Building a Custom Laminate Countertop

Build your own durable, beautiful countertop with plastic sheet laminates Plastic laminates are available in hundreds of colors, styles, and textures. A counter-top made with laminates can be tailored to fit any space.

Laminates are sold in 6-. 8-. 10-. or 12-foot lengths that are about Yn thick Laminate sheets range in width from 30' to 48V Most laminates are made by bonding a thin surface layer of colored plastic to a core of hardened resins. Another type of laminate has consistent color through the thickness of the sheet. Solid-color laminate counter-tops do not show dark lines at the trimmed edges, but they chip more easily than traditional laminates and must be handled carefully.

Choose nonflammable contact cement when building a countertop. and thoroughly ventilate your work area.

Everything You Need:

Tools: Tape measure, framing square, pencil straightedge, clamps, caulk gun. circular saw with combination blade, cordless screwdriver, be»t sanded router, specialy tools & supplies photo, page opposite

Materials Ha particle-board, sheet laminate

Routing Countertop Edge

Backsplash

Shaped edge Hardwood edge

Contact comont

Buildup,

Particle**

Laminate countertop: Countortop core is particle-board Perimeter ts built up with strips of particleboard screwed to the bottom of the core. For ctecoratrve edge treatments, hardwood strips can be attached to core.

Laminate p>eces arc bonded to the countertop with contact cement. Edges are trimmed and shaped with a router.

Specialty tools & supplies ¡nclude: contact cement thinner (A), contact cement (B). latex wood patch (C). carpenter's glue (D). paint roller (E). J-roller (F). miter box (G). waBboard screws (H). flush-cutting router bit (I),

15" bevel-cutting router bit (J), straight router bit (K). corner rounding router bet (L), cove router bit (M). silicone caulk (N). Me (O). scoring tool (P). scribing compass (Q) 3-way clamps (R)

Specialty tools & supplies ¡nclude: contact cement thinner (A), contact cement (B). latex wood patch (C). carpenter's glue (D). paint roller (E). J-roller (F). miter box (G). waBboard screws (H). flush-cutting router bit (I),

15" bevel-cutting router bit (J), straight router bit (K). corner rounding router bet (L), cove router bit (M). silicone caulk (N). Me (O). scoring tool (P). scribing compass (Q) 3-way clamps (R)

Scribing Router Cutter

reference line to cabinet ends. Allow for overhangs by adding v to the length for each exposed end. and Y to the wnJth (E) If an end butts against an appliance, subtract from length to prevent scratching appliance

1 Measure along tops of base cabinets to determine size of countertop if wan comers are not square use a framing square to establish a reference line (R) near middle of base cabinets, perpendicular to front of cabinets Take four measurements (A. B. C. D) from reference line to cabinet ends. Allow for overhangs by adding v to the length for each exposed end. and Y to the wnJth (E) If an end butts against an appliance, subtract from length to prevent scratching appliance

I

Buildup strips

2 Transfer measurements from step 1. us*ng a fram- backsplash, and for joint supoort where sections of mg square to establish a reference line. Cut core the countertop core are butted together Cut 3' strips to size usmg a circular saw with a clamped straight- to use as edge buildup edge as a guide Cut 4' strips of parncleboard for the

Exposed Countertop Supports

3 Jom the countertoo core pieces on the bottom side. Attach a A% particle board joint support across the seam, using carpenters glue and 1V*' wallboard screws

Granite Seams For Build

4 Attach 3' edge buildup sthps to bottom of coun-tertop. using 1 waNboard screws. Fill any gaps on outside edges with latex wood patch, then sand edges with belt sander

5 To determine the sizo of the laminate top. measure countertop core. For strength, laminate seams should run opposite to core seam Add V*' trimming margin to both the length and width ol each piece. Measure laminate nee<ted for face and edges of backsplash. and for exposed edges of countertop core. Add V/ to each measurement

6 Cut laminate by scoring and breaking it. Draw a cutting line, then etch along the line with a scoring too«. Use a straightedge as a guide Two passes of scoring tool will help laminate break cleanly.

Laminate seam

Carpentry adhesives include (clockwise from top right) clear adhesive caulk, for sealing gaps in damp areas, waterproof construction adhesive for bonding lumber for outdoor projects, multipurpose adhesive for attaching paneling and forming strong bonds

between lumber pieces; electro hot glue gun and glue stacks, for bonding small decorative trim pieces on buiit-ins; wood glues and ail-purpose glue for many woodworking projects.

