Nirie

painting formica

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Spouse says old formica in galley has to go. Not enough time to get into that project this year- leaving for Carribbean in 3 weeks.

So for a quicky can I get Awlgrip, Perfection or other to stick on old porous formica?

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Formica over your old surface.  It was made to be non porous.  The stuff is cheap and if you can find an old countertop guy they can do it quickly.

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If you have time you can as Guerdon says just Formica over the old, 80 grit sand the old laminate to give the glue some ' tooth' , contact cement a new layer on top.

If you need to paint it, sand it with 180-200 so there is a mechanical bond and use a high adhesion primer first before the top coat. Make sure the chemistry is compatible. 

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Problem with putting in another layer of Formica is that it probably has fiddles, edges, moldings and fittings like sinks, gimbals, and hinges that have to be removed first, and then re-installed. Then, surprise! The thickness of the new material may make hinges and such no longer fit properly afterwards. If you want to work inside the edgings, getting the new stuff cut and then glued exactly in place is not easy, even for pros.  When they built the original, they could slap the formica on and use a router to square off the edge, then apply the moldings. Can't do that if you don't remove the moldings. Removing the moldings means taking out the bungs (which you hope were stuck on with varnish, not epoxy) and removing the screws while praying that the glue submits to gentle persuasion so as to not damage the wood. (Good luck finding matching molding if you break any.) Then you remove any other fittings.  Then you put on the new formica and try to put everything back together again so it fits and works. (Adding 1/16" or so can make icebox lids and things like that jam.) Then you need to re-bung the screws and put three coats of varnish. Paint might be a lot quicker, and as we all know, time is money.    

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In a hurry?  Buy new mouldings, brutally remove the old ones (heat them up to soften glue, cut down to the fasteners from the top, hammer or break off old moulding, remove fasteners with vice grips), rip off the old formica, slap the new formica on with lots of contact cement, router the edges, put new mouldings on with screws only (you can put the bungs in later), apply a coat or two of whatever you prefer to the mouldings, go sailing.  Not more than a day's work.

Buying all new mouldings eliminates the problem that occurs if one breaks. As pointed out above, finding matching ones is probably impossible.  These folks have most of what you need and the Canadian dollar is pretty low right now: https://www.marineoutfitters.ca/index.cfm?category=10607|10890

I think that's less work than trying to make painting the old ones look good - getting a decent edge beside the moulding will be difficult, and I suspect even with a good primer you may have peeling issues, and kitchen surfaces get a lot of impact damage so paint will quickly look worse than the old formica.

OTOH, if you are really in Guatemala as your profile says, painting is probably your only option.

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Wait, are you talking about formica solid surface counters or formica brand plastic laminate? 

If p/lam, you can try to get the old stuff up first.  Get the tip of a knife under the edge and try to get some lacquer thinner in there. If it was put down with contact cement you should have no problem.  If it won't, scuff it up good with a belt sander, make deep scratches in a criss cross pattern with a utility knife, contact new on top.  Kind of ghetto but it works if you're in a hurry.

Remove fiddles, sink and hardware first obviously. 

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I've painted formica counter on previous boat. Used special "formica paint". Wouldn't do it again unless I was selling the boat and wanted to pretty it up in a hurry. Wasn't very durable. Today? Maybe some epoxy paints are good enough for moderate use. But a 1 part paint would probably give mediocre results. 

I like the idea of finding a corner (or router out a good size circle to create an accessible edge) and just prying up the old one.

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A clothes iron will soften contact cement and make lifting old laminate easy.

No worries about overheating things like a heat gun can do.

Much easier than trying to get solvents under an edge.

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Once you can grab a corner/edge with your fingers you can just start slicing away at the old glue.  Never tried the iron on old contact, but i'm not surprised.  Whatever method, there'll probably be further cleanup/scraping to avoid lumps under the new surface.  If it's old enough you might be able to sand it.

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All this has got me thinking about re-doing the Formica in our galley/nav station area.  Just a day's work, you say? 

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10 hours ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

Once you can grab a corner/edge with your fingers you can just start slicing away at the old glue.  Never tried the iron on old contact, but i'm not surprised.  Whatever method, there'll probably be further cleanup/scraping to avoid lumps under the new surface.  If it's old enough you might be able to sand it.

Machine sanding heats and softens the old cement. Scraping is the best way to clean it up.

Bit of hand sanding with coarse grit at the end.

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4 hours ago, PaulK said:

All this has got me thinking about re-doing the Formica in our galley/nav station area.  Just a day's work, you say? 

