Kitchen countertop upgrade

    My kitchen counter tops are Formica, and although in good shape, I thought I would explore upgrading them. I realize I could rip them out and have many types of replacement tops installed, but I was wondering if there are any upgrades that utilize the current counter tops? In other words, apply a material over the existing counter top rather than build everything anew.
    If so, has anyone had this done? Are you pleased with the result or would you rip the old ones out and start from scratch? Since I have no experience in this topic, I welcome all comments. I would hate to make a costly mistake. Thanks.
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Considering the current counter top is in good condition, yu should keep it. I have heard of gluing a laminate over an existing top, but that would not be any kind of upgrade since it is the cheapest in cost and in appearance.
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Lawrence wrote:

    My tops do NOT have rounded corners, so as Larry mentioned it would not be a problem in having an uneven surface. What I was hoping to hear was that businesses that do counter top work would use existing tops and apply a surface that looked much better than Formica.
    It sounds like they prefer to make entirely new tops rather than upgrade existing ones. Therefore I would need to resurface them myself if I wanted to use the current ones. I like the look of the granite topped surface, but I am not prepared to spend a fortune. Other types are said to require sealing??? Thanks to all for your comments.
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Ceramic tile is nice but the grout needs to be sealed really well.

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On Fri, 08 Sep 2006 12:43:25 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, Ken

Not that I'm aware of. This would also require that the new top had a long skirt so it could cover the old top. I'm not sure that would be too pleasing.

Most formica tops are formed over curved bases which include a drip lip at the front and a built-in splash at the back. This precludes them from being good bases for flat surfaces. The formica tops come off fairly easily (pull the few screws underneath and cut the caulking loose at the wall) so you can resuse them in your craft room or garage. Split in half (losing the sink cutout) you could also have two benchtops. They cut fairly well if you tape the top, mark the bottom, and cut through it with a new carbide-tipped saw blade. Or just break it in half and clean up the edges with a router. Laminate edge-trim bits are about $15.
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I have had a couple of counter tops (2 bathrooms) re-covered in new laminate. I did the plumbing -- pulled sink, re-set it, as I wanted to replace the faucet and fittings, as well. I picked out the laminate, bought what he needed. He simply prepped the top with a course grade of sandpaper, fitted the top, cemented, and used a router to trim in the standard manner. Looked great. Not a big deal.
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A friend of mine re-worked his kitchen countertops using some of that granite-type 'paint', used for renewing walkways and such. He used a trowel to smooth things out, and once finished he sealed the surface.
Honestly, when I first saw it I thought he had gotten new countertops. While they don't have the look of polished granite, they certainly do give the impression that they're made of stone. Not only that, but there are no seams anymore...one continuous worksurface. They complement his new granite-topped kitchen island nicely. He did say that the curved edge at the front was a bitch, as the texture of the 'paint' makes it difficult to smooth things out perfectly.
I'm not sure how much the supplies cost, but I'd wager they're much less than a new countertop! Plus, you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself.
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dave snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I've seen those in the stores, and am considering trying it on my kitchen counter (30 years old).
Any ideas if its actually durable and won't chip easily? That would be my main concern.
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dave snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

    I wonder if there are any businesses that will use such a material? Maybe I should just plan on dumping the old counter tops, but it seems a shame as they already fit a complex layout.
    I like the look of tile, but the drawback is the grout being porous. I know there are sealers, but it is not as impenetrable as the tile surface. Thanks.
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You might consider large (12 by 12 or larger) granite tiles. That will cut down on the area of the grout.
A 1/16 inch grout line with sandless grout and good sealer would help more. And you could even go with an epoxy grout (although I understand that is fairly difficult to do well).
Nevertheless, you could have a pretty nice granite countertop for significantly lower cost than one fabricated from slabs.
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

    That is a good idea, I will explore that. Thanks.
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