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.