It's a shame, I just sold some riverfront property in Florida that I'm sure you'd have been interested in...

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Except for fiddles that overlap the laminate it really is that quick & easy.

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Back to the original question, painting formica. It takes paint great. I'd scrub it withe solvent first to make sure it's clean. Sand with 220 grit to get it smooth, then 320 grit. LP over the 320 grit you don't need primer. Remember that it will now be LP glossy, so super glossy. You can add flattening agent to the LP but it's finicky and just generally a PITA, I wouldn't.  LP'd countertops won't be as durable as the formica. I wouldn't do it if it was a work surface. 

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Rustoleam sells a paint for Formica.  Lowes sells it.  Never used it, but their products are usually good.

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On 1/27/2019 at 12:13 PM, SloopJonB said:

Except for fiddles that overlap the laminate it really is that quick & easy.

Not what I want to hear. My wife has been bugging me to replace the formica counter tops on the boat for some time, but if it is that easy... I have limited fiddles. Hrmm.. 

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3 hours ago, jsaronson said:

Rustoleam sells a paint for Formica.  Lowes sells it.  Never used it, but their products are usually good.

This...I met two people at Lowes who said it worked great.   Smelled to high  heaven during application, but dried good and hard.

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Just clean and sand it and use any paint system you like.  Ordinary alkyd enamel for bulkheads works fine.  Don't disturb trim bits, but just paint to them.

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5 hours ago, Slick470 said:

Not what I want to hear. My wife has been bugging me to replace the formica counter tops on the boat for some time, but if it is that easy... I have limited fiddles. Hrmm.. 

You know what they say about happy wives.

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1 hour ago, Borax Johnson said:

This:

image.png.6b2ad118b3a2db05154ad34d14f13d30.png

She'll love it - especially when it's hot in Caribe.

Happy little countertops?

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If the wife says it's got to go, it's got to go. I would go to Lowes or Home Depot and get a can of Formica spray paint. You'll be done in an afternoon and meet your timeline. 

It probably will not hold up to heavy use. But that is OK. It will meet the immediate request and costs almost nothing in time or materials. Then when it fails you can explain a permanent solution and the time required.

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Also not sure about Awlgrip on Formica. Formica is a lot softer material than gelcoat. Awlgrip has a lot of acetone type ingredients that might not be compatible. It could soften the Formica and never harden. Never done nor know anyone that has done process but could be a concern. Others might know more. Also definitely use the flattening agent if you try. Otherwise way too glossy for a countertop.

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19 minutes ago, SailMoore1 said:

 Formica is a lot softer material than gelcoat.

?????

Are you serious?

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Ok, maybe softer is the wrong word. How about different chemical make up. Not sure how it would react to Awlgrip.

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10 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

?????

Are you serious?

Yeah, really. Formica is phenolic core with paper (mylar these days) color sheet & thermofused melamine face layer. It's many things, but soft ain't one of them. It paints fine; performance on horizontal surfaces is a function of the paint, not the laminate substrate. 

I might slap down a self-adhesive vinyl shelf liner, bring a spare roll for when that gets too dogged. It'll be about as durable as paint. I've also seen a laminate kitchen painted over with garage floor paint, color flecks and all. It looked ... not terrible! And while it took some localized damage, it was hard to notice due to the speckled surface. I'll wager Rustoleum just repackaged their garage paint for countertops.

 https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/kitchen/how-to-paint-laminate-kitchen-countertops

 

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23 minutes ago, SailMoore1 said:

Ok, maybe softer is the wrong word. How about different chemical make up. Not sure how it would react to Awlgrip.

Formica and other high pressure laminates are damn near inert

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Use what the pros use in remodeling. https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/xim/bonders/400-white/   . This stuff is nasty but sticks like nothing else.  It is a bonding primer.  Topcoat with a hard enamel paint. Use an oil based one (qts only due to EPA requirements.)  Make sure you clean any of the primer immediately because it is a bear to get off once it sets up.  If you don't want your paint scratching off or flaking this is the stuff to use.

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Con-Tact makes a medium-weight 12"x12" vinyl applique product that is self-adhesive but removable. Supposedly tough enuf for floors. Thin, so shouldn't mess up clearances or hinges.

https://contactbrand.com/collections/flooradorn/products/flooradorn®-mexican-tile

If the plan is to ride out a season, then pay someone for Corian or all new lammy tops, I wouldn't overthink things.

 

 

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