Hey everybody! It’s time for the kids to go back to school around here, after a THREE week break. I’ll miss the kiddo but getting back to the schedule will be good for us. I guess. Boo.

So I got a ton done again this weekend, but like the other projects I’m working on lately this one going to be a multiple step thing. This was step two of who knows how many but I’m excited about the progress! I like to share the process with you all instead of before with nothing and an after with it all done, cause obviously that’s not how it happens.

When we finished the basement last year we knew we wanted a kitchenette down there somewhere. It’s not a HUGE space though so we needed to make it work in a spot that wouldn’t take up a lot of room. We decided on a small wall in the family room, just outside the laundry room:

basement kitchenette

I shared that pic late last year after the cabinets were installed. What you don’t see is there is a rough in for a sink – the part I’m most excited about. :) But today we’re talking counters and paint.

I’ve gone back and forth on the counters for months now. My original plan was butcher block with an undermount sink, but then a few weeks ago I found a laminate counter I loved at Lowe’s. They didn’t have the one I loved in stock though, so I went back to my butcher block idea.

But getting the block means a long trip to IKEA (which I’m planning on doing today, but whatever, it was last minute) and I already need to get some butcher for the mud room bench, so getting two was going to get expensive. And then last week I was back and Lowe’s and the counter I loved was in stock and I noticed it was only $34! Thirty bucks people, seriously…I couldn’t believe it!

Laminate means no undermount sink but I’ve lived with a regular drop in sink for all of my 38 years so I think I’ll survive.

I tackled the installation of the counter last week and for the most part that’s easy – but I had to deal with the rough edge on one end:

installing laminate countertops

Thankfully there’s little kits that are sold right by the countertops for just this problem. It was nearly $20 so that cheap countertop get a little more expensive, but still, pretty good.

It comes with wood pieces and laminate for the edges:

installing laminate countertops

First you take those nailed in jobbies in the photo up above out, so the edge is flat. Then you nail the little bitty piece to the back to fill in that part:

installing laminate countertops

And then you’re supposed to do the same underneath with the long piece. This is all so the laminate edge has something to stick to. Well, this wall and the cabinets were pretty much exactly 72 inches (which I don’t think we did on purpose, but it was a nice accident so cabinets and counters were easy to find), but this meant there wasn’t enough of an overhang to add that piece of wood underneath the counter. So I just didn’t add it – we’ll see how this hold up without it.

The next step was a little scary – you take an iron and use it to “glue” the laminate on the edge of the countertop. I didn’t get pictures of this cause I was sweating, but I put the iron on medium heat and used a lot of steam (just as I do with webbing tape when “sewing”). I just steamed it like crazy and was careful not to hold the iron down on the laminate too long:

installing laminate countertops

It worked great! There’s stuff on the back of the laminate that melts and glues it right on. (You can hear it “crackle.”) I couldn’t get it to budge once it was dry. But as you see above, it’s not a perfect fit. The next step was to use a wood file and knock down the excess laminate along there.

I didn’t have a wood file and thought I could just file it down with a chisel. I was wrong. :) It didn’t work. It was about 9 p.m. and I so didn’t want to run out to get the annoying wood file, so I started trying anything I could find. It went…OK. ;) These heavy duty scissors worked for cutting vinyl tiles so I figured they would work for this and they did:

installing laminate countertops

But I couldn’t get close enough to the edge to get it flush. I was also afraid I was going to damage the counter by messing with it so much, so I put a line of my Frogtape along there to protect it:

installing laminate countertops

Then I went back at it again – this time with tin snips. :) With those I was able to get much closer to the edge. And then I got it real flush by ending with my original plan, the chisel:

installing laminate countertops

You can see there why I put the tape down – it really did help and the counters are just fine even after all that abuse. :) After all those tools and the time it took to get it all done, I just should have made the run to the hardware store, but whatever. I was already in my pj’s and not going anywhere.

The counter is actually quite cool, I love the way it looks! It’s got the “3D” look to it – it has a very minor texture that’s supposed to look like granite. We have similar counters upstairs and they get mistaken for granite on first glance all the time. They’ve also held up GREAT, so I know it will be perfect in the basement:

dark laminate countertops

So I know we still need to cut the hole for the sink but I wanted to make sure it was staying put for the time being, so I got some pillows to lay on and got underneath and secured it to the cabinets using screws:

photo 2 copy

Nice picture thanks to the Bub. ;) It was not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done. Remember when doing this part to use screws that aren’t too long so they don’t go through the top of the laminate! Yikes.

Then…it was time for paint. Why must EVERY SINGLE PROJECT involve so much paint? WHY. I’ve done a coat of primer and one coat of glossy white on everything so far:

basement kitchenette

Yes, the kitchenette also serves as the basketball court. :)

The cabinets still needs another good sanding and one more coat of paint, but I was tired people. So. much. painting. 

Next steps are to install the hardware on the cabinets, continue the baseboard around the bottom, install the sink and then decide what I’m doing on that wall above. First I need to decide on uppers or no uppers – I wasn’t going to do any but more storage wouldn’t be a horrible thing, right? I’m thinking maybe skinny ones one easy side of the lights, then maybe shelving between. Or just shelves and no cabinets? No idea. It will come to me eventually.

So it’s not quite a full after yet, but a halfway after still makes me very, very happy:

basement kitchenette

We are just giddy about the thought of a kitchen sink down there. I swear we’re all just moving down to the basement. We’ll be back upstairs for the summer. Or not, it’s nice and cool down there in the hot months. :)

Have you ever installed countertops? Do you have this granite lookalike stuff? My dream one day would be soapstone counters, but until then the laminate holds up great! Hopefully I’ll be able to show you this space with a sink soon!

P.S. This color was called Labrador Granite, here’s a link to a larger piece.

 
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