make bends in your edging, cut the edging 8 inches back from the end and bend only the piece that needs to wrap around the corner and extend 8 inches on either side. This will make it easier to handle both heating the edging with a heat gun and making the correct bend.


Use caution when bending the laminate panels to break them along the score. Laminate will form sharp edges if broken unevenly and can cause severe injury.

  1. Sand the original Formica countertops to remove the gloss from the finish. Use a circular motion when sanding to make sure you are covering all of the old laminate and continue sanding until the surface is dull.

  2. Using a wide paintbrush, completely cover the edges of the countertop with DAP contact cement . Begin pressing your new edging into place making sure the top of the edging extends 1/8-inch above the old Formica. If you need to bend the edging around a corner, use a heat gun on the edging until you can bend it into shape by hand.

  3. Lay your new Formica laminate panel over the countertop. With a pencil, trace the outline of the countertop from underneath using the edging as a tracing guide. Remove the panel and using a straightedge and box cutter, score the panel along your pencil line (but not directly on it, stay 1/2-inch outside of the line; you'll fit the panel exactly in the next step). Once you have scored the panel, bend the piece back and forth until the excess breaks off.

  4. Lay the Formica panel over the countertop again. Working from underneath, score the panel with your box cutter using the edging as a guide. Work slowly and carefully to make sure you do not cut the panel too small. When you have scored the panel completely, again, bend the edge pieces back and forth until the excess breaks off cleanly.

  5. Coat the entire old countertop with an even layer of DAP contact cement and coat the underside of your new Formica sheet as well. Let both areas dry to the touch before putting them together as this will ensure better adhesion.

  6. Place the new Formica countertop into place on top of the contact cement. The new countertop should fit snugly into the frame made by the edging you installed. Press down in the center of the new countertop and moving you hand in a circular fashion, press and rub the countertop, this will assure that any air trapped beneath the panel is pushed out.