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Old 03-25-2009, 02:50 PM  
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Default Paint or replace living room laminate top

An entire wall of living room has a built-in cabinet wall unit. Our 50" plasma currently sitting on the ugly black laminate "countertop." The woodcabinet fronts have been painted an off-white to match the walls and the 6o's brass hardware replaced with nickel and look good.

The wall unit black laminate top needs to be the same off-white color. It is lifted a little on a couple corners. A pro estimated about $950 to replace the laminate.

Can it be nicely painted?


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Old 03-26-2009, 06:38 AM  
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You'd have to scuff the surface or use a chemical to etch the surface before a paint will adhere. If you use aersol spray paint cans, you'll get a better adhesion. Short of that and depending on the edge treatment, you should be able to replace this yourself. Just buy a new piece of laminate (see if you can get it precut to your dimensions) and some laminate glue and roller to install yourself.

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Old 03-29-2009, 11:18 PM  
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You could relaminate or paint.

If you choose to relaminate:

1. Remove the old laminate by prying it up from the substrate. (It'll probably break in the process.) Naptha (or camping fuel) is an excellent solvent for old dry contact cement, as is lacquer thinner. Remove the old contact cement by painting naptha onto the substrate and scraping off the softened contact cement with a paint scraper. Then, after applying the naptha or lacquer thinner, scrub along the grain of the wood (if any) with a steel brush and rub across the grain of the wood with your fingers so that the residual contact cement "rolls up" under your fingers as the solvent (naptha or lacquer thinner) evaporates from the softened contact cement.

2. Place the new laminate over the substrate and scribe the shape of the counter onto the UNDERSIDE of the laminate with a felt pen or awl. Use a laminate knife or even a jig saw to cut out the correct shape of laminate you need. (If you have a router or laminate trimmer, you can just use these to trim the laminate to shape after it's already glued down.)

3. Paint the substrate and the underside of the new laminate with contact cement. Put strips of wax paper down on the substrate after the contact cement is dry to the touch. Place the laminate over the wax paper and align it exactly with the substrate. Clamp one edge of the laminate down (use an edge parallel to the wax paper strips. Lift the opposite edge of the laminate and pull off the wax paper strips (except for the one under the clamps). Press the laminate down onto the substrate. Now, remove the clamps and lift the laminate there enough to slip the last wax paper strip out.

4. Finish by using an ordinary mill or bastard file to file down the edge of the new laminate flush with the substrate.

If you choose to paint, I'd sand the laminate surface down to make it rough and then apply Benjamin Moore's "Melamine" paint in the 303-90 tint base with a roller. Benjamin Moore's "Melamine" paint uses a mix of alkyd and polyurethane resins in the binder so that it dries harder than a regular interior alkyd wall paint would, and the harder film will stand up to wear and tear better.
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:46 PM  
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Well, I would go with Benjamin Moore paint, if you paint. Good products. You get what you pay for.

The least labor intensive and best result I think would be to remove the top, buy and cut a new top out of MDF and apply new laminate, if you are comfortable installing laminate. It definitely is not something everyone wants to do themselves. I have done it and I like doing it. Most people don't.

If this cabinet has a top like a regular cabinet, then you can remove the top. It is probably stapled down before they put the laminate on it, and you can use a hammer to tap it up from underneath (take out the drawers if that is what is in the cabinet, or open the doors and hammer from underneath starting at one edge and work your way around carefully).

Laminate is not easy to do unless you have the right tools. You need a laminate router to finish the edges. It can be done with a file but it gets done faster and better with a laminate router. You need a laminate knife, which is cheap and available at most hardware stores where they sell the utility knives, usually. You can also cut it with a circular saw and a fine toothed blade. But to me that is overkill.

They have water based adhesives now. I prefer solvent based, but I also use a chemical respirator, and you don't need one with the water based adhesives.

On the painting choice, I personally don't feel that would look good. But if you want to do it, try that Benj. Moore paint that other person suggested, maybe it will look ok if you properly sand the surface first and re-glue the edges that are coming up. I would sand with a finer sand paper grit before finishing, a fine enough grit so that there are no sand swirls or sand stroke marks in the laminate. You may have to gradually increase the number of grit paper to get there, ending with maybe 400 grit. You also may have to use a couple of coats of primer. If you can mask off everything, you could use a spray primer that is sandable, and that has a high build character, like some of the automotive primers in a can you can find at a lot of stores. These are easy to sand and after 2-3 coats produce a very smooth finish.
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:32 AM  
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I agree with Fuster - BM paint is the best Just my humble opinion!
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:36 PM  
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There is now a distinctive new wallpaper

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