Put Formica laminate sheet on existing kitchen counters?

The Formica laminate countertops in our 1987 galley-style kitchen are worn through the surface. The countertops are structurally solid and the wear is cosmetic. I would like to glue new Formica laminate sheet onto the existing counters.

The problem is that the counters are linear and reach the wall on three sides. The front edge of the new laminate would need to be trimmed with a router which would run into the wall. This would make it impossible to trim the edge of the laminate with a router.

DH thinks that the countertops were glued onto the cabinets and can’t be taken off.

Is there a way to make this project possible?


A small coping saw would easily remove what the router would not. What does the front edge of the counter look like now? Is there a metal band edge or is the edge straight with a Formica finish on the front?



If I understand, you are just worried about he last 3 or 4 inches on each end of the front edge when the router is near the walls and can’t get all the way in. Use the router to do all you can and then use a smaller tool, such as a dremel with a router bit to do most of the remainder. You’ll still have an inch or less remaining that you can get with a dremel cutoff wheel, a hack saw, a file or some combination.



The edge is straight with a Formica finish on the front. The Formica company has decorative edge trim that could substitute for this.


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You can be sure the laminate was glued top the counter top. The counter top under the laminate is probably particle board, perhaps two layers in places. I would guess it is attached to the cabinets with screws. If they are from underneath you might be able to see that from inside the cabinets with drawers and shelves removed. (A phone camera in video mode, slowly waved around from vantage points your head can not reach, can reveal a lot.)

However putting new laminate over the old should work. I found a bit of advice on that.

If you’re installing over existing laminate, the old countertop surface should be thoroughly sanded and cleaned to remove all debris and contaminants. The sanding helps to remove any existing glossy coating and roughs up the surface for better bonding with the countertop adhesive.