I have a rental where the tenants have used kitchen knifes on the
countertop instead of a cutting board. I would like to install ceramic
Has anyone had success installing directly over counter laminate
the countertop substrate? I am afraid of damage to the cabinets in
trying to remove
the existing countertop. I have seen suggestions regarding roughing up
provide a more porus surface. Any suggestions, or help.
I would post at www.johnbridge.com forums. They have a great group of
tile setters that can help you.
I would really think twice about doing this. If your tenants don't use
cutting boards what are the chances they will keep the grout lines
clean and sealed. I would see grout lines as a potential maintenance
problem. Epoxy grout (not sure if safe to use in a kitchen) might
help. Couldn't you put another layer of laminate over the old with
proper surface prep?
Beat me to it. If this is an old-style square section counter without
rolled backsplash and bull nose, you can field-apply new laminate, given
a good DIY book and a cheap router to edge with. If it is the curved
stuff, I don't know of any painless way to redo it, short of pulling it.
Why are you afraid it will break the cabinets? Is it glued down, trapped
in a pocket or in backsplash tile or something? I'd call whatever
company the local apartment projects use to refresh trashed apartments
between tenants. I wouldn't use a company like that for a new custom
home, but for a rental, they probably do fine work. And they will know
where to get a custom replacement top made up at less than retail prices.
I agree with ceramic being a bad choice for a rental. Some tenants are
careful, but they are the exception. Unless the existing counters look
totally horrible, I'd just clean and bleach them, and polish real well.
Few tenants will notice or care about knife scratches, as long as they
are all one color and clean. If there are deep knicks through to the
brown stuff, they sell spot repair kits.
Two thoughts -
You could screw down a layer of 1/4" tile backer and tile over that,
or you could use a 4" grinder and scuff up the surface in a couple
You might be able to use a really aggressive sandpaper (60 grit or
rougher) with a random orbit sander, but that laminate is pretty darn
I have done lots of countertops in tile and granite tile. The last
time I commented to this group about it, people freaked out about the
idea that bacteria could live & thrive in the grout. Personally I
don't worry about it, and I have never had a tenant freak out about it
either, and I have been a landlord for nearly 15 years.
Best of luck,
Removign old laminate is simple, a torch to warm it up and it comes
right off. Easier with two people, one running the torch, the other
Of course then you are left with the subsrate smeared with contact
cement. I don't know what grout over that would do.
Good thing you have their security deposit to cover just such an
I don't see why you would want to incur cost, install a more expensive
countertop material and one that is just as likely to get damaged.
Tile doesn't like knives much more than laminate, and it doesn't hold
up as well to the dropped pot and pan. Put down a new layer of
laminate on top of the old and be done with it - it's a rental.
You can tile over laminate, but there is a fair bit of controversy
over the method. Here's one that says no problem.
The John Bridge forum contributors are very knowledgeable and pretty
much purists - they don't like laminate.
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