How to Build a Custom Laminate Countertop Part 1

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What You'll Need
4x8-foot sheets of particle board or plywood
Measuring tape
Chalk line
Table saw

Whether you would like to replace an existing countertop or add a new one to a room in your home, knowing how to build your own custom laminate countertop can be a very rewarding experience. Not only will you save hundreds of dollars by doing the work yourself, you will also experience the pride that only a DIY project can provide. This 4 part series of articles will walk you step by step through the process of building your own custom laminate countertop. If you have the required tools, the process is not nearly as difficult as you may think. Follow the simple instructions below to get started.

Choose Location for Countertop

First, you need to choose a suitable location for your custom laminate countertop. If you're replacing an existing countertop, then the choice is easy. However, if you'll be adding a new counter to a room in your home, you'll need to consider other furniture or traffic areas in the room. When considering the location for the countertop, you should be aware that the common specifications for kitchen counters is normally 26 inches for the depth of the countertop. For bathrooms, laminate countertops are usually 22 inches deep. Although you can create the custom counter as deep as you would like, this is the size that will fit most types of prefabricated cabinet bases.

Measure Dimensions for Countertop

Once you've selected an area to install the new counter, you can begin measuring for the installation of the new countertop. As stated earlier, if you'll be placing the countertop on top of a standard size cabinet base, choose a depth of 22 inches or 26 inches. You can extend the edges of the counter a bit wider than the width of the cabinet case; however, you may want to measure the length of the cabinets you will install underneath the countertop in order to come up with good measurements.

Cut Wood for Base

Set the width of the guide fence on your table saw to either 22 or 26 inches (or another custom setting if you have a custom size cabinet base). Set the blade depth on the table saw so that is just slightly higher than the thickness of the wood you will be cutting. You can use either particleboard or plywood. Plywood is much more durable and will hold up for many years. However, particleboard is much less costly and is an alternative that's easy to work with. Cut as many sheets of wood as you need to cover the entire length of the countertop you'll be creating.

Cut Wood for Edge Facing

Adjust the cutting guide fence on your table saw so that the cutting width is 1½ inches. Then, cut as many pieces of wood as you need to line the entire perimeter of the edge facing on the countertop. Remember not only to cut pieces for the front edge face but also cut pieces for sides or edges that will not be butted up against the wall and will be exposed.