Hi All. We just bought out first RV - a 1977 Prowler. We want to re-do the inside keeping it very 70s and one of the things we want to do is change the existing formica countertops. Does anyone have any experience with that? Any tips, advice, suggestions??? We're read that you can take the existing formica off (peel it using lacquer and a putty knife), sand down the surface to remove any adhesive, then get a formica kit and reface the countertops. Good? Bad? We'd like to see if anyone has done it before we embarq on that DIY journey!

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Comment by Paul & Nicole on May 23, 2009 at 10:25pm
Ah yes... another one for the experienced RV refurbishers - we ran into a leak. The last owner thought it was a wet stain from a past leak but it rained here today (thank goodness because otherwise we wouldn't have known about the leak for a while) and we ended up tearing down the closet panels to reveal the leak. We are still in the process of demo and I will post some pics to see if anyone has an idea of where the culprit might be!
Comment by Paul & Nicole on May 23, 2009 at 10:23pm
Dear all... thanks for all the help. Of course we just found out that our next door neighboor (we just moved here) is a retired carpenter and we have, of course, recruited him to be our supervisor (or the actual laborer if we get lucky!). Regardless... thanks so much for all the help. This website is awesome (as are the people in it!).
Have a safe weekend!
Comment by Rick on May 23, 2009 at 7:16am
If you don't have a hot gun to remove the formica, use a clothes iron. It work great to heat the glue, then use a putty knife and wedge it up. When cutting formica, the knife doesn't actually cut, it scores, then you snap the pieces apart. When glueing, apply the glue to both surfaces, countertop and formica, use plenty, a thin coat won't do, and wait till it is dry to the touch, then like VK said, use dowels or thin strips of wood till you position the formica. A kitchen rolling pin isn't great, but it will work. Put a towel down a roll with lots of pressure.

Good luck!
Comment by VK on May 22, 2009 at 11:25pm
Regular toilet seats won't work. Replacements (if you can find one) can run $50. If you have an Aqua Magic III, replace it. It doesn't have the tube to direct waste into the tank; instead everything splashes inside the toilet body...

Thetford makes a couple of ceramic bowl toilets that are much easier to clean. Check them out; believe the names are Style Plus and Style Lite II. VK
Comment by Paul & Nicole on May 22, 2009 at 3:59pm
Pat - thanks for the website. We've been looking into a few of thses links.

VK - thanks for the info. Called them today and uff yeah.. a bit spendy huh! I guess it's a one time purchase so it's not awful.

Question for you guys since you seem to be quite knowledgeable here... toilet seats... can you replace them with just any of those decorative ones you find at hardware stores? Because the toilet works, we'd hate to replace the whole thing but the idea of it being used my other people since the 70s is a bit funky... lol (by the way... this is Nicole.. Paul's wife... he's not as weird as I am!)
Thanks again for all the help!
Comment by VK on May 22, 2009 at 12:15pm
Try: http://www.barsandbooths.com

Very spendy but cool stuff...look around for something "bendy" enough close to home. The floor transitions are either too narrow or stiff. Is the old edging ruined?

Comment by Pat Daly on May 22, 2009 at 9:09am
Paul, Try the Restoration list of suppliers in Tin Can Tourists. Their link is on the lower right of our home page here under Vintage RV Links. Go there and then click Tin Can Tourists and then Vintage Restoration... it's a bit awkward to find in their site but it's a great list of proven vintage restoration resources. The URL thingy is http://www.tincantourists.com/wiki/doku.php?id=vintage_trailer_restoration_information

hope this helps. pat
Comment by Paul & Nicole on May 22, 2009 at 12:21am
Thanks for all the info VK. We are looking around for materials and are having a hard time finding the metal edge strip. Any idea where we could get that? Would the metal strip used for doors (on the floor) work?
Thanks again for all the info.
Comment by VK on May 21, 2009 at 11:34pm
I've done it; it's not too difficult. The adhesive is contact cement. A heat gun and putty knife plus a carefully used flat pry bar will remove the old formica. Make sure it is a true single layer of formica and not a married piece of masonite/laminate. (usually used in the 60s trailers)

Once you get the surface smooth and flat, you can cut the new laminate to fit. I cut it about 1/4 inch bigger than the counter top and use a router with a straight cut bit to do the final fit. Same with the sink cutout. If you are using a metal edge strip, no need to do a thin piece fro the edge. A formica edge piece should go on first, countertop last, so that the router can make a nice dege. (bevel cuts are nice or straight-your choice)
Comment by VK on May 21, 2009 at 11:25pm
Drat-pushed the wrong button...to continue:

Glueing the formica is a one try, don't screw up operation. If you are using metal edging, router the laminate to fit and you are ready to glue. If you are using a formica edge, fit it, glue, then do the counter top. The router then makes the final edge.

To glue, apply contact cement to both pieces and let dry according to the instructions on the can. Once you touch the two pieces together, they can NOT be repositioned...Get some dowels to place on the countertop to hold the laminate off the cement until you are sure it's in the right place. Carefully remove the dowels one by one and press down.

You will need to roll the formica to insure a good stick. They sell rollers and laminate cutters at Home Depot. The cutters are handy but will not do the final finish cut. Hope this has helped. VK


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