Re-Laminating Existing Countertops

Advice and cautions on covering existing laminate tops with new material. March 14, 2006

I have a client that wants to replace their kitchen laminate tops solely to get a new color. Everything is mechanically ok and the backsplash is set-on. Is it ok to simply re-laminate over the existing counter tops rather than remake all of the substrates? Will the adhesion be an issue? Is this like changing the engine oil and not the filter?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor S:
We have done it a few times. As long as every thing is sound there is no reason why not - it just depends on how much time it takes you to do it on-site verses new tops.

From contributor M:
The advice of Contributor S is dead on. The surface prep is very critical. Also be sure you are using the correct adhesive, (talk to your distributor). The problem I anticipate you running into is seaming and trimming laminate. For example, is the backsplash a 3/4" thick piece with laminate on the face and exposed edges?

That 3/4" edge is going to be extremely difficult to trim and file once the new laminate is applied. It can be done but will be tough. Also I am sure as you probably know the wall is not flat or straight. So your laminate is not going to butt clean into the backsplash unless scribed. Also, the existing counter might look fine, but you have no control over the quality of the existing conditions whether visible or hidden. It might be worth your time and in the long run money to tear out the countertop and start from scratch.

From contributor B:
I agree with Contributor S as well - if prepped right it'll do fine. I won't do it simply because it's better to replace the whole top. The substrate cost so little, and removing old tops (even if like here they are nailed down) doesn't take long. Plus the prep time and the heavy clean-up that you should charge will cost the customer no more money than a couple of sheets of PB, if as much.

From contributor D:
This is no problem. Remove the splashes and make new ones. They aren't worth saving and they cause problems. Beltsand the existing tops with 50 grit or coarser paper to give the contact adhesive something to grab on to. Laminate the tops and install the new splashes.