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Thread: Kitchen countertops

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26

    Question Kitchen countertops

    My wife wants new countertops since the old ones are swelling up in spots. I don't know if she wants me to finish painting and carpeting the house first or not, but here's my questions. The current countertops are swelling up where water seeped into the seams and got into the particle board. Basically the countertops are shaped like a 'U' with the sink at the base of the 'U'. The legs open up as they move away from the sink. Apparently 2 sheets of laminate were used. A 4' x 8'piece covers the sink and the left side while a 30" x 8' piece covers the right side. I don't plan on replacing the cabinets. My wife uses the countertop to cut and prepare food on. Is plywood and laminate the best way to go? I could put tile on, but it seems that would be harder to keep clean. Would it be better to try to cut 3 pieces of premade countertops and get both seams to line up perfectly?

    Keith Z.

  2. #2

    Talking My 2 cents worth....

    Keith, all of the things you mentioned are viable options, but if it were me, I would build them myself. There are tons of laminate available now, even the solid surface material that is all the rage is available in thin stock, which can be laminated to a substrate. I would stay away from a tile countertop.....they look great in Better Homes & Gardens, but it is a maintenance nightmare. Not to mention the fact that the grout holds bacteria, which is not a good thing for food preparation areas. There are many more options when building your countertops yourself. I like the look of laminate, edge banded with 3/4" Oak, or other hardwood, and then Chamfered. For building yourself, I would go with Plywood, I use A/B or A/C, (one side sanded) and it works just fine. MDF is OK too, but the moisture will effect it more than plywood, and I just have never liked working with Particle Board. Counter Tops are a pretty straight forward project with a little careful measuring and planning, and with a little imagination, they can be made very unique. Good Luck with your project!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    central N.J.
    Posts
    7
    Keith--You didn't say exactly how big the overall counter top is, but Formica [the laminate I'm most familiar with] is available in sheets up to 5' x12'. You would probably need help instlaaling your new countertop, and a one piece counter does create more waste, but IMO it's a better job and there are no joints to leak. I also like a wood built-up edge on counters[mine are cherry].
    SHEP

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26
    I was thinking that I was going to make them from plywood and laminate. Tile just seems too hard to keep clean. I thought about granite tiles butted together with a touch of silicone caulk between them, but I still would have a 'grout' line to catch things. I was hoping I had missed another choice as I think it would be very difficult to cut 3 pieces of premade counterop and get the seams to look good and tight. I would definately need 2 pieces of laminate as a 5' wide piece wouldn't span the base of the 'U' by the sink. Boy did I just blow it... I was taking a few measurements and the wife saw me and said "Are you going to do that now??"... and now she wants me to move some pieces of the cabinets around. I might have to change the cabinets now, after all. Wives sure are good for keeping us busy... but such good food comes out of the kitchen that I might have to buy a new tool or two to let me redo the kitchen;-)

    Thanks for your replies...

    Keith Z.

  5. #5

    Concrete?

    Keith:

    You may want to consider making concrete countertops. (Yes, I'm serious...)

    Taunton (the Fine WoodWorking publishers) has a book on the subject that is very good. I don't know if it would fit your decor or taste but I'm certain it's something you could do. I plan to put them in my new house when I build it.

    -Kevin


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26
    I hadn't considered that option... thanks, I think... my wife saw your picture and really liked the kitchen. I think she's getting ideas :-(

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26
    ... and now she's telling me she wants a deeper sink... feels like its going to be one of those ever-expanding projects... kinda like my shop...

  8. #8
    You're doomed...

    I have a dresser in the shop I've been trying to complete for almost threes years. During that time, I have installed new flooring in 2 bathrooms, the kitchen and living room. Installed an oak staircase, new doors, trim/casings etc., re-painted six rooms and installed shelving in two closets. New roof... Vinyl siding... Repaired new flooring in the kitchen after repairing the dishwasher that leaked all over it... Repaired the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom after kids flooded the upstairs bathroom...

    Every single time I dig that thing out to start working on it, she comes up with some new project for me that must be done on the house first. ...and I, dutifully, put it away again. We're all doomed...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26
    My story isn't quite as bad as yours... I've had carpet and pad sitting in the shop in a corner for about a year that's supposed to go in the house. Finally got the spare bedroom painted and carpeted. I've been working on my shop for 6 years now... can't afford to finish it. My wife wants some walls in the dining room moved to make more room (at the expense of our bedroom and closet). Of course, then we'll need new flooring in the kitchen and dining room ... can't afford that right now. Can't forget to factor in car repairs. Changed the starter solenoid (FWD, V6) in a car... only took me 2 hours to get the starter off so I could change it... and longer to put it back in. 2 weeks later the starter went out. Then my son drove my truck when there wasn't oil pressure... hello knocking sounds. Rebuilt engine; new motor mounts, starter, fuel pump & filter, water pump, thermostat, hoses, belts, radiator, 8 injectors ($40 ea), cap, rotor, plugs, good cables and some others I can't remember. Couldn't afford those either... but then fixed the body so it would last with the engine. Bright side is that I like this truck (1986 F150) and now it runs great(2500 miles on the engine)!!! Another car is in the garage (part of the shop) until I can find where the water is leaking into the passenger compartment. I'm not sure what I can do, but I suggest you put the dresser in a corner and build a wall around it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    central N.J.
    Posts
    7
    HEY-- Come on , guys! If my wife ever reads this post, I'm going to be in trouble. You're getting way too much done. Pace yourselves! Seriously, I make my living as a carpenter and never seem to have enough time for all the projects around my own house.<LOL>.Every once in a while ,She Who Must Be Obeyed threatens to hire someone to work on our house. That's when I know it's time to get some work done.<G>
    SHEP

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Ocala Florida
    Posts
    107
    Good morning Kevin, RUSTYNAIL here!!

    As an ex cabinetmaker for about 30 years, I was surfing the web about different types of countertop materials. I have built hundreds and hundreds of mica laminated tops, a few "CORIN" tops, had some granite tops installed for me, but while surfing I came across an artcle about the concrete tops about a year ago. Boy I sure wish I would have see something like this 20 years ago. It may have been around at that time, but never came acrossed it.

    If I was back (retired) in the shop, I sure be would looking hard at this kind of tops to build.

    Last I heard (about 10 years ago) that just the "CORIN" material to build the tops was around $30.00 per square foot. So it could be at $40.00 now. So maybe the concrete tops may be cheaper to build now. I think if someone want to build this kind of top, they should take a hard look at this possibility.
    RUSTYNAIL

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    4,323
    I believe that both Fine Homebuilding (also Taunton) and The Journal of Light Construction have run articles in the past 18 months about concrete countertops. The first one I read just floored me. Those things are awesome!! Heavy, but I think a neater looking surface than Corian or some of the others.

    Jason

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    26
    I've started reading about concrete countertops at Concretenetwork.com. They say you shouldn't cut on them ... won't damage the concrete, but could damage the sealer. Still looking into them ... while I'm looking I can't be working!!! Unforturnately Mr. Murphy is still visiting us. Last night the glass top of our stove cracked. After taxes it's going to cost me over $250 for a replacement

  14. #14

    Concrete as a cutting surface

    It's pretty much common sense that your wouldn't want to cut directly on the concrete surface. There are few surfaces you would want to. Forget the potntial damage to the countertop surface for a moment. Doing so would make your knives dull...

    Many of the concrete countertops I've seen have recesses molded into them to hold cutting boards or serve as drainage areas for dishes. This sort of thing is not easily accomplished in other materials except solid surface material (Corian, Avonite and others) where it can be done during fabrication. I plan to build a removable cutting board into my countertop right next to a sink with a garbage disposal installed. This way, when doing food prep the waste can be pushed right into the sink. The other approach would be to create an opening in the surface with a can beneath to catch the waste.

    IMO, there isn't a better cutting surface than hard maple. The board can be removed for cleaning. When it becomes unsightly, I can just make a replacement. There has been some disagreement about sanitation when using wood cutting surfaces. If this is of concern to you, a UHMW plastic cutting surface could be substituted but I don't think it would look nearly as nice as maple.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    tulsa ok
    Posts
    68

    counter tops

    have several friends in the countertop biz. One in marble & granite and the other in concrete. granite looks great and durable but expensive-about 150$ or more a running foot.

    Another buddy in the concrete bus has done several countertops. Sometimes the color is mixed in the concrete and poured and some others are poured and finished and then stained and sealed. The stained are brighter. You have to make some formswith plywood and wonderboard underlayment. the edge profiles are mostly the types used when they pour swimming pool decks (made of styrofoam). also have rebar for strength. Takes all day and half the night as you must work the finish very smooth. His first efforts were learning experiences so I would suggest a laundry room countertop first before graduating to kitchen.
    bob boake-Tulsa OK

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