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Tracing Formica Countertops Without Chipping

Fitting countertops tightly to adjoining walls can be a bit tricky, but following these tips will ensure a precise fit on a wall or even a cabinet. Some countertops come with a backsplash attached to the countertop, while others have a separate backsplash. On countertops with an attached backsplash, it is usually constructed to allow the backsplash to be trimmed where it meets the wall. Let’s take a look at this method of adjustment called “hatching”. A scribe is like a compass with a pencil on one side and a metal point on the other. It is also used to draw circles.

To precisely explain this method we must use an example of how the countertop is oriented. I’ll use for the example a countertop that abuts a wall on the left side and of course the length of the back. We will write the ending first. Measure the length of the cabinets from left to right and add ½ inch to that dimension. After measuring, mark the dimension on the countertop. Apply masking tape (across the entire width of the countertop) where the mark is.

Place the top over the cabinets and push the counter back until it touches the wall at the back of the cabinets. Measure from the front of the cabinets to the front of the counter at each end. Make this dimension the same at each end and push the countertop until it touches the far left wall. The countertop should be parallel to the face of the cabinets.

Set the scribes to the dimension where you previously marked the countertop to the wall. Hold the scribes as vertical as possible and mark the line across the counter on the masking tape. Do the same process on the back of the countertop. Now place the countertop on a pair of sawhorses and begin cutting the top about 1/8 “from the drain side line. Angling the circular saw at a slight angle called a scour will allow the next step to go smoothly. .

After cutting, use a belt sander with a rough belt and sand down to the line. Remove the rest of the tape and adjust. The countertop may require a bit to adjust, so repeat the above process but skip using the circular saw. Install the countertop with these screws and caulk the edges if necessary.

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