Glues & Adhesives

When used properly, glues and adhesives can be stronger than the materials they hold together. Use hot glue in lightweight woodworking projects, carpenter's glue for wood ¡oints. and carpentry adhesive for preliminary installation of thin panels and lumber Panel adhesive a thinner formula that can be applied from a tube or with a brush, is used to install paneling, wainscoting. and other lightweight tongue-and-groove materials. Most cauJk is applied with a caulk gun. but some types are available in squeeze tubes for smaller applications. Caulks are designed to permanently dose jewnts, fill gaps in woodwork, and nide subtle imperfections. Different caulks arc made of different compounds and vary greatly tn durability and workability While silicone caulks last longer, they are not paintable and are difficult to smooth out. Latex caulks are less durable than silicone, but are much easier to work with, especially when used to hide gaps. Many caulks are rated on scales of 1 to 4 to indicate how well they bond to masonry, glass, tile, metals wood, fiberglass and plastic. Read the label carefully to choose the right caulk for the job

4 < Test-fu laminate top on countertop core Check I I that laminate overhangs all edges. At seam locations. draw a reference line on core where laminate edges will butt together Remove laminate. Make sure all surfaces are free of dust, then apply one coat of contact cement to back of laminate and two coats to core Place spacers made of V'Mhick scrap wood at 6' intervals across counteriop core. Because contact cement bonds instantly, spacers allow laminate to be positioned accurately over core without bonding. Align laminate with seam reference line Beginning at one end. remove spacers and press laminate to countertop core

A Apply contact cement to remaining core and next piece of laminate Let cement dry, then position lami-I Cm nate on spacers, and carefully align butt seam Beginning at seam edge, remove spacers and press laminate to countertop core

+ M Remove excess iarrwtate with a router and flush-1*1 cutting b:t. At edges where router cannot reach, trim excess laminate with a file. Countertop :s now ready for final trimming with bevel-cutbng b<t

Roll entire surface with J-roller to bond laminate IO o core Clean off any excess contact cement with a soft ck>!h and contact cement thinner

+ M Remove excess iarrwtate with a router and flush-1*1 cutting b:t. At edges where router cannot reach, trim excess laminate with a file. Countertop :s now ready for final trimming with bevel-cutbng b<t

Router Bevel Laminate Trim

■JC Fimsh-trim the edges with router ana 15' bevel-I%J cuttmg bit Set bit depth so that the oevB edge is cut only on top laminate ¿ayer Bit should not cut into vertical edge surface

Laminate Scoring Tool

File an edges smooth Use downward Ite strokes to avo'd chipping the laminate

■JC Fimsh-trim the edges with router ana 15' bevel-I%J cuttmg bit Set bit depth so that the oevB edge is cut only on top laminate ¿ayer Bit should not cut into vertical edge surface

File an edges smooth Use downward Ite strokes to avo'd chipping the laminate

Scribed Edge Backsplash

Scribing strip

Using Compass Measure Uneven Walls

4Q Test-fit countortop and backsplash. Because walls IO may be uneven, use compass to trace wall outline onto backsplash scribing strip. Use a belt sandor to grind backsplash to scribe line (page 266)

H*] Cut 1 V*'-w»de strips of V<* plywood to form over-I f hanging scribing strip for backsplash Attacn to top and sides of backsplash core with glue and wall-board screws. Cut laminate pieces and apply to exposed sides, top. and front of backsplash. Trim each piece as it is applied.

4Q Test-fit countortop and backsplash. Because walls IO may be uneven, use compass to trace wall outline onto backsplash scribing strip. Use a belt sandor to grind backsplash to scribe line (page 266)

HQ Appty bead ot silicone caulk 19 to the bottom edge of the backsplash

Screw Z waliboard screws £m I through countertop into backsplash core Make sure screwheads are countersunk completely for a tight fit against the base cabinet.

HQ Appty bead ot silicone caulk 19 to the bottom edge of the backsplash

Portion the backsplash on the countertop. and damp it into place with bar clamps. Wipe away excess caulk, and let dry completely

Screw Z waliboard screws £m I through countertop into backsplash core Make sure screwheads are countersunk completely for a tight fit against the base cabinet.

Solid hardwood edge

Rounded edge

Solid hardwood edge

Rounded edge

Custom Wood Countertop Edges

For an elegant, aoded touch on a laminate countertop. add hardwood edges and shape them with a router Rout the edges before attaching the backsplash to the countertop

Everything You Need:

Tools: 3-way clamps belt sander. router with edging & cove bit. J-roller, miter box. i

Materials: 1 x 2 hardwood strips, wood glue. YS particleboard. street laminate. 4d finish nails.

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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Responses

  • cruz
    Is a countertop maker a carpenter?
    9 months ago

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