How to Resurface a Formica Table

Written by jourdan townsend | 13/05/2017
How to Resurface a Formica Table
Laminate-topped tables and shiny vinyl chairs are back in style. (Diner at the shopping mall image by TekinT from

Retro styles always seem to be coming back into fashion, especially in home decor. This includes those vintage diner tables that have a surface of Formica, a type of plastic laminate. You can often find these in antique stores and flea markets, and they make a great addition to any kitchen where the old is new again. Even if you find a table with a scarred or otherwise damaged surface, you can replace the Formica with new laminate that is a copy of a vintage pattern.

Remove the top of the table, if possible. Unscrew the legs and lift away the top. Place the top on a pair of sturdy sawhorses.

Put on a pair of safety glasses and work gloves. Cover your mouth and nose with a paper mask. Fold a rag several times to make a thick square, and spread a generous layer of chemical stripper over the surface of the table.

Wait until you can see the edges of the laminate lifting. Slide the edge of a straight paint scraper beneath the laminate and pry it away from the top of the table. Remove all of the laminate in this way.

Dampen a cloth and wipe down the surface of the table well. Sand the whole surface with medium-grade sandpaper. Remove any sanding dust or other residue.

Apply a thin, even layer of laminate glue to the tabletop with a paintbrush. Be sure not to skip or miss any areas. Let the glue set for a minute or two.

Cut a piece of the new laminate of the right size and shape for the tabletop with a utility knife. Position the laminate over the tabletop, holding it just above the adhesive.

Lay the laminate carefully into place. Press down all over the surface of the laminate and roll it from one end to the other in straight lines. Let the glue dry one to two days.

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • 2 sawhorses
  • Safety clothing
  • Rags
  • Chemical stripper
  • Paint scraper
  • Medium-grade sandpaper
  • Laminate glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Utility knife
  • Handheld roller

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