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Refinshing a countertop and adding a raised backsplash

Refinshing a countertop and adding a raised backsplash


  #1  
Old 08-16-12, 12:19 PM
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Question Refinshing a countertop and adding a raised backsplash

This may take a minute to explain. My house was built about 1970 and has a truly ugly yellow marble Formica countertop. It does not have an attached, raised backsplash. Our cabinets are custom and the countertop cannot be removed without destroying them. We're trying to remodel on a very tight budget.

The current backsplash area is a hideous metallic golden tile that has been painted white. The tiles come off very easily. The walls of my kitchen have been painted a peapod green I really love. I am thinking of removing the tile backsplash and painting the walls between the cupboards and retiling only behind the sink and stove.

We are planning on redoing the countertop. Right now we're leaning toward just paint and poly or Envirtex lite (like the Giani Granite kit). We know paint and poly isn't the best route, but it would be a huge improvement over what we have, even if it only lasts a few years. We may spend a bit more and use some restoration kit product, like Rustoleum counter transformations or Encore cement (my favorite), but right now price is an issue.

I would like it if my countertop had the raised, attached backsplash as well. I was thinking about adding a 1x4 board to the back of the countertop, affixed to the wall and caulked, holes filled, etc. (with something paintable of course) then finishing it along with the countertop. Will that work? Is there some reason I can't add a board as a backsplash as long as it's primed and painted or whatever I use?

I appreciate any input. Budget is the biggest issue, as replacing the horrible harvest gold sink and leaking faucet will take a good portion of the money we have to spend. I've lived with this kitchen for 10 years and I can't do it anymore!!!

Thanks so much for any help!
 
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Old 08-16-12, 01:48 PM
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I don't understand why removing the counter top would destroy the cabinets. Can you explain that?
 
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Old 08-16-12, 01:55 PM
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The only thing I can tell you about finishing a countertop is a couple people reported good results with the Rustoleum product a while back.

I think you backsplash idea sounds fine as long as the wood is properly sealed against water.

Are you sure about the counters and the cabinets? It would be unusual to not be able to remove the countertop and keep the cabinets.
 
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Old 08-16-12, 02:48 PM
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I'm waitin' in the wings for an answer to that question, too. Countertops go in after the cabinets are in place, so their sequence of removal would be first. Hey, harvest gold sink???? You can probably sell it for a nice price to the right person doing retro's, if it is in good shape. Need a harvest gold tub/shower, or avacado shower to go with that??? Just kidding, but I got both.
 
  #5  
Old 08-16-12, 03:05 PM
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The cabinets are nailed, not screwed, to the walls top and bottom. The countertop is nailed to the cabinets. In places you can see when you take out a drawer, that the nails are easily 2 inches long. The nails holding the cabinet to the walls are even longer. There's a LOT of them. In addition, after the bottom cabinets and countertops were put in, one of the top cabinets was put in that goes all the way down to the countertop, literally resting on it. The only way to remove that part of the countertop is to remove the upper cabinet, which means prying it off the wall. (There's a ledge in front of the cabinet) It's possible, remotely, that a good contractor could remove it without utterly destroying it, but the one guy we had look didn't think it was likely. In any event, we can't afford the contractor or a new countertop. The $250 we'll pay for a refinishing kit will be pushing it right now. The one bid we got for new countertops, ages ago, was for them to cut the countertop around that cabinet and then just put the new one with a big cut out around it. It's academic, since we can't afford a contractor.
 
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Old 08-17-12, 03:58 AM
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"It's academic, since we can't afford a contractor"........hence you are here. We're here to help you do this yourself, so don't get frustrated with our questions. Remember you are there, we are somewhere else, and your profile doesn't say exactly where.
Is there any way you can post a few pictures of this countertop, including the upper cabinet that sits on the countertop? I know it is pushing it, but a pix of how the countertops are fastened to the cabinets would help, too. I am not trying to sway you from refinishing the countertops, but I am skeptical of the longevity of the fix. In addition, I have retrofitted many countertops with non-conventional methods and had good results, which I will bring up if the pix show what we need. Cost would be far less than new laminate or especially stone products.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/electrical-c-d-c/400914-how-put-pictures-your-post.html

 
  #7  
Old 08-17-12, 09:18 AM
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Here's some photos.

Wow, I didn't mean to sound frustrated or *itchy, I just was explaining. Although I've been told lately (yesterday as a matter of fact) that I apparently scare and intimidate people...sorry! I really do appreciate any help. I took a lot of photos. The first show the underside of the counter, including the place where you can see they missed with the nails, they're big suckers. The next are the counter where the upper cabinet hits it. As you can see, we lose mail under it. Not good. Then I took a close up of the counter behind the sink, pretty, huh? No real caulk to speak of. Finally, just a couple of the kitchen as a whole. (Excuse the mess ) The other thing we'd love to do is replace the teeny 28" drop in stove, but we saw a contractor about cutting out the cabinets and he said he couldn't without tearing up the countertop, another reason we want a easy, cheap fix since we may be removing the countertop in the future when the stove completely craps out. (I'm not completely sure I believe him and may attack it with a jigsaw some day, when we have the money to hire someone to fix it if I mess it up.)

Anyway, the counter is the issue now. We simply can't afford to remove it entirely. We had thought of trying to relaminate it, (Can you even put new over old?) but I'm worried about it. If the epoxy is unforgiving I can see us screwing that up and having to tear it off and then we have to buy more and more....you get the idea. I don't think that deep corner comes stock either.

