If the surface of your laminated kitchen benchtop is looking worn or dated, you don't necessarily have to rip it out and replace it with an entirely new one. In many cases, you can apply a new layer of laminate over the old.

Begin by roughing up the old surface, using very coarse sandpaper.

If the old laminate has bubbled, pierce the bubbled area with a series of holes and squeeze contact adhesive through the holes into the gap. Allow the glue to dry for about 20 minutes, then flatten the area with a heavy weight and leave it to bond.

Do the same if the laminate has lifted off in some areas. Score the entire surface in a criss-cross pattern. using the sharp end of a chisel or file. Brush away any grit, then wipe the area using a cloth dampened with turps or methylated spirits.

First, apply the new edges. It is possible to attach edging cut from sheet laminate, but it's easier to use a ready-made self-adhesive edging strip. A limited range of these is available at most large hardware stores In either case. Cut the strip so that it is slightly longer and wider than required, fix it in place, then file it down to size using smooth. horizontal movements in a single direction to minirnise the chance of chipping.

Next, place the new laminate on top of the old and use a pencil to mark out the bench shape on Its underside. Transfer your markings to the top

side of the new laminate. leaving an excess of a few millimetres on all sides. Use a steel ruler and a laminate cutter to score the lines. Put some weight on the ruler, then lift the excess sheet so it snaps along the scoreline

Draw a line down the centre of your benchtop and a matching one down the centre of the new laminate Spread contact adhesive across the surface of the benchtop and the underside of the laminate. Next, place a series of fine dowels across the benchtop arid lay the laminate across these so it can be accurately positioned without coming into contact with the surface. Line up the centre markings of the benchtop and laminate, ensuring the overlap is even on all sides.

When the glue has been left to dry for about 20 minutes (or until it is no longer tacky), slide out the two centre dowels and press the laminate onto the benchtop. Remove the dowels to either side of the centre one by one, pressing the laminate onto the benchtop as you go.

When the entire sheet has been laid, run a cork block across the surface of the laminate, tapping gently with a hammer to ensure that it is completely fixed to the benchtop.

Use a file to trim off any overlap with smooth movements away from the laminated surface. This will prevent you from chipping the edges.

Voila - a new kitchen benchtop!

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