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How do I resurface a formica countertop with tile without replacing the formica entirely? Answered

Please help me to improve my kitchen with tile over the formica sub structure


Formica is just a trademark name for a laminate countertop (as is Arborite). Its best to look at the material that the laminate is on before deciding if you you should use it because your tile job will only be as strong as its base. If the laminate was put over particle board then don't use it for tiling. If the laminate is over 3/4" plywood then you can tile on it as long as there is no water damage. All rounded edges will have to be trimmed square for tile and the laminate needs to be sanded to the substrate (the plywood). To ensure the surface stays dry, its best to tile with an underlayment called DITRA. Its an orange colored polyethylene membrane that is secured to the plywood with a modified mortar (portland cement). Once secured you can immediately tile using a thin set mortar. You can find DITRA at any major home improvement store, or read more about it here.

Removing formica usually works if you warm the surface with a hot air gun as you peel it up.

Its best that you don't. The laminate on the countertop isn't exactly a good base for your mastic. It would be best to pull up the old countertop and lay down 3/4" ply and tile over that. If you don't want to go through the effort of taking out the old counters you'll still have to lay down a better base for you to tile from. But then your counter hight will be a good 1.5" higher. So its your choice. Lay the ply wood on the cabinets directly or over the old counter.

Assuming your in the US you could talk to the experts over at Lows or Home Depot. They will be able to point out everything you need to do the tiling and recommend ways to do it over the existing counters. Though i'm sure they will also recommend that you take out the old counters first. You will want to ensure you have a good level base to start with and it will be easier to level the new ply then trying to level off the old counters.