Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Formica backsplash

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QUESTION: Jim,

After getting what I consider an outrageous quote to have my old laminate kitchen counters removed and replaced with new ones, I've decided to attempt this myself. My kitchen is very small, and I'm brave and/or stupid, so this should be quite an adventure....

My question is about the 4" laminate backsplash.  I'm assuming it is glued on to drywall.  Is there an easy way to remove this without damaging the drywall too much?  If the drywall is damaged, what should I patch it with?  I plan on installing another 4" backsplash in the same place as the old one, and am worried about moisture getting in behind the new installation.

Many thanks,

Christina

ANSWER: I believe you are speaking of the old method of rolled laminate that goes over the counter top and has a rounded inside corner, then continues up to the bottom of the upper cabinets, all seam free. That is old. There is no great way to get it off and it will not come off in one piece but rather many pieces. It will damage the drywall behind it. Even the best of us will be there chipping away at it and the glue will just tear the drywall apart.

If you feel handy enough, why not cover it with tiles? I suspect you already looked at and have chosen those laminated tops already made that are sold by the big orange who only wants your little green which they carry. Please know this is a very cheap laminate, it's very thin which is how they roll those no-drip tight edges. That don't make it horrible but it is of low quality. The good news is it's inexpensive and if you have an L shaped kitchen, you can even buy mitered ends to put them together. The bad news is they only come in about 5 colors, all obsolete colors that will hurt the potential sale of the house because buyers will point and laugh.

Using these pre-fab tops leaves you with the 4" backsplash that comes with it. I propose putting tiles over the splash to the top of the bottom of the uppers. Tiling the whole back splash is very very "in" right now. Especially in subway block pattern.

Removing the old top yourself is not too bad. They are usually screwed from the bottom with short screws. Sometimes glue will make this job more difficult. You are still dealing with the plumbing and cutting out the sink opening. You will need a new sink that will come with a template to use to cut the hole. Old sinks never come out clean. The brackets rust out and break when removing. Sinks are not too expensive though. Maybe I scared you so far? It's not for the handyman or handywoman. But I applaud you for trying. I do warn you it's not for the amateur.

I wonder what the outrageous quote you got was. The pre-fab ones in the big orange and big blue stores are about $100 for a 10' piece. More for mitered corners. Then you will have to buy the ends and iron them on if it's an open end. If this is a wall to wall application, keep in mind that there is no such thing as square walls. So just cutting the top square will leave you with a big gap. They do sell large backsplash ends that would cover these crooked imperfections. Can you cut the top? You cut it upside down so the teeth of the circular saw pulls upward and not chip up and destroy the very thin laminate.  I'm tossing all the difficulties at you so you know what you are in for.

Hope this sets the stage for your project. Feel free to tell me what your quote was.

Thanks
Jim





---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Jim,

The outrageous quote was for removing the old countertops and installing the new ones.  My kitchen is very small - countertops are about 10' long on one side and 6' on the other by about 25" wide.  There is a small 4' passthrough.  I had one quote for four hundred dollars and another for six fifty.  

I am having countertops made to fit.  I installed the sink I have, so I know how to uninstall it.  The countertops are attached to the boxes with screws, so I think they will be easy enough to remove.  The only question I had was how to remove the 4" backsplash (which is a separate piece) which I believe is glued on.  I don't want to damage the drywall behind too much.

Christina

Answer
I got the idea you had the laminate rolled up the back splash. Seems you have a seperate splash. Yes it's glued. Yes it will damage the drywall. Well I also assumed you were getting the pre-fab laminate tops. You are getting them custom made I believe you are saying. With that said. Why don't you have them make the new splashes 5" tall to replace your old 4" tall ones. This will cover and then some all the damage you cause when you remove the old. You will glue the new on with liquid nails. Likely the damage will not be devastating enough that you will need repairs before gluing on the new. Hope that helps you out.

Jim

Kitchen Design/Remodeling

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Jim Fulloon

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Dedicated professional in cabinet sales, design, installation and product knowledge for 30 years ! Extensive experience in every single area of kitchens & baths, TV entertainment centers and home office design. Working with Homeowners, Builders, and managing large new home tracts, product knowledge from wood species to box construction, plumbing, electrical and every part of home construction. Kitchen design, kitchen products, product choices, cabinet brands and levels of quality, 20/20 Vision CAD kitchen design, industry standards, well educated on wood species, wood stains and other finishing products. Familiar with and experience with about 14 major cabinet brands.

Experience

Master Cabinet Craftsman Master Kitchen Designer Kitchen Designer for famous movie stars and sports figures More then 6000 kitchens sold and installed over 28 years Thousands of photos to show off with pride Beyond expert in design, box construction and product knowledge Proud member of NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Assn) Familiar with local codes and requirements. Volunteer with several construction related services/organizations to aid the poor. Previously elected Shop Steward and Safety Officer. Experience working with HUD and City Officials with providing cabinets for Community Redevelopment Block Grant Programs.

Organizations
NKBA NARI KCMA

Publications
My book coming out soon on kitchen designs. Self published.

Education/Credentials
Ongoing educational classes by the NKBA to maintain and/or earn certifications. Volunteer my valuable free advice in other public forums. 30 years experience in the construction trades with focus on my first love....fine cabinetry.

Awards and Honors
Kitchen Designer for famous movie stars and sports figures Chosen Kitchen Designer for The Las Vegas Parade of Homes 2007

Past/Present Clients
Celine Dion Mike Tyson Robin Givins Tiger Woods 3 players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 MLB baseball players 2 famous rock Musicians 1 famous Politician

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