Ask This Old House TV // Season 8 // Episode 11

Ask TOH | Laminate Countertop, Garden Edging

General contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O'Connor show how to build and install new laminate kitchen countertops. Then Tom and Kevin, along with landscaping contractor Roger Cook and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey ask, "What is it?" Next, Roger helps a homeowner create a clean border between a garden bed and a lawn using steel edging.

Building and installing a laminate countertop
Tom and Kevin remove and replace an old laminate kitchen countertop. The old laminate was glued onto a particleboard substrate in a factory and was damaged due to water and faulty installation. Instead of particleboard, Tom decided to use AC grade fir plywood as a substrate because it will hold up better to moisture. After scribing the plywood to the walls and cutting it to the proper size, Tom attached the laminate to the plywood using contact cement and a "j-roller" to eliminate any bubbles under the laminate. With the laminate glued to the plywood, Tom trimmed the edges flush using a small router and a bearing-guided bit, commonly called a "laminate trimmer." With the countertop installed, Tom set the sink into the opening and the installation was complete.

Where to find it?
Laminate installation tools and contact cement can be found at most home centers.

The laminate that Tom installed was manufactured by:

Formica (color #3510 grass)

What is it?
The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.

Where to find it?
Tom showed an automatic swimming pool cleaner manufactured by Leisure Vac (

Installing steel edging around a garden bed
Roger helped a homeowner eliminate and prevent grass from growing in his juniper bed. For prevention, Roger used a "half-moon edger" to create an air space between the grass and juniper. He then installed steel edging, which is held in place with steel stakes. To eliminate the existing grass in the juniper bed, Roger applied a systemic herbicide called "glyphosate" using a foam paintbrush on each individual grass plant, being careful not to touch the surrounding juniper plants.

Roger installed steel edging, which is available at professional landscape supply centers, including:

Shemin Landscape Supply Center

Roger used a systemic herbicide to kill the grass plants in the juniper bed.

Roundup Weed & Grass Killer
Manufacturer: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

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