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who would i call to sand my formica countertops and put new down--dont want a big box store

someone on this site said you could do this instead of getting all brand new formica counters.  The person also said "don't use big box store, please" and I agree with that for a lot of reasons.  I called a local flooring store and they said they don't do counters.  And advice?  (Also, I am told that formica is more popular now and I am assuming that is because it does hold up well--if there are reasons not to go with the formica, I'd love to hear those, too).  Thanks.  Mary
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July 28 2012 - Portland
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Mary, as a home inspector I often have clients who are financially strapped and want to get new expensive counter tops in a couple of years, but need some way to make it a while with the worn Formica that is currently in place. I recommend them to a local bathroom refinisher that can come in and prep the counter tops and spray on a thick gel-coat layer with textured finish. There are many different salt and pepper type colors and it is really cost effective for both rentals and those making do for the short term. The finish is really durable and the same firm can also prep and repaint kitchen and bathroom cabinetry with extra durable finishes at very reasonable rates. So while you may be striking out looking for cost effective Formica overlayers, you might consider talking with some bathroom refinishing firms for options.
Michael Leavitt - Master Inspector
Orem, Utah
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August 21 2012
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August 19 2012
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Thank you, everyone, for the excellent advice!
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August 07 2012
There are a LOT of good alternative, including really good looking vinyl (formica) that almost looks like corian or ceaserstone. Its best to spend some time in some non-big box show rooms local to you.... Youll be amazed...
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July 30 2012
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Unless you are referring to a "solid surface" (like corian as an example) line of c-tops by Formica--there's no sanding them. 
    Traditional "formica" tops are simply laminate tops--Formica is a brand name (like Q-tips are just cotton swabs).
   The traditional laminate tops are merely layered craft paper pressed with coating and a "photo image" of the design - then sealed---if you sand, you will either damage the tops or ruin them completely.
    This info was provided by manufacturers reps of laminate (Formca, Wilsonart, Pyonite etc) c-tops during my education to become a kitchen and bath designer. 
<Laminate tops are considered a maintenance item for a home and do not add value--after all- you HAVE to have c-tops and those are the starters. Granted, some are attractive. So whether to replace them with laminate will depend on location and what those buyers are looking for There. Hope this helps. :)


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July 30 2012
Most buyers today want granite counters, but I'm more concerned about your "sand my Formica".  I'm no expert, but I'm sure not aware of any process that improves formica by sanding.  The pattern on Formica is very shallow, so any sanding would, at the very least, remove any pattern. 

If granite counters are out of the question ($1500-$2500 or so, depending on the size of your kitchen) a complete new Formica countertop redo would be probably less than half that, serve you better and make your home more salable.

I'm not aware of any "stay away from big box" advice.  Like any work from a trades person, be sure you get a license number AND LOOK IT UP, because I once had a customer spend $11,000 on two bathroom remodels from a "plumber" who gave him a business card with a fake license number.  When there were significant problems with the work, or course the "plumber" was nowhere to be found. 
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July 28 2012
 
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