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    LESLIE:  Time for some kitchen counter help with Becky in Minnesota.  What’s going on at your money pit?

    BECKY:  Hi, Tom and Leslie.  I have an old kitchen counter.  It’s laminate and the pattern on it is a butcher block pattern.  And the top, the varnish, is peeling on it and I’m just wondering how we could fix that without replacing the countertops or is there anything I can do to jazz up the countertop? Maybe paint over it or any suggestions you’ve got.

    TOM:  Well, first of all, laminate countertop does not have a “varnish” on it. 

    BECKY:  OK.

    TOM:  So if the surface is wearing off then it’s actually the laminate that’s wearing, Becky; so there’s nothing that you can do to restore that.  Two ideas come to mind.  Number one – you can relaminate an existing laminate countertop.  You can put another layer of laminate on top of that for probably less than the cost of replacing the entire top.  And the second thing that she could do, Leslie, is to tile it.

    LESLIE:  Yeah, tiling over laminate is extremely easy and it’s a great do-it-yourself project; especially if you go with those smaller inch-square or those ¼-inch mosaic tiles that are on the mesh backing, just because it’s so simple to do and you end up with really very few cuts that need to be made and, the most part, you can do them with those simple mosaic tile snippers so it’s all really manageable.  And then the front edge is easy to do as well.  You can get a thicker border tile that just has a good, smooth backboard that you can find at any tile store.  Or if you want to continue those smaller mosaics, there’s like a metal edge that you find at the home center.  Not sure if it’s in the tile section.  I’ve found it at The Home Depot a gajillion times when I’m doing this but I don’t remember the section.  And it’s got like a flat edge that would go along the counter edge and then it sort of dips down into a tray on the bottom and that would be like the buffer to stop those tiles from falling off.

    BECKY:  I am very excited about that.  I never really thought you could do it that way.  What an easy project that could be.

    LESLIE:  Yeah, and it looks great and you can really change the entire look.  Now, if you want to just change the laminate, Formica, Lamin-Art, Wilsonart; those are all companies that make laminates.  You can find them through a variety of distributors.  And the laminates today I mean really look fantastic and you can get some super-edgy, earthy style sort of designs or colors that you might be jazzed about, too.

    BECKY:  And they can go right over top of the existing countertop?

    TOM:  Yes, they can.  You need to rough it up just a little bit but the contact cement will adhere the new laminate right to the old, Becky.  OK?

    BECKY:  Alright.  Thank you so much.  I really appreciate it.

    TOM:  You’re welcome.  Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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