How To: Make Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops may not be the most beautiful option, but they certainly are cheap, durable and DIY friendly.  Which is exactly why we chose a laminate top for our laundry room.  To make your own countertop, you’ll need:

3/4 inch thick Plywood, MDF or OSB, enough for two layers.  The top layer must be particle board.

Laminate sheeting (ours was 4 feet by 8 feet)

1 1/2 inch tall by 3/4 inch thick material to cover the edges

3M Fastbond Contact Adhesive

Foam roller to spread the glue

Heavy roller to press firmly into place

To start, create a solid surface of plywood.  Secure two pieces together to create a thickness of 1 1/2 inches.  Fill any holes with wood filler and sand smooth.  Place the sheet of laminate on top of the area and cut roughly to size.  Ben used a router.

Attach your 1 1/2 inch tall edging on all exposed sides.  We used oak, but anything will do.

Then, pour some glue on the back of the laminate sheet and spread in a thin layer with a roller.  This stuff is stinky, so you should wear a mask and/or work in a well-ventilated room.  You may need to let the glue set up for a few minutes.  Read the instructions on the glue.

Then, place wooden dowels every 8 to 12 inches to keep the laminate from touching the top before you’re ready.   Flip the laminate over and start at one end of the piece, pressing into place.  Use the roller to smooth the surface and bond securely.  Work in only one direction to prevent shifting and bubbling.

We placed weights on top, just to prevent any movement.  After adequate dry time, usually 24 to 72 hours, use a router along the exposed edges to clean the edges of the wood and laminate up.  We cut ours to a clean, kid-friendly 45 degree angle.  Run the router along the edges until smooth and uniform.

With the edges cleaned up, fill any nail holes, sand, and paint or stain to finish.

Because Ben installs laminate counters in the apartments, we already had access to all the supplies.  Fortunately, we also got a piece of white laminate from the apartments because the owner didn’t like it.  I don’t love it, because it has a tan cross hatch pattern.

See what I mean?  But, it isn’t noticeable unless you’re super close.  I wouldn’t choose it, but it was free, so it will work.  Fortunately, it is light to help brighten up the small basement space.

Oh, and here is what our laundry room looks like today.  A total mess.

You can see the installed drawer fronts, but we still have to finish the cabinet doors and shelving.  We had a slight change of plans.  You’ll also notice that we haven’t sanded the sheet rock yet, but paint will go on those walls someday.

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7 thoughts on “How To: Make Laminate Countertops

  1. We did this for our irregularly shaped basement kitchen countertop. Unfortunately, 6 weeks after the installation, the laminate sheet has bubbled right down the centre. We think the plywood has shrunk or something, because what used to be beautiful and perfect very clearly no longer fits properly. Since Ben has experience, do you have any suggestions on how to fix this? We’re hoping we’ll be able to pop the laminate sheet off, reglue, and just file the edges back again.

    Looks like it’s going to be a very useful space once you get finished!

    1. Hi Nette,

      Well, because we can’t see it and don’t know how you applied it, we can’t definitely tell you the best solution. However, if your laminate or plywood had any dirt or grease, the glue wouldn’t stick. Also, your glue could have been bad. Or, the glue didn’t ‘flash’ (set and get tacky) properly or it didn’t ‘flash’ enough. Did you roll it in one direction or from each end toward the center? If you roll from both ends, you’ll probably have an air bubble in the center. Ben suggested using dowels (he uses mini blind slats) between the plywood and the laminate. By spacing the slats every 8 inches or so, you can start rolling on one end, pulling out one slat at a time to prevent the two from touching and sticking. But, it sounds like you’ll have to pull up at least the laminate and possibly the plywood.

      Hope it helps, but you may want to Google around just to see what other info you can find!
      Amanda

    1. Robert,

      It sure is! That is actually the reason we’re working on the basement. Ben ‘needed’ a place to work on reloading and the laundry room was the best fit. So, technically, this is his office.

      Thanks!
      Amanda

    1. Emily,

      So glad you found this helpful!! Yep, you definitely could use a granite looking countertop instead of the white laminate. Please do let me know how your counters go!

      Thanks!
      Amanda

  2. Great job Amanda and Ben! I am enjoying seeing the transformation of your lovely home. My hub and I have been in the “process” a while now too 😀 Seems like it never ends sometimes…..

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