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milbry18 01-14-2008 11:53 AM

countertop options?
I have an old house with white metal cabinets and red (I think its laminate) countertops with chrome trim around the edges. The cabinets are in very good shape for their age its just the red countertops I hate. What options do I have ? Can I cover over the countertops with some type of thin vinyl material, or should I consider painting ? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

guyod 01-14-2008 12:53 PM

if your looking to go cheap you can buy 4x8 sheets of laminate that you glue on top of your existing counter as long as you dont have any curves. it takes a steady hand to get it to look nice. Also lowes and hd have precut countertop cheap $10 a foot. They look pretty nice im using them. they even have a back spash build in. Only problem is you end up with some seams. but with $350 compared to the same thing custom cut without seams for $1300. well the seams dont look so bad with an extra $1000 in my pocket.

glennjanie 01-14-2008 03:47 PM

Hey Milbry:
I had a brother-in-law who was an autobody man. Jim repainted his steel kitchen cabinets with auto finish. They looked great! Perhaps you can find a professional spray man to come in and redo yours.
I lean toward the big box, precut countertops like Guyod spoke of.
Please try posting some pictures of before and after. We wish you the best!

ToolGuy 01-15-2008 01:08 AM

Yes, the red is laminate. I'm very familiar with these 1950's cabinets and counters. The metal banding will interfere with applying new laminate, as the metal edge slightly wraps the edge of the existing laminate. One thin you could consider is removing the metal banding, apply new laminate over the existing laminate, and also laminate the exposed edge where the metal banding once was. You could also reinstall the metal banding, which would be better functionally (won't peel away as laminate might), but it will be lifted up by the extra thickness of the new laminate, thus exposing the bottom edge of the counter.

The best way to go is to replace the counter altogether. One drawback is that on a new counter with a built-in back splash, the back splash is only 3-1/2 inches tall (if I remember correctly) and if the existing counter has a back splash, it's probably 4 inches tall. This is a problem if you have tile on the wall above the back splash. What I've done in the past is rip some wood strips the thickness of the difference (1/2" in this case) and attach them to the top edges of the cabinets, and install the new counter on top of that.

This is all pretty complex, I know. So, you're probably wondering about painting the existing laminate. You can do that as a temporary fix. You'll have to thoroughly clean the surface and give it a scuff sanding with 120 or 150 grit sand paper. A fine grit sanding sponge also works well. Or heck, use a fine grit sanding sponge with soap and water to clean the surface! How's that for thinkin'? Rinse it thoroughly and let it completely dry. Then apply 3 coats of a good quality, satin finish paint of your favorite color. Even red if you want! Be sure to lightly sand between coats for a really nice finish. If you treat it gently it should last for several years.

One of my favorite sayings... "A little caulk, a little paint, makes a carpenter what he ain't." ;)

guyod 01-15-2008 07:02 AM

Why satin? wouldnt a gloss or even high gloss clean easier?

ToolGuy 01-15-2008 08:37 AM


Originally Posted by guyod (Post 14385)
Why satin? wouldnt a gloss or even high gloss clean easier?

Satin will clean perfectly well. I made it a point to say satin because the shine of gloss or semigloss will show all the brush/roller texture, thus making sure it looks painted.

guyod 01-15-2008 08:36 PM

Tool guy
what do you think about topping it off with polyuratane?

ToolGuy 01-15-2008 10:55 PM


Originally Posted by guyod (Post 14433)
Tool guy
what do you think about topping it off with polyuratane?

Not sure I see the point, as a good quality oil based paint is just as durable.

dan82 01-27-2008 04:58 PM

I agree with you...dont see the point on that should last.

MinConst 01-27-2008 06:38 PM

Toolguy hit the nail on head :)

All I would ad is, if you end up painting start with a coat of Bullseye 123 from Zinser. It bonds to lams real well. It will make the paint not chip or peel.

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