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Replace Formica or melamine countertops

Bet you didn't know that a new Formica Lifeseal countertop will only cost you around R850 for a 3,6 metre length. Not bad when you think that this is long enough for most small kitchens. And the best part of all... you can replace your kitchen countertops easily in a day!

 

Formica Lifeseal countertops are the most affordable way to update a dated kitchen - and the easiest option if you plan to do-it-yourself.

I am one of those homeowners that gets bored quickly. When I'm tired of a look I like to be able to make a quick change to update or refresh. Formica Lifeseal countertops allow you to give your kitchen a refresh as and when you can afford to.

Countertop and edging strips
Angle and flat braces
Wood screws
Silicone sealer and caulking gun

Crowbar - if cabinets glued or nailed in place
Belt sander and 80-grit sanding belts
Scribing tool
Drill/Driver plus assorted drill and screw bits

Step 1

In an older home you may find that the countertops are nailed to the cabinets, in which case you will need to pry them off with a crowbar. Most newer tops are screwed or glued down. In the case of screws, these are easily removed, but for a glued top you will need to pry this off without damaging the cabinets underneath. To do this you can use a paint scraper (with solid handle) and a hammer to loosen the glued areas to make it easier to lift off.

If you are removing countertop where the sink is located, shut off the water supply valves and disconnect the tubes to the taps. Disconnect the sink drain. Pry up the edge of the sink and slide wood blocks under to provide space for a handhold to be able to lift out the sink.

With the top removed you can now check to see what needs to be done before installing the new countertop. Damaged carcass sections should be replaced, and where cross supports are not fitted, add these to ensure the cabinets can bear the weight of the new countertop.

Step 2

Careful measuring is the most critical step in any countertop installation. Make a sketch of your kitchen and then measure the width and depth of the cabinets and record these dimensions on the sketch. Include the sink, stove and refrigerator locations.

The ends of countertops that don’t butt into a wall will have to be finished with matching laminate edging strips, so be sure to indicate where needed.

Step 3

Using a scribing tool allows you to fit the countertop tightly to uneven walls and out-of-square corners.

If you know your walls aren't flush, be sure to order your worktops with an extra 10mm of length to allow for scribing and fitting.

Step 4

Use a belt sander and 80-grit sanding belts to sand to the line at ends.

Place the worktop in place to check the fit. Make sure the front edge of the countertop is parallel to the face of the cabinets.

Step 5

Align the top of cut joins by tapping on a wood block placed on the high side. Tighten the bolts when these sections are flush.

Secure the tops with angle braces attached to the sides of carcass frames and base of countertop.

Join the mitres underneath with flat braces.

Any gaps between joins can be filled with countertop joining strips.

Butt or Countertop Jointing Strips are available in a variety of styles, colours and finishes. You will find at your local Builders Warehouse.

Finishing

Use silicone sealer in a caulking gun to seal the back edge of your countertop. This not only provides protection from spills, it's far easier to keep your new countertop clean and hygienic.