02:21PM | 01/05/12
Member Since: 09/18/08
5 lifetime posts
Its been a while since I've asked for help here, but the last time I did, everyone was so helpful and kind. This is the absolute BEST advice board for home improvement!

So here's my question: I have formica countertops in the kitchen. I have had to have the attached backsplash replaced 3 times over the years because of water damage. Each time, the contractor "guarantees" that his work will hold and yet it doesn't. I don't really see how it can given that its only caulk protecting the joint where the backsplash attaches to the countertop. there ANYTHING that can be done to protect the backsplash so it doesn't do that? Since we are redoing the countertops now and using formica again due to cost, I was wondering if just taking the countertop to the wall and then using tile as a backsplash would be any better. But aren't we still relying then on caulk at the joint where the tile meets the countertop?

Does anyone have a better idea? And sorry to rush you, but I need answers fast.

Thank you all so much!

BobetteV (as my husband calls me!)


10:43AM | 01/06/12
Member Since: 07/22/04
511 lifetime posts
Yes,1. what needs to be done is the raw edges of the counter and backsplash need to be treated with sonething like paint or a good water seal that will prevent the wicking of water. 2.The caulk needs to be removed and renewed when it gets worn out to stop water ever getting in,in the first place.3.Lastly if lets say the faucet has a stem leak causing the joint to be constantly "under water" it needs to be repaired in a timely fashion. I've had formica counter and backsplash(changed twice by me since I bought the house just for a new color) and never had a problem. It will last if you take care of it.Sorry I didn't see your post the first day. Busy busy busy.


12:51PM | 01/06/12
Member Since: 09/18/08
5 lifetime posts
Thank you LarryG. So it sounds like its really about watching it and doing regular maintenance, ie. replacing old caulk etc. I have done that in the past, but usually after I saw the damage. I was always told by the contractors that no upkeep was needed so I thought it was supposed to hold. Guess I'll know better now! Thanks to you!

Thanks so much. Sorry I was impatient. I'm sick with a nasty sinus infection and dealing with contractors. Fun, Fun, Fun!



04:32PM | 01/06/12
Member Since: 07/22/04
511 lifetime posts
Another thing I thought of was when they build the countertops was instead of using that cheap pressed wood insist on good plywood or even marine grade plywood that would be more forgiving if it ever did get damp. That pressed wood swells as soon as it gets a couple drops of water on it.That's where the problem begins.My countertops are plywood covered with laminate.I did them myself and I'm no expert.


02:18PM | 01/11/12
Member Since: 01/11/12
3 lifetime posts
You mentioned caulk and I want to be clear. Not all sealing agents are caulk and not all caulks are good sealing agents.

I would recommend that, in addition to the above advice, you use 100% silicone as both the adhesive and sealer at the counter / back splash joint. I actually make stone sinks using this method and can attest to the durability and holding power of the silicon. You might want to tape both sides of the joint with painters tape to keep things neat - just remember to pull the tape before the silicon sets up! Good Luck


12:52PM | 03/11/12
Member Since: 09/18/08
5 lifetime posts
Thanks to all who posted! I will use your advice and know that this time its going to make a difference.

I think in the past, the contractors used