Our laundry room started out like so many other builder spaces; dark, dank and in the basement. There was nothing much we could do about the location (our house is too small to move it), but we could certainly remodel it with beautiful finishes to make it a pleasant space to do laundry in!
One day I’ll write about the full laundry room remodel, but today we’re focusing on the countertop update.
We ended up purchasing the cabinets, sink and original countertop from Habit for Humanity’s Restore (hubs loved the huge, deep stainless steel single sink). We firmly believe in supporting the Restore because the proceeds of sales help build homes for disadvantaged families. Of course, we’re all about upcycling too and are big proponents of keeping things from going into landfill if they can still be put to good use!
Unfortunately, the counter that came with the cabinets had seen better days and detracted from our beautiful new tile work on the backsplash!
We were happy to use laminate again, but wanted our replacement counter to be perfectly flat – without that little bit at the back that acts as a quasi-backsplash – so we laid our tile work to just meet the top level of the cabinets taking into account the additional height of a new counter. By the end of the build, our budget was feeling stretched and when we finally looked into a replacement, we were shocked to learn that a new laminate counter without a backsplash would have to be special ordered (and because of that was pretty pricey). Who knew that leaving something off an item was actually going to cost more?We lived with the old countertop for a while until one day we stumble upon a big box store we had never been in. Actually, we thought our car was breaking down and got off the highway to check things out – and that’s how we ended up in the parking lot of the store. It turned out the car was fine, so we popped into the store to check it out since we were already there.
Here comes a stroke of serendipity: they had a whole pile of laminate countertops that had been brought in as a special offer. They were not only sans the backsplash, but also sans the inflated price tag. They were exactly what we were looking for! Unless you looked really close, you would swear they were quartz!Don’t you just love it when good things happen unexpectedly? We loaded the counter into the car and went on our merry way.
When we got it home, we cut the piece down to fit our cabinets. Hubs then used the old counter to measure the sink opening and he made a template out of a scrap piece of plywood (since we were reusing the old sink), but cardboard or even paper would work too. Cut out the template and make sure it fits the sink.Hubs added masking tape on the new counter so he could see his pencil lines when he traced the shape of the sink cutout onto the counter.He added several holes just inside the line of the sink. Typically, you’d only need one to get a jigsaw blade into to start the cut, but he wanted to make it easy on himself so he cut a few more for good reason. Having the additional holes along the way allowed him to stop and reposition himself instead of having to contort himself and the jigsaw to cut around in one go.He used the holes in the middle to make a cut right through the centre. He went back to his starting position then he cut from the large hole to the one on the left (the large hole you see at the bottom is bigger to accommodate the tube for the overflow).
He walked around the counter to the other side and ran the jigsaw to the corner. Then he stopped to add a 2×4 underneath the waste piece fastened with clamps. He finished cutting the perimeter until he was back to the second hole. Below you can see the 2 x 4 clamped under the left side of the cutout. With the 2×4 support, he didn’t have to struggle to try to hold the waste piece from underneath as he cut.With the cut complete, he simply lifted the waste piece up and out.He removed the 2×4 and started the process again on the other side to cut the rest in the same manner….… and remove the second piece.Before we set the counter in place, we capped off both raw ends with the supplied laminate using contact cement to join them. You might not think it’s necessary to cap the side that’s against the wall, but if you leave it exposed and it comes in contact with water, it could eventually rot so you might as well do it too!
We dry fit the sink to make sure it fit and marked the hole for the faucet. Remove the masking tape from under the sink but apply painters tape around the perimeter of the sink (on the counter) to catch any excess caulking.Drill the hole for the faucet.Then attach the counter to the base cabinets with screws from underneath (measure to make sure the screws aren’t longer than the material so they don’t poke through the countertop!).
We applied water proof caulk rated specifically for sink areas to both the counter, as well as underneath the rim of the sink itself.
Hubs donned some gloves just in case and lifted the sink from the sides to avoid the caulk. He lowered it into the gap and made sure the caulking was seated well. Underneath the sink, there are mounting clamps that get tightened against the counter; use some wood blocks if necessary to bridge any gaps. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, because that’s what will keep the sink tight to the counter and seal the caulk.Before the caulk dries, smooth any excess caulk that squishes out with a wet finger then lift up the painters tape leaving a clean surface.
Now that the clamps are in place and the caulk is finessed, you can reconnected the faucet. The faucet we used was saved from when we renovated our old kitchen.
We finished off the gap between the counter and tile with clear silicone.We’re happy with the new countertop: it helps modernize the space and shows off every inch of the tile. To see how we installed the tile backsplash, click here.
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