Learn how to relaminate a damaged Formica or laminate countertop. Listen to Tom's tips for refreshing a vanity top with cigarette burns that have yellowed and deformed the laminate, without having to replace the entire damaged vanity or sink.
LESLIE: Mary needs some help with a vanity. What’s going on? How can we help you?
MARY: Question. We’ve got a house that’s about 25 years old. It has the original vanity in the bathroom and unfortunately, over the years, people have put cigarettes on the edge of the vanity. Now, I call it hard plastic; I don’t know what the technical term for the material is but is there any way to restore that so we don’t have to replace the whole sink?
TOM: Well, not really. If you had a chip or a ding or something like that or a very sort of contained, burned-out area, it’s possible that you could use a laminate patching material and try to get something that’s close in color and fix it that way. But generally, from a burn like that, it typically sort of gets yellowish and deforms it.
TOM: It’s very hard to repair that. What you could do, however, is instead of replacing it you could relaminate it ; so essentially you could purchase new Formica or new laminate and you could basically put the new stuff over the old stuff without removing the old material. You can rough it up a little bit and contact cement it right on.
LESLIE: You would have to pop out the sink, though.
TOM: Yeah. You’d have to pop out the sink for sure but you wouldn’t have to replace  the top. So I actually did that to an entire countertop at a house that I owned once and it came out great.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And relaminating, Mary, it’s not a very difficult project. What you would do is you would remove the sink and then use contact cement on both sides; on the back side of the new laminate and on the top of the old laminate. Sort of let it become tacky and then you want to lay it on top of the existing vanity. And then, what you can do is once that’s dried and secure, you can take a router and plunge-cut the area where your sink will go and cut the edges and then you can trim up the sides.
And if you look at companies like Formica  or Lamin-Art  or Wilsonart , go to their websites and you can see that the options today, I mean, are truly gorgeous. I saw at Builders Show last year – we saw some beautiful Formica options that looked like bamboo, that looked like butcher block – I mean, things that sort of were very clean and very Zen; gorgeous colors. So you’d be quite surprised at the changes that the laminate countertops have really come.
MARY: Well, I think that’s worth trying and I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.