Installing formica counter tops


PREPARING THE SURFACE FOR LAMINATE PLASTIC

•   Laminated plastic sheets of 1/16" thickness are recommended for a flat work surface. You can use laminated plastic of 1/32" thickness on vertical surfaces.

•   Thoroughly sand and clean the surface where plastic laminate is to be applied. Remove any paint or varnish before applying the laminated plastic. Most manufactured countertops are made using a high-density particle board. However, regular particle board and even plywood make ideal bases for plastic laminates.

CUTTING LAMINATED PLASTIC

•   You can cut plastic laminate material with a circular saw, saber saw, backsaw or utility knife. The saw blade should be a fine-tooth blade. A strip of masking tape placed where the cut line is to be made helps prevent chipping and makes the line easier to see.

•   When using a power circular saw or saber saw, cut from the back side of the laminate. These saws cut on the upstroke. Cutting from the back will help prevent chipping. On hand saws, cut from the front side at a low angle.

•   Important: Always cut the sheets of laminated plastic slightly oversized to allow for trimming.

APPLYING LAMINATED PLASTICS

•   Usually, you can apply laminated plastics with contact cement. Epoxy adhesives can be used, but contact cements are recommended.

•   Use coarse sandpaper to roughen the surface to be covered. Clean away the sanding residue with a light brush or with compressed air.

•   Use extreme care when laying the sheets. Remember, 50 percent to 75 percent of the bonding strength of contact cement is present in the first contact. Make sure the pieces are accurately positioned before the glued areas touch each other.

When applying laminated sheets to vertical surfaces, you can usually position the glued sheets without using wooden strips or waxed paper.

FINISHING OFF THE JOB

•   When the laminate is correctly positioned, remove the dowel rods one at a time as you bond the two pieces together.

•   Use a roller to apply pressure to the newly laid sheets of laminated plastic. Roll the entire surface thoroughly to eliminate air pockets and to be sure the plastic sheet is firmly attached to the surface at all points.

•   If the plastic laminate you are using is not large enough to do the entire job, you will need to make a seam. To do this, first bond the larger of the two pieces into place.

•   To finish your laminate edges, begin by cleaning the base of your router. Anything stuck to the base or any burrs on the base could scratch your laminate. Putting tape on the base can help take care of this.

Remove any surplus contact cement with a special solvent. You can use nail polish remover for this purpose.


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