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Tile over Formica

Is there a way to tile over Formica ?

rather than chip away at the Formica counter and backsplash

Is there a procedure that I can tile over the Formica and have

it hold and b strong. 

 I was thinking about laying 'chicken' wire over the surface so

the thinset had something to hold to.

And ideas, suggestion, or does it just  not work.?

any success stories?


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Posted 2011-08-03T16:54:25+0000  by ljl ljl

Speaking as a professional tile installer, you do not want to try any tricks to installing tile over formica.

It will eventually be a problem no matter what and sometimes sooner then eventually.

Your best option,time and money wise is to ACCEPT that you must remove the formica top and install 1 layer of 3/4 " plywood (cdx is fine), with wonderboard over plywood.

Then make sure you connect the plywood from underneath with "L" shaped bracket's to the cabinet's.

Make sure that you have these bracket's spaced no more then 24" -30" apart  and on both the front and back of the countertop.

Also check to be sure that the cabinet's are screwed into wall firmly where there are wall studs.

The important thing to remember is that tile will crack if there is movement somewhere.

By following the above instructions you may at some point have to regrout or chaulk in the corner where countertop meet's the wall/backsplash but that is standard maintenance.Just keep the left over grout in an airtight bag so you have the exact color of grout.

Doing it this way will make your installation out last you.


23 years experience tells me all this.

Keep in mind though that if the floor under the cabinets is rotted.... or old, and less then 2 layers plywood then your cabinet's may still have enough movement in them to crack grout at wall/countertop corner .



Posted 2011-08-03T17:34:22+0000  by ricky

Thank you for the great info.  Question:  Can I place the plywood over the current counter without

taking the formica off?  Can it be screwed into current counter top to hold it tight? 

Then how do I secure the cement board over the ply wood.7??  screws, or liquid nails, ??

thank you again.


Posted 2011-08-03T18:06:44+0000  by ljl

Hey Ijl, I’m BlakeTheDiyGuy. I’ve got to say that I agree with Ricky on this one. You are going to remove the old Laminate countertop. Here is the issue at hand. If you try to attach a new countertop to the Formica you will need to:


Secure the laminate to the cabinets, secure plywood to the top of the laminate, then put backerboard on top of the plywood, then mastic and tiles. The result is going to be a really really thick countertop that does not look good. It won’t line up with your range, or your sink, and it is questionable whether the structure of the laminate countertop is suitable to bear the load on top of it, as laminate is fused with particle board not plywood.

As a result I would highly suggest that you remove the laminate countertop and proceed as Ricky recommended.


I hope this helps Ijl, please let us know if we can help with anything else.



Posted 2011-08-03T23:35:14+0000  by BlakeTheDiyGuy



I was trying to do this also.  However my little project is a vanity top that measures 28 1/2 by 22.  Very small.  it will take a total of 4 tiles (16X16).  It also sits in a corner on a 27" cabinet.   My ex had built the top and I think he used 3/4" plywood for the base, the laminate has no damage. Can I just screw or glue down the backerboard to the top if that is the case?  Also, have you ever use the easy mat?  I am wondering if that would work for this project. 



Posted 2011-09-19T22:32:13+0000  by langsk

Hi there langsk, and welcome to the community! You’ve got a good question and it is honestly a tricky one. At the end of the day I think it comes down to what will probably work, and what is proven to work, time after time. If your countertop is in fact made of laminate over 3/4” plywood (not particle board). Then I suppose you could rough the surface of the laminate and screw backer board into your current countertop. However please be advised that this is not an ideal way of doing the job, and not a way that would normally be recommended. The problem is that any kind of shift or movement between the substrate (in this case formica) and the backer board will result in cracking of the grout or tiles. Mastic or mortar is less likely to bond to laminate than it is to wood. This lack of bond will result in a weaker total countertop package which is why I have a hard time recommending this as a solution, even though it may work well for you with no problems. 


I would not recommend EasyMat for this application as Laminate is not an approved substrate for its installation. EasyMat does not get screwed down so the quality of the adhesive bond is crucial for this product.


I really hope this clears things up a bit. If you still have questions please feel free to post and bounce em off us. 




Posted 2011-09-22T22:55:48+0000  by BlakeTheDiyGuy
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