Plywood countertops are inexpensive, but that doesn't have to mean unattractive. Whether you are refinishing existing plywood or looking for a budget-friendly replacement for your existing counters, plywood can be a good starting point for your kitchen redesign. One of the most important facets of plywood countertops is sealing them against damage from water, which can lead to mould and mildew.
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Painted countertops require extra care in preparation and execution to make them durable and safe for food items. Start with a coat of high quality primer, and apply one or two layers of acrylic paint, allowing thorough drying time between each. Get primer and paint all the way around the edges and corners of plywood. For rough edges, you may want to fill them with wood putty and sand them off first. Once your final colour layer is dry, apply at least three layers of a clear acrylic sealant, which will add gloss to your counter, making it less able to absorb spills and stains as well as sealing the paint away from any food items. As with the paint, allow thorough drying time between each sealant layer. To protect painted plywood countertops, always use a cutting board or mat for food preparation rather than working on the bare counter. Also use pads or trivets to protect the countertop from heat.
Laminate is not difficult to apply, and it requires a plywood or similar surface to adhere to. Use a cutting tool designed specifically for laminate and a sharp blade, and you will have durable countertops in far less time than it takes paint layers to dry. Add a strip of plywood along the back edge of your countertop, where it meets the wall, as well as along the front facing, before you apply your laminate. Once all of these portions are laminated, you will have a backsplash and finished front facing to create a finished look. Modern laminates come in a variety of colours that can be nearly as attractive as other counter toppings at a fraction of the cost.
Plywood provides an excellent base for any sort of poured filling, including poured concrete or clear resin. Edge your countertops along the front and sides with moulding or routed wood trim, and lay a taller piece of matching trim along the back. Caulk thoroughly along the insides of the trim to ensure your pour stays where it should. The sink must be removed before you pour a concrete or resin countertop, and the hole should be plugged with a piece of plywood attached from under the counter. Add nondecorative trim to this plywood to keep the pour from flowing into the hole, but coat the trim with petroleum jelly to keep your poured material from sticking to it.
For concrete countertops mix the concrete according to package directions, and wait until it is fully cured before applying a sealant. A high-end concrete countertop requires special finishing tools, so it may be best to hire a professional. For resin pours, paint the plywood in a decorative fashion or add small objects, such as sand and coins, and then pour in a clear resin mix. You will see your paint or objects beneath the resin.
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