Installing a new countertop material can revive a tired, boring, old kitchen. Over the course of time and through much use the countertops take a lot of abuse and are typically the first feature to make the kitchen look dingy. Many homeowners don’t think of Linoleum as a counter top material, but for years many designers and decorators have used it as just that. The original intended use was of course for flooring, but rather quickly installers found Linoleum to hold up well to the rigors of cooking and cleaning.
Choices and Options
It fits well into a wide variety of design themes and options because of its availability of choices including colors, styles and patterns. Linoleum also comes as a surface only color or pattern or one that has the coloring or pattern permeating through the sheet or tile from the surface to the bottom. Either choice will work for a countertop, but a color or pattern through will not show wear or cuts as readily as the type with color imprinted on the surface. Linoleum is a brand name, which has become synonymous with resilient flooring. Linoleum is made from ground cork dust, wood fillers, linseed oil and natural fillers with a canvas or burlap backing, which makes Linoleum a grew option for a countertop material.
It offers homeowners an appealing, soft and inviting surface. Linoleum countertops are easy to maintain and as an added benefit, dropped china or glassware is less likely to break than if dropped on a hard surface such as granite or solid surfacing material. Linoleum is also considered a hypoallergenic material making it a wise choice for allergy sufferers. Linoleum is also an antibacterial surface. It resists fingerprints, has anti static qualities and is highly durable.
Many do it yourself type homeowners install their own Linoleum on counter tops in a short amount of time with just a few tools.
Preparing the Countertop
Bring it into the room in which you are installing the countertop to alow the material to acclimate.
Fill in cracks, splits and depressions with an epoxy based repair putty.
Sand down high spots with 100-grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block.
Sand down the entire countertop with 100-grit sandpaper installed in a belt sander or sand the surface by hand.
Vacuum the saw dust off the surface with a shop vacuum.
Wipe down the entire substrate with a tack rag.
Creating a Template for Linoleum Installation
Place a large sheet of heavyweight Kraft paper over the existing countertop. Align the straight edge of the Kraft paper to the backsplash. Tape the Kraft paper to the backsplash, keeping the edge aligned, with low tack masking tape.
Outline the edge of the countertop onto the Kraft paper with a pencil or marker.
Remove the tape holding the Kraft paper to the backsplash and mover the heavyweight paper to a level surface where it can lay as one large piece.
Add 6 inches to the lines of the counter top outline and sketch a new countertop outline – 6 inches from the original line.
Use scissors or a utility knife to cut out along the lines. If you are cutting straight, long lines use a metal straight edge as a guide.
You now have a template for it.
Lay plywood on a level surface.
Set it on top of the plywood with the unfinished side facing up.
Put the template on top of it, aligning the straight edge of the template with the straight edge of it.
Tape the template to it with low tack masking tape every 8 to 10 inches.
Use chalk or a grease pencil to draw an outline around the template directly onto it.
Remove the tape and template.
Line up a metal straight edge to the outline. Hold the straight edge firmly in place with one hand.
Drag a Linoleum knife along the outline to score a line. Press down harder on it knife and drag it along the scored line. Continue to drag the knife along the line until you cut through it.
Move the straight edge along the line and repeat the process of scoring a line and cutting through the scored line until you cut the entire section of Linoleum.
Installing it Countertop
Pour a latex based Linoleum adhesive into a painter’s tray.
Roll a ½ inch nap painter roller through the adhesive. Knock off the excess adhesive on the edge of the painter’s tray.
Roll the paint roller over the countertop, evenly distributing an approximate 1/8 inch thick layer of adhesive over the surface.
Have a helper grab one side of the cut out Linoleum and flip it over so the finished side is facing up.
Move it over to the counter.
Set it on top of the counter with a uniform extra 3 inches in each direction hanging off the edges and up the backsplash or wall. Linoleum tends to shrink and the extra 3 inches in all directions will accommodate the shrinkage.
Press it into the substrate firmly with your hands.
Take a heavy rolling pin or small floor roller and roll it back and forth over it to press out air bubbles and gain good adhesion. Roll over the surface several times.
Allow the adhesive to dry for at least 10 to 12 hours.
Align a metal straight edge to the edge of the counter and hold it firmly in place with one hand.
Drag it knife along the straight edge to cut off the excess. Repeat all around the countertop.
Finishing the Countertop
Measure the vertical edge of the counter.
Add 4 inches and make an edge template just as you made the template for the surface.
Turn it so the unfinished side is facing up on top of a sheet of plywood.
Cut the long strips of the edging with it knife.
Apply the adhesive to the countertop edge with a small paint roller.
Position the strips so there is an excess of 2 inches under the edging and above it.
Roll a rolling pin or a hard roller over the edging, pressing it firmly onto the edge.
Allow the adhesive to dry for 10 to 12 hours.
Place a metal straightedge up to the edge of the countertop and cut away the excess Linoleum with it knife.
Squeeze linoleum seam sealer out of the tube gently at the point at which the vertical and horizontal planes meet to fuse the two Linoleum surfaces together.