People always ask me; "can Formica be laminated over Formica?" For some reason they think the existing plastic laminate might need to be removed before a new color can be glued on. As long as the existing glue bond is in excellent condition, new plastic can be applied directly on top of the old plastic.
In this article I will explain how this process of recovering is supposed to be done. It is a popular method of remodeling old countertops and cabinets.
Once the color has been selected, the job has been measured and the materials are in hand, the new Formica gets cut a little bigger than the existing areas that will be covered over.
The entire surface where the new plastic will be glued is then thoroughly cleaned with lacquer thinner or a degeasing solution.
The next step is to sand every inch of the countertop or cabinet space where the Formica will be installed with forty grit sand paper. This can be done with a belt sander or hand block sander. Most professional installers use both.
A shop vacuum is used often throughout the entire process. All of the dust needs to be removed before any glue is applied. It is very important that the surfaces are continually checked for dust and chips of laminate before any glue gets applied to a surface.
The process of fitting the Formica begins now. Ceilings, floors and walls are never perfectly straight. The edges of the plastic are straight. Therefore, the Formica needs to be fitted to the humps and bumps in the walls, floors and ceilings. This fitting process is generally done as each piece is ready to be applied to the existing laminate.
So, the way this works is you fit a piece and then glue it down. Select the next piece of Formica, fit it and glue it down. The laminate can be cut with tin snips along the scribe lines to make the plastic fit the walls, floors and ceiling.
Once a new piece of Formica is applied to the existing Formica it is rolled and trimmed flush with a high-speed router.
After a piece of laminate is trimmed off, it is either filed or sanded flush with the edges of the countertop or cabinet.
The final step in applying Formica over existing laminate is cleaning off the excess contact adhesive with lacquer thinner. This is done by dampening a cloth with the paint thinner and then wiping it on the glue that needs to be removed. The rag should be plenty wet, but not dripping wet.
Having old laminate covered with new will cost less than replacing your existing countertops or cabinets. It is a great way to remodel your kitchen or bathroom cabinets or counters.
This process of Formica being installed over Formica is called several different things. Some people refer to this as recovering and others call it re-laminating.
Formica countertops are made of a thin layer of plastic material, the laminate, attached to a base of plywood or other materials using glue. They are among the most popular cheap countertops, and relatively easy to maintain. However, the wrong cleaning routine can damage the protective plastic layer and create stains, scratches or even leave the wood underneath visible, requiring you to replace or resurface the countertops.
Day to Day Cleaning
To properly clean Formica countertops every day, a clean cloth and mild dish soap usually suffice, preferably using warm water. Remember to dry the countertop to avoid water accumulating in the seams and potentially damaging the base. Avoid using scouring pads or anything that could scratch the surface, as scratches can happen easily.
If your Formica countertop has a high gloss finish you may want to use a mild glass cleaner and then buff with a clean, non-abrasive cotton cloth until any marks are gone.
To remove resistant stains, you can make a mix of baking soda and water using 3 times as much baking soda as water. Spread this paste over the stain without rubbing, and let it soak for five minutes before carefully wiping it away. Avoid scrubbing, because the baking soda could damage the finish.
Small scratches and chips can be repaired with special paste for laminate countertops, usually available in a variety of colours at hardware stones.
Things to Avoid
While you may feel tempted to use bleach or other highly corrosive cleaning products to properly clean Formica countertops, this can result in damage to the finish and changes to the colour of your countertops. Avoid using abrasive substances or cleaning materials, and don't leave bottles containing those substances on top of your laminate countertops to avoid damage.
If you have a resistant stain you can use solvents that are made especially for laminate, or even a floor cleaner that doesn't have acid or alkali, such as a Neutral PH one. Denatured alcohol and ammonia based cleaners can also be used, as long as it's not very often and you are particularly careful not to let it pool on the edges, as it could damage the glue on the seams.
Select the next piece of Formica, fit it and glue it down. The final step in applying Formica over existing laminate is cleaning off the excess contact adhesive with lacquer thinner. Select the next piece of Formica, fit it and glue it down. The final step in applying Formica over existing laminate is cleaning off the excess contact adhesive with lacquer thinner. Formica countertops are made of a thin layer here of plastic material, the laminate, attached to a base of plywood or other materials using glue.