• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to laminate a countertop.


    1 Glue and nail together two layers of ¾-inch-thick particleboard to create a substrate for counter.
    2 Rough-cut laminate pieces to size using a trim router fitted with a ½-inch, carbide-tipped straight cutter.
    3 Brush contact cement onto front edge of particleboard substrate and to back side of 2-inch-wide laminate strip; allow cement to dry.
    4 Stick laminate to front edge of counter, then press it down with a J-roller. (If laminating counter ends, cover them with laminate first, then laminate front edge.)
    5 Use trim router to cut away excess laminate.
    6 Sand laminate flush with substrate using a belt sander fitted with 100-grit abrasive belt.
    7 Spread contact cement onto backside of laminate top and to top of counter using a 3-inch paint roller; wait for cement to dry.
    8 Place several wood dowels across cemented substrate, then lay laminate on top.
    9 Slide out dowels, starting at center, one at a time while pressing down the laminate.
    10 Use J-roller to press laminate into the cement.
    11 Trim the overhanging edges of the top laminate using a trim router.
    12 File the edges of the top laminate smooth.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires specific skills and tools, but nothing that can't be learned quickly
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      Shopping List

      1. ¾-inch particleboard,

      for building counter substrate

      2. Plastic laminate

      3. Contact cement,

      for adhering plastic laminate

      4. Carpenter's glue,

      for gluing together particleboard substrate

      5. Wood dowels,

      used as spacers when setting laminate top

      6. 100-grit abrasive belt,

      for belt sander