Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Patching Your Old, El Cheapo Counter Tops

This is what we started with:
A 6 inch section of missing Formica (exposing the belly of our counter), a toaster oven with a filthy window, a set of steak knives still in their box, and a dishwasher overflowing with any wedding gift that I deemed dishwasher safe.

We had no intention of fixing any of the above issues.  We were just sitting on the couch, still recovering from the holidays and the wedding.  We were waiting for House Hunters International to come on, when we caught the end of This Old House.  "Do you have damage laminate counter tops?" Tom asked.  "You can patch them in a jiffy," he then claimed.  We watched on in amazement as the Hand of Providence delivered a perfect watermelon pitch to which we could deliver a DIY home run smack.
We followed the instructions we had just seen, but with our aptitude for turning even the simplest home improvement projects into full blown doozies, we also pulled up the instructions on my blackberry.  The gist of the project is that you iron a piece of laminate no one will miss (like behind a stove), salvage a piece that will fit where you need it patched, then iron the patch on to the damaged spot.  The iron re-engages the laminate glue.  We wanted to pre-heat our iron so it was screaming hot and ready to go.  Thank goodness the kegerator/work bench/mail catch-all was ready to do double duty as an iron stand.
We looked around for a good salvage piece, eying up this loose counter top trip by the stove.  Really, this piece was a candidate for a re-glue, so we just ironed her flush against the edge again.  Settling on a piece that was loose behind the fridge, Mr. Palindrome went to work measuring and scoring a piece that was about 1/4" longer than we needed.  Before he was used to me always up in his grill taking pictures for the blog, he used to say, "Really? Really? Do you have to stand in my light?"  Now he knows it's futile to ask that question and that the fastest way to get me to move is to let me get the shot.
To activate the glue and render our salvage piece tacky enough to peel off, Mr. Palindrome then ironed the piece we had scored.  Since he had the military ironing training, Mr. Palindrome ironed that laminate like a pro.  If that laminate was a pair of tighty whities, Mr. Palindrome would have ironed it into a 6"x6" square in about 15 seconds.  Thank goodness the military has it's ironing priorities straight, or else we'd be relying on Spray&Release Wrinkle Remover in a refreshing linen scent.
At this point in our marriage, I was smitten every time I saw Mr. Palindrome's wedding ring while he was performing every day activities.  Oh wow, isn't his hand so dreamy? All scoring and ironing and being an all around home renovation god?  That's what female hormones do to a girl.
Yes!  Operation Salvage a Piece of Laminate was accomplished.  On to phase two after tapping out our keg of Sam Adam's Seasonal (Winter Lager . . . mmmmmm).
Just kidding.  We don't drink and do home renovations.  That could be dangerous.  Don't worry, I'll kick Captain Obvious off of the blog now.

Since up until this point I had been hogging all the good light, snapping pictures an inopportune times, and promising not to blog pictures of Mr. Palindrome making funny faces, he decided I should do my fair share.  "You're the Art Major right?  Cut this straight!" he ordered.  My fingernails, still bright red from my wedding manicure, worked those scissors like a pro, resulting in a clean cut.
Before ironing this bad boy on, we had to score a clean edge and iron the counter where the pieces would joist together.
Once that small piece was removed, Mr. Palindrome took charge of the iron once more to glue our salvage piece in place.
Me and my red fingernails helped hold it in place while Mr. Palindrome's OCD iron, which he permanently labeled as his own with a black sharpie, finished its work.

Turns out that after you iron something for a while, it's really too hot to handle.  After learning that lesson the hard way, Mr. Palindrome pressed the piece securely with an oven mitt.  There's that ring again - Hubba, Hubba!
Just to intimidate you, we took a finished picture with our box cutter in the background.  Yeah, we're big.  We're bad.  We're the big, bad home renovatin', This Old House watchin', OCD ironin', red nail polish wearin' machine!
And we have a patched counter top to prove it.

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