The countertops in our boat had always been an eyesore. They were white Formica throughout, but I think they were older than me and had been used and abused to their fullest. They no longer looked white but were a splattered array of black and red stains, cut marks, and chips missing on the more or less yellowed material.
While we were in the Bahamas we had considered a few different methods to redo the counters, such as painting them with awlgrip, redoing formica, or even a wood finish. For the most part we thought that the awlgrip was the way to go. We had a friend do it in his boat and if done properly it looked perfect. Picture the clean gleam of the topside of a brand new washing machine, white and smooth. We figured we would do both the countertops and the backsplash this way. But after figuring in the cost of getting the paint in the Bahamas, and the amount of work that would be required to fix the rotten wood underneath the current countertop and finishing it flush so that once painted you would not see a seam; well that plan started to look near impossible, or more so time consuming and expensive.
Off to the lumber store we went where we found two colors of formica that we agreed upon, a brown rock looking one for the kitchen countertops and a shiny white for the backsplash and bathroom countertops. We purchased two huge rolls of it and hitchhiked our way back to town. Eben ripped out all of our old formica, cleaned out all of the rotten wood around the sink and rebuilt that whole section with new wood. Once that was done he traced out the shapes of the countertops and took many measurements to find where all the compartment hatches lay. With a vinyl cutter, and triple checking his measurements, he did the cutting with acute precision. We couldn’t afford a single mistake or the whole countertop would have been wrecked. He used contact cement to adhere it all and the kitchen was done. The backsplash also took more than a few measurements as there would have to be a seam somewhere in the piece, since none of the pieces were quite long enough to do the entire backing. He wanted to make sure that the seam was in the least visible spot and also didn’t want to aimlessly cut into the sheet of formica knowing we would be using the remaining pieces for our bathroom counters. At least Eben loves puzzles, these things just drive me mad.
The time between doing the kitchen countertop and the bathroom one was a few months. It took us until we were really sick of living with the leftover roll of formica in our way to get the back bathroom done. But once Eben set his mind on that one, he had the boat in a mess of tools but the counter was done by the end of the day. It was much of the same process as the kitchen one. Remove old formica, gut rotten wood, rebuild sink area with new wood, measure and cut formica VERY carefully, apply with contact cement. And with the bathroom countertop there was the last step and of letting me redecorate now that we had beautiful countertops to adorn. It may be hard to live amongst all those tools and projects, trying to keep two kids from touching everything, but Eben is efficient and very detail oriented, and he always cleans up his tools after, which I know he does just for me and the girls.
This is the before shot, minus the sink and side rails
Old formica once removed
You can see the rotten wood around the sink needed to be removed
Old piece removed and new piece inserted
This used to be our bed, now it is a temporary formica holder and tool bench
The final result. Thanks babe.
Couldn’t find a pic of the old galley counter, but here is the new and improved version