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Old 08-17-12, 09:40 AM
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While I've only done it once, those tops get cut all the time. Usually they have a template for the sink, put masking tape over the cut line and then use a jig saw BUT it will take a lot more than cutting out the top to accommodate a wider stove. Cutting the cabinets will be the big job.... and then the hood vent might look strange if it doesn't match the placement of the stove.

I don't have any confidence in paint adhering well to formica. If any paint peels and gets into your food preparation

I've seen cabinets that were nailed to wall but never in anything built in the last 50 yrs or so.
 
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Old 08-17-12, 09:41 AM
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Don't worry. You're not scaring or intimidating anyone on here. Most are professionals at what they do and need to know exactly what's involved before they can offer any help.
 
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Old 08-17-12, 09:45 AM
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Does that mean I can quit shakin' in my boots
 
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Old 08-17-12, 10:21 AM
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Boo!

marksr, you're seeing it now! That second picture, with all the nails, is the bottom cabinet nailed to the wall and they're all like that. When we redid our shower we could see the back side of that wall and the nails are about 3" long! So you see what I mean about not being able to remove them. Luckily, we like the cabinets for the most part. We might revarnish them or something.

I understand the concern about paint and if we do that, we would either do several - like 10 - coats of polyacryllic over it. Or we might use the Envirotex epoxy, which is used on commercial tables and bar tops and I'm sure it doesn't flake off.

Can we put new laminate over the old? I mean, glue down the thin veneer? It's actually not our first choice, because we'd like to get rid of the black line on the edge. But I know it would be cheaper than a new top...The lazy susan corner worries me with that, it's really deep.

Folks, we're complete novices here. We managed to put in a new shower surround, but that's it. I'm a bit handier, or more fearless, than my husband, but not be much.
 

Last edited by Lilion; 08-17-12 at 10:22 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-17-12, 12:56 PM
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While I've seen it done, I've never glued down any formica. It's pretty much a one shot get it right the first time deal. Contact cement grabs pretty much instantly. I don't know if you can go over it with more formica.
 
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Old 08-17-12, 07:58 PM
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I appreciate the input all and we have decided to refinish using the Giani Granite paint kit. gianigranite.com. We spent most of the day shopping and everything from new laminate glued down to the Rustoleum stuff will be $250 and up and we can get the Giani for $50 per kit and two kits will do out kitchen and bathroom. For the price, if it lasts a year we'll be able to figure out something else, but the stuff has good reviews. It'll be a day or two before we get to it, so if anyone has other ideas, I'll be happy to listen. We can always return the paint. And thank you.
 
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Old 08-18-12, 07:06 PM
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if anyone has other ideas, I'll be happy to listen.
Two thoughts. One is that you might use a stained piece of wood molding on the edge of the countertop. The other is that poured-in-place concrete can create a stunning countertop when stained and sealed, and allows for forming a curved backsplash, a drip edge an eased lip for an undermount sink, or whatever you like. Probably more of an idea for the next remodel than the current one.
 
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Old 08-18-12, 07:30 PM
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Actually, our neighbors, who's house is almost exactly like ours, same kitchen cabinets, had concrete installed over their existing countertops a few years ago and it is beautiful. I found a product on-line called Encore, which a do-it-yourself concrete treatment, but couldn't find any place that carried it. Anyway, I expect that this will give us time to save up for having that done. The neighbors paid quite a bit for theirs. I think we'll probably do just that.
 
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Old 08-18-12, 08:01 PM
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Actually, our neighbors, who's house is almost exactly like ours, same kitchen cabinets, had concrete installed over their existing countertops a few years ago and it is beautiful. I found a product on-line called Encore, which a do-it-yourself concrete treatment, but couldn't find any place that carried it. Anyway, I expect that this will give us time to save up for having that done. The neighbors paid quite a bit for theirs. I think we'll probably do just that.
How much do you enjoy doing your own work?

Here are some pages you might enjoy while you're contemplating and planning this:

Concrete for Counters, Sinks, & Floors - Old House Journal
Making Concrete Countertops - Fine Homebuilding
Counter Points - This Old House
 
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Old 08-19-12, 01:17 AM
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Oh, don't worry, I don't intimidate easily, and just wanted you to understand as Rebecca stated, we just need all the information we can glean from you before we give you a path to follow.
I am assuming you will be replacing that metal rimmed sink, right??
While it may not suit your taste, I have tiled countertops. An example of a buffet is below. I can't find the copy of my rental cabin countertops, but they are of dark slate like 12x12 tile with a pencil thin gout line and unsanded black grout. The banding is oak and would cover the edge of your countertop, and you could put the tile up as a backsplash as well. Tile is cheap, oak isn't. But budgeting a couple hundred bucks you could do it as well. I am not familiar with the overcoating for formica, so I can't say what it's longevity will be.

Attachment 2739
 
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Old 08-19-12, 07:15 AM
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Larry, that is a lovely piece. Thank you for showing it. I certainly have something to think about. Like I said, I don't expect this will last for years and while I am still going with the paint, I think I'll start playing around with tile and see what I think of it. I wouldn't want my permanent countertop to be my first project. LOL. I'm actually going to try doing some tile I got at a secondhand store on a piece of board before I do the backsplash.

Again, thank you all so much for the suggestions.
 
 

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