Laminate countertops are durable, easy to clean, and more moisture-proof than just about any other material you can use. The laminate comes in thin, rigid sheets that you secure to a countertop frame using contact cement. You can install laminate over most existing surfaces as long as they are solid, clean and free of any gloss or shine that will prevent proper adhesion of the laminate.
Dull the surface of the countertop using your belt sander. Remove all of the existing gloss and shine. Wipe up the dust.
Measure each section of the countertop where you're going to put laminate. Transfer the dimensions to your laminate sheets, adding an inch all around to each section. Cut out the pieces using a razor knife. (Note: For the back edge of the top piece of laminate, and any other part that will butt against a wall, don't leave an overhang. Use the factory edge of the laminate sheet for those edges.)
Apply contact cement on the backs of the laminate pieces with a brush. Coat the countertop surface with contact cement, too. Let the contact cement dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
Hold the laminate piece for the vertical front edge in front of the section where it's going, lining it up without letting it touch, with an inch overhang all around. Set it against the countertop. Press it in place using your laminate roller. Use your router to cut off the overhanging laminate.
Lay dowel rods on the countertop, facing forward, about a foot apart. Set the large top piece of laminate on the rods and get it correctly positioned, with the factory edge up against the wall and the other sides overhanging the edge. Pull the dowel rods forward and out, and press the laminate down. Set it in place using the laminate roller. Trim off the overhang with the router.
The seam at the back of the top sheet of laminate, where it meets the wall, will normally be covered up when you install the backsplash. If your design doesn't cover the whole seam at the back, run a bead of caulk along the seam to cover it and tie it to the wall.
Wear eye protection when you cut the laminate.