I have been investigating cheap alternatives to replacing my awful countertops. I have looked into painting them (it’s an ‘iffy’ situation), “wallpapering” them (that seems a bit more do-able), but then I learned about self-adhesive laminate. The problem is, I can’t find a retailer of this stuff. I called HD and Lowe’s and neither carries them. The gentleman at HD at least told me he carries the sheets, and I would have to apply my own adhesive. I would have to cut out the sink part I guess. He told me I could use a jigsaw to do this but I am not handy, plus don’t have the tools. Still wondering about the self-adhesive laminates I saw mentioned in a post somewhere. Anybody have any thoughts or suggestions on this matter?

Replacing your countertop with Granite tile or Marble tile is inexpensive easy to do. I had almost decided not to do it after reading several posts on internet. I think lots people want you to hire a professional, and some people give lots of bad advice telling how hard it is to do. I have installed Granite tile, on kitchen countertop last year and and also granite tile on one vanty, in one bath and marble on 2nd. bath. The marble is easy to work with, you can buy $6.00 diamond coated blade for jig saw that will cut the marble just fine from Homedepot . It will NOT cut the granite, you will need $20.00 diamond coated circular saw blade to cut granite. I bull-nosed my out side edges by cutting edge off at angle and sanding with aluminum oxide 120 grit and then 220 grit. I used the 120 grit on belt sander and 220 grit on palm sander. I used premixed thinset from Homedepot and sandless grout. On the the Granite I butted the tile together on the marble I used 1/8 joint this does not look as good. as the granite being butted together. The granite tile comes with 1/32″ bevel so when you butt together you have 1/16″. I did have picture of bathroom on flickr for person on yahoo answers that I removed. I will post another one tomorrow. I do have picture of kitchen with countertop. I was playing with new camera. You can look at picture and I will try to upload some pictures tomorrow. or you can email for any questions, hope this helps.

You don’t need self-adhesive laminate. The normal adhesive for laminate is contact cement, and they can explain how to use it at HD or Lowes. (You apply it on both surfaces, let them dry, then they bond permanently as soon as they contact each other. The only trick is that the alignment MUST be correct because you can’t shift it after they This is usually done by putting paper between the two and it bonds when you pull the paper out). Even if you could find one, a self-stick laminate would not hold as well as contact cement. It’s normally put down a little bit too big, and after it’s bonded there’s a special router bit for getting the edges exactly even with the counter, but you could get by with sanding them if you don’t have a
router.

OK, that makes sense. I’m trying to do this as cheaply as possible. I read about the dowels under the laminate before it bonds, you say paper, that is interesting. Anyway … this seems likely, but obviously I will have to have the sink removed and replaced during this process. Right? I might have to have a plumber come in a do that, I know that will cost money, too. I must say, however, I did manage to put a dishwasher in, I’m 65 and not that nimble, but I am proud to say I did it. :-) So… maybe the sink is not outside of my limits, not sure.

If you can install a dishwasher, you can probably remove and reinstall the sink yourself. The only issues are whether the drain is soldered or compression, and whether there are are shutoffs in the hot and cold water below the sink.

If the drain is compression, there is a large nut above the trap – it unscrews with large slip joint pliers (water pump pliers). For the supply, close the shutoff valves, open the taps (to relieve pressure). Use a basin wrench to to unscrew the compression nut under the bottom of the taps. If there is only small line disappearing into the bottom of the tap set, then you will need to use 2 wrenches to take apart the connection at the bottom of the small diameter line (many newer Moen & other single lever sets).

For the cost and labor to “re-face” your countertops, have you considered just replacing them with new laminate countertops? Don’t depend upon Home Depot for pricing because they are usually overpriced in the cabinet and countertop department compared to local small shops. We bought 20′ of new custom laminate countertops for a job through the shop that Home Depot goes through but we went direct and it cost us around $350 including the labor for cutouts, etc. We just had to install it ourselves which is pretty easy.

You might even consider buying laminate tops from H.D. off the rack and taking it to a countertop shop for them to cut to size and cutout any sink or cooktop holes you need. In fact H.D. will usually do this for you and you pick up the finished top from the shop that H.D. sends it to.

I helped my sister a couple years ago replace her laminate with travertine tile ($2/sq. ft.) from H.D. She bought the bullnose travertine tile for the edges and bought a $99 Husky tile saw. The travertine tiles, bullnose edge tiles, adhesive, and sealer cost a total of about $200. Altogether with a new kitchen sink and faucet it cost her around $500. We just peeled off the laminate from the substrate and glued the tile down to the particleboard. (I know this is not something that a tile setter would recommend because the particleboard is suceptible to getting wet and falling apart, but beggars can’t be choosers.) My sister says its still holding up and she hasn’t had a stain yet (and she’s a slob).

Something for you to consider if you were to paint or try to cover your existing laminate is resale value. If in the future you decide to sell the home, for whatever reason, you don’t want to make it seem like you took short cuts in some of your renovation projects. If a buyer were to see that your countertops are “re-faced” they might wonder what other short cuts you took. If you go through the labor now to “re-face” your laminate tops you may just have to replace them later on if you do sell the home.

I too keep looking at my bathroom counter, I have an oversized older bathroom sink (does not lay on, but is level with the countertop with a silver metal band around it), with white laminate countertop with those beautiful sparkly gold flecks in it (blech–40 years old) :) I keep thinking of how I can build up the center area and re-laminate over it all but not sure how I would make sure that new smaller sink area would be completely secure/solid enough for the sink. Mine is custom made (old) and very square on the edges. I’m also wondering if I can’t just put a new pc of plywood over the whole thing and recut a new hole for my sink etc. and relam that way. The edge would be wider since I would be going over it. I was also thinking of just ploppin on a whole new one already made up as well—right over the top of it somehow–but then you have that edge again that would need to be wider. (I have ceramic tiles surrounding mine and all over the bathroom 3/4 high in the whole room–and goes right into the tub/shower area, and I’m sure if I tried to remove my present one, I’d really muck up the walls, and I’m realllly not in the mood for a whole remodel–though it could use it)

So this thread is very interesting to me. Just can’t seem to figure out which way I want to go yet, and the easiest route. All new and taking out the old obviously is the best way to go, but again, there is that tile. I did take tiles (same ones) off the back of the walls in the kitchen so I do have “extras” to play with– a lot of extras. But then I don’t have a wet saw either, so I’d have to have someone do that for me if I muck it up :)