How to Redo Kitchen Countertops Without Replacing Them

Laminated kitchen countertops are inexpensive, easy to clean, and come in a wide variety of colors and designs.

But they also wear out after a few years, with discoloration and dull spots. If you want a new look for that old countertop, but you don't want the expense of replacing it with a different material, consider putting a new layer of laminate right over it. Your home-improvement store can set you up with the right materials, and a competent do-it-yourselfer can complete the project in a day.

Put on your safety goggles and particle mask. Use your power sander and 80-grit sandpaper to buff and dull the surface of the existing laminate. Get it so that it no longer reflects light from any angle.

Measure each area of the countertop. Mark the measurements on your laminate sheets, then add 1 inch on all sides. Cut out the sheets using your router with laminate-cutting bit.

Lay the cut pieces of laminate upside down on spread-out newspapers. Brush contact cement over the backs of them. Brush contact cement over the surface of the countertop. Allow the contact cement to air-dry according to the instructions on the packaging (generally about 10 minutes). Note: Even though the contact cement won't feel sticky to the touch, the treated pieces will bind to each other if you accidentally allow any two of them to make contact.

Apply the front vertical edge piece of laminate first. Hold the piece steadily in front of the area where it's going to be mounted, get it in position, and press it to the surface. The laminate should overhang on all sides by about an inch. Run your roller over the piece to secure it. Use your router to trim off the overhanging laminate along the corner edges of the countertop.

Lay your 1-inch dowel rods down over the top span of the countertop, from front to back, spacing them about every foot. Set your large top piece of laminate over the rods, so the rods separate the piece from the surface of the countertop. Get the piece correctly positioned, then slide the rods out one by one, starting at the middle. As you slide them out, press down on the laminate. Once the new laminate is completely down, run your roller over it and trim the edges with your router.

Things You Will Need

  • Protective goggles
  • Particle mask
  • Power sander
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Laminate sheets
  • Router with laminate-cutting bit
  • Newspapers
  • Contact cement
  • Brush
  • Laminate roller
  • 1-inch dowel rods, six or eight of them, at 3 feet long

Warning

  • Wear eye protection when using your router. Don't allow children or pets in the room while working with the contact cement.