Replacing a kitchen countertop
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Replacing a kitchen countertop

    I am embarking on something that I have never done before. I know I can get some help from the vast knowledge within our membership here.

    Our house is estimated to be around 80 years old. I think the addition was added in the 1950's at which time the kitchen was remodelded along with the floors etc. in the entire house.

    The kitchen countertop is plywood with what I am guessing a formica sheet on top. It is trimmed with metal type edging and caulked. This is what is to be replaced.

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    The sink is double bowl cast iron and is 9" deep. We are reusing this as a direct replacement would be well over $600 and will not settle for a stainless steel sink. It is old enough that it is mounted with a Hudee ring (old timers should remember these).

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    I'm not sure if the ring will be reusable or not. Luckily I found a place that still makes them if need be -

    S4 Sink Frame

    --------------

    This is a very low budget operation so am planning on buying the cheapest countertop I can find which is a laminate piece. Anything will look better than what we have now.

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/VT-Dimensio...ertop/50240969

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    The cabinet was made in place and is an odd size. The length is 8'-7". I assume my only option is to buy a 10' top and cut it to size as these tops are available in 8' or 10' length.

    My initial question before I even make any more plans - how easy (or hard) is it to cut a countertop like this? Are there special blades I would need if using a circular saw? I will have to make a straight end cut plus the cutout for the sink.
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Stan, I installed one of those exact same countertops. It's very easy to cut with a standard jigsaw. Drill some starter holes first somewhere near the edge about an 1" or so away from you cut line. Use some good masking tape and mark your cut line on top of the tape. The tape will support the laminate as you cut it. Without the tape the laminate can and will easily chip. An alternative is to cut it from the bottom side as the teeth from the blade cut in the up stroke. Use a higher tooth count on your blade for a smoother cut. This is an easy DIY'er project that I'm sure you can handle. The bulk/weight of the countertop and running the jigsaw itself may present some challenges to you, but you know your limitations far better than I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    Stan, I installed one of those exact same countertops. It's very easy to cut with a standard jigsaw. Drill some starter holes first somewhere near the edge about an 1" or so away from you cut line. Use some good masking tape and mark your cut line on top of the tape. The tape will support the laminate as you cut it. Without the tape the laminate can and will easily chip. An alternative is to cut it from the bottom side as the teeth from the blade cut in the up stroke. Use a higher tooth count on your blade for a smoother cut. This is an easy DIY'er project that I'm sure you can handle. The bulk/weight of the countertop and running the jigsaw itself may present some challenges to you, but you know your limitations far better than I do.
    Ken gave you good advice. I would also add, you can get high quality jig saw blades with the teeth in the opposite direction. Best way to do it is to make a template for the pattern of your new sink. Position it where it should be and scribe the counter top. If you use a jig saw, keep extreme down pressure on it and go slow and steady as you cut. If you can clamp a straight edge all the better for the cut. The corners you can do free hand or use a hole saw of the right diameter. On kitchen jobs, I've seen guys actually use a router freehand. A freehand router can be a wild beast and there is not much room for error other than the overlay lip of the sink if it's over mounted. Don't recommend you use a router unless the counter top is removed and you can clamp a straight edge and know when to back off as you reach the corners.
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    I too have recently installed that same countertop from lowes. We replace the kitchen cabinets and counters here a year and a half ago. We ran into one slight challenge with that countertop, it was almost not deep enough for the back splash to sit against the wall because the floors/walls are a little out of plumb and this countertop doesn't hardly give you enough depth to accommodate that. My advise would be to get an accurate measurement of what you need for depth and verify this will work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    Stan, I installed one of those exact same countertops. It's very easy to cut with a standard jigsaw. Drill some starter holes first somewhere near the edge about an 1" or so away from you cut line. Use some good masking tape and mark your cut line on top of the tape. The tape will support the laminate as you cut it. Without the tape the laminate can and will easily chip. An alternative is to cut it from the bottom side as the teeth from the blade cut in the up stroke. Use a higher tooth count on your blade for a smoother cut. This is an easy DIY'er project that I'm sure you can handle. The bulk/weight of the countertop and running the jigsaw itself may present some challenges to you, but you know your limitations far better than I do.
    A piece of cake.

    Stan, I installed the same counter-top in my shop's kitchen. I did just about the same as Jason suggested above. After marking where the sink was to be located, I drilled a 1/2" hole(using a wood auger bit)(place tape prior to drilling) at each corner of the sink's location. I use a good quality tape on the top-side where the cut was to be made. I then transferred the marks to the opposite side(bottom) of the countertop, using a high speed jigsaw blade to make the cut.
    As Jason stated, the tape will help prevent the Formika from chipping.

    To cut the countertop overall length, I marked it underneath, placed tape on the top surface and used a plywood cutting blade(high tooth number) on my circular saw.

    Just take your time. As the old saying goes, measure twice, cut once.
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    flyweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firemark View Post
    Ken gave you good advice.
    Jason, did you see what Mark called you.
    Michael

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    Thanks guys. I never would have thought of using tape on the cut line - great advise! So what type of tape should I use?

    I would like to use a cordless 5-1/2" circular saw with a 30 tooth blade - will that work OK? If I need to buy a jig saw I will. I never knew there were blades with the teeth in the opposite direction.

    No matter what I will use to cut I will need to use some sort of clamp on guide. There is no way I could do it free hand.

    I will have to buy either saw - the circular saw or jig saw. Which will make it easiest for me? I know I will have many other uses for the little cordless circular saw so was going to buy that for this project.

    I plan on using the old top (plywood part) as a template for the sink hole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyweight View Post
    Jason, did you see what Mark called you.
    Sorry! It's those minor details that get me every time!
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firemark View Post
    Ken gave you good advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by flyweight View Post
    Jason, did you see what Mark called you.
    Maybe I'm getting close to Ken status?

    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    I will have to buy either saw - the circular saw or jig saw.
    Jigsaw, hands down. Do no try this with a circular saw.

    Stan, I have a jigsaw you can use, just ship it back when you are done. It's nothing fancy and I don't use it very often, but it'll work nicely for you and this job. Send me a PM if you'd like to go down this road.
    - Jason

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    flyweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Thanks guys. I never would have thought of using tape on the cut line - great advise! So what type of tape should I use?

    I would like to use a cordless 5-1/2" circular saw with a 30 tooth blade - will that work OK? If I need to buy a jig saw I will. I never knew there were blades with the teeth in the opposite direction.
    What??

    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    No matter what I will use to cut I will need to use some sort of clamp on guide. There is no way I could do it free hand.

    I will have to buy either saw - the circular saw or jig saw. Which will make it easiest for me? I know I will have many other uses for the little cordless circular saw so was going to buy that for this project.

    I plan on using the old top (plywood part) as a template for the sink hole.

    If you must buy one, or the other, the jigsaw will be your friend.

    As far tape, I used Painters Tape. Some folks use Duct Tape because of it's strength.
    Last edited by flyweight; 08-06-2017 at 05:58 PM.
    Michael

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    1984 JD 750
    1971 JD 15 Chainsaw ← hasn't run since ~1975

    Also have a bunch of other stuff.
    ---------------------------------------
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