I have an apartment that I will be renting out that is being remodeled. The
kitchen will have a pre-made Lowes post-formed Formica countertop.
However, there is a half-wall divider between the living room and kitchen
and I want put a small countertop on top of the divider. The countertop
will be about 2 feet by 4 feet, and it will have a round end. So, it needs
to be custom made. This countertop will sit on top of the divider wall and
it will overhang past the wall about 12 to 16 inches, and I will put a
couple of bar stools next to it.
Since it will be an overhang that people may lean on, I want to be sure it
is fairly strong.
Typically, I think the way people make laminate countertops is to put two
sheets of 3/4 inch partical board together and install the laminate on top
of that and on the sides. I was thinking of maybe using two pieces of 3/4
inch plywood instead for greater strength. However, I have heard that new
plywood can sometimes "cup" or curve a little as it dries out, so I am
wondering if that may be a problem. Particle board doesn't do this as far
as I know.
So, any thoughts on whether it's okay to use plywood for more strength or
would I be better off using particle board?
No, it should already be dry. If you want to use two thicnesses, just glue
and screw together. Use yellow carpenter's glue. Use decent plywood
too...not the low grade fir from Home Depot; birch from there or luan or
virola would be OK.
You are better off using plywood, one thickness or two. Since there is a
considerable overhang, be sure it is *very* firmly attached to the divider.
More than "ok", it's the only logical choice. CD is fine despite what
somebody else says it's stronger than the alternatives given unless go
w/ _extremely_ expensive which is simply stupid for a laminate counter base.
Normally countertop construction is simply single layer w/ a narrow
piece around the outer edge to give the illusion of the extra thickness.
In this case as an overhang the full double-ply would be _a_good_thing_
(tm). As somebody else said, some yellow glue and screw it together to
serve as a clamping action "while the glue dries" and it'll be plenty
It wouldn't hurt to have a single support on the 16" end in the middle
perhaps but it really wouldn't be mandatory--1-1/2" ply will support a
sizable load and laminate is quite flexible to just a little bending.
But, as it is a rental and subject therefore to more abuse than normal,
a stiffener as also suggested would be cheap insurance.
That's why some folks pay more for cabinet grade or marine plywood.
To the op- I would definitely go with exterior- but if you're anal,
you can avoid having to fill any edge voids by using marine grade.
[same glue in both]
Marine plywood I've used has more plies, is stronger, and I've never
found a void. With only two layers it might be a price stand off vs.
three of lesser grade plywood. It definitely works up better with nice
clean edges. If the strength issue is compelling, a bucks extra cost
may save some grief down the line.
I didn't know what corbels were, but I did a Google search and found out.
That may be an option. I'll look at the job again and keep that in mind as
The idea the two layers of 3/4" plywood may not be enough wasn't something
that I had thought about. But, maybe I'd be better off doing 3 layers just
in case. I may even look a little better with the edge being a little
Some mentioned "CD" but I don't know what that is.
I'm assume that no one thinks the issue of plywood possibly cupping a little
when it dries out as being an issue. Someone mentioned that to me so I
thought I'd check in case that was a common opinion. Sounds like it isn't.
Particle board is weaker than ply. Get some 3/4" furniture-grade ply,
expensive, but it will have less frustrating voids to tend with, the
surface is very smooth and flat (ideal for contact cement). You can
apply edge banding or hardwood strips to cover the ply edges. The
plys that are the most stable and strongest are those with a lot of
layers. You could use MDF but it will deflect under a load. Good
luck with your project.
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