Although there are many types of countertops today, you can just group them all into just three sets: the expensive countertops, the affordable countertops and the cheap countertops. The most expensive countertops are made of expensive materials like Acrylic Countertops.
Affordable countertops are made of a combination of natural stones and synthetic materials. The cheap countertops are wholly made of synthetic or artificial materials. Acrylic countertops fall in the last category since it is totally composed of man-made materials. But ‘cheap’ does not always mean low class materials or shoddy and sloppy workmanship. It is possible to use lower cost materials and put in quality workmanship to produce stylish countertops.
If you are after a contemporary look for your kitchen, you can opt for an acrylic countertop. They are available in many colors, thicknesses and surface textures. They are very flexible and easy to work with and you can create the colors and design that will blend well with your current setting. You can specify any kind of structural strength that you want. Their countertop surfaces are non-porous and stain-free. Cleaning their surface is very easy by just wiping off water or dirt by a soft cloth dipped in mild soap.
What Are Acrylic Countertops Made Of?
Acrylic is a type of plastic that can be molded and shaped into any manner that you want. It is also strong that’s why it is steadily being used in building acrylic countertops. There are two types of acrylic countertops available in the market: one is made of solid acrylic and the other is a type of laminated structure consisting of a thin layer of acrylic (about ½ inch thick) based on a wood or plywood backing. The first type is stronger than the second one simply because of the way it is formed.
How Acrylic Countertops Are Made
These types of countertops are relatively easy to make. They are actually made in the same manner as laminated countertops. Here are the steps in building acrylic countertops.
- Buy plywood with ¾ inch thickness. This will be your acrylic countertop wood backing. For the acrylic countertop, buy acrylic sheets ranging from ¼ to ½ inch thick. Standard sheets for both acrylic and plywood are 48 inches by 96 inches.
- Measure the countertop area. Since acrylic countertops need plywood backing, keep in mind that the largest area you can get is 48 inches by 96 inches (4 ft. x 8 ft.). Work your countertop design with this area in mind. You may have need additional plywood if the size of your countertop is greater and vice versa.
- Buy plywood with ¾ inch thickness. For your acrylic top, you can either buy acrylic sheets that are ¼ inch or ½ inch thick.
- Make a full-size template (from cardboards) of your countertop. Be especially careful with the measurement especially with the curves.
- Using your template, draw its outline on your acrylic sheet and your plywood backing. Use a grease pencil and a straight edge. If the countertop has curves, secure the template by attaching a double-sided tape to the acrylic sheet.
- Cut the acrylic sheet using the drawn outline as your guide making sure that you don’t detach the protective film of the acrylic sheet.
- Do the same with the plywood backing.
- Sand the edges of both the acrylic sheet and the plywood using 400-grit sandpaper.
- Polish the acrylic sheet using an acrylic polishing compound.
- Before attaching it to the counter, see if the acrylic and its backing fits the counter perfectly.
- Secure the plywood backing to the counter’s frame using screws or bolts whichever is appropriate. All gaps, small holes and knots in the wood must be filled with an wood epoxy filler. This will ensure that there will be no air gaps when the acrylic sheet is mounted.
- Take off the protective film on the side of the acrylic sheet that will be glued to the wood backing.
- Apply contact cement evenly on both the acrylic sheet and the plywood. Use a roller or a stiff paint brush to ensure even spreading of the adhesive.
- Allow the adhesive to dry for 5 minutes.
- Carefully mount the acrylic sheet to the plywood backing. To ensure solid contact with the plywood, put adequate pressure on the acrylic sheet using a cotton rug. Do this all throughout the countertop surface.
- Trim all the excess acrylic that juts out of the countertop edges using a laminate trim router with a flush trim bit. If necessary, sand and polish the edges.
- After the acrylic is secured, apply trim all around the countertop edges.
- Remove the protective film of the acrylic sheet. You now have a new acrylic countertops.