Freshen your kitchen by fixing worn laminate.

How to Fix a Worn Countertop

by Michelle Powell-Smith

Some countertops, including stone and wood, age with grace and elegance. Laminate countertops, common in many homes, often wear poorly. If your laminate counters are looking a bit worse for wear, you can opt to replace the laminate, repair damaged areas or even paint the laminate surface. If your counters are slightly worn and very out of date, these treatments can help to modernize your kitchen. All of these will help to improve the condition of your kitchen counters and may even help give your kitchen a whole new look.

1. Patching

If the damage to your countertop is limited to one small area, rather than resurfacing or painting it, you can patch the area. You will need to match your laminate surface carefully and purchase a piece of laminate cut slightly larger than the damaged area. Sand the edges of the laminate smooth. Secure the laminate to the countertop with double-sided tape and cut around the patch using a utility knife. Lift off the patch and scrape away the old laminate. Glue the patch into place using contact cement.

2. Re-Cover Your Laminate

If you're relatively handy and your countertops are fairly basic, without a curved backsplash, you can re-cover your laminate. While you do not need to remove the countertop, you will need to remove the sink and cut the laminate to fit. Adhere it into place with contact cement and replace the sink. If you're comfortable with basic plumbing, this is an easy and affordable way to give your countertops a fresh, new look.

3. Hide the Damage

If you have only one area of damage and do not want to attempt to patch your countertop or you're renting your home, hiding the damage under a large wooden cutting board can improve the appearance of your counters. Secure the cutting board to the countertop with a bead of silicone caulk. You can pry the board off the countertop without damaging the surface when you move out or are ready to replace your counters. Do avoid using the cutting board for meats, as it will not be easy to clean.

4. Painting and Resurfacing

One new option for DIY counter renovations is a full resurfacing kit. This kit, available at home improvement stores, requires that you clean and sand the counter, apply a base coat, then sprinkle on a decorative finish. You sand and smooth the surface, and finish with a topcoat. A resurfaced countertop is durable, affordable, easy to clean and available in a variety of colors.

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