You or someone you know probably have Formica in your bathroom or kitchen. Are you interested to know more about this widespread material? By taking this quiz you can see what you know about how Formica was created and how to repair your Formica countertops.
Formica was created in 1913 by the Formica Corporation. In 1927 they patented the "barrier sheet" which would become the tabletop and countertop we know today.
As the name indicates, Formica was made "for mica" -- in place of mica electrical insulation.
The Queen Mary used Formica laminates on her walls.
During the war, Formica built burster tubes for bombs and also built "Pregwood" airplane propellers, staying true to its original aim to improve electrical insulation. Formica production peaked during the war.
Despite its hard appearance, Formica is actually made from treated paper.
The paper is soaked in resin. The filler is soaked in phenolic resin and the decorative, outer part is soaked in clear melamine resin. The paper goes through a drying oven and a wringer to remove excess resin during the Formica process.
The pressure applied using a hydraulic ram ranges from 800 pounds up to 1,500 pounds per square inch. The ram heats the paper so that the resin liquefies and spreads, bonding the papers together to form a single laminate unit.
The laminate is sanded so that it will easily stick when glued to a countertop.
Use the laminate repair paste on chips and scratches. You can buy it in various colors so you will be sure to find one that matches your countertop. The paste can be found at most hardware stores.
Clean your countertop with ammonia before commencing repairs to remove dirt, grime and grease.
Countertop polish is an easy solution for small cracks. However, it will need to be reapplied every couple of months.
Contact cement is used to reapply laminate that is peeling.
The process usually takes two or three days but it will depend on how much countertop you are replacing and how detailed and creative the artwork will be.
You need to apply a primer to the counter before you paint it. Once the primer is dry you can apply the paint. Oil-based paints are best. You need to wait 24 to 48 hours before applying a topcoat which helps to protect the paint form chipping and cracking. Apply a second topcoat after the first one dries.
Although repainting is a cheaper option than replacing your countertops, the repainted countertop will be less heat- and wear-resistant, so you will have to be careful to use trivets when placing hot food on it and always use a cutting board. You will also need to redo the topcoat every couple of months to keep your countertop in good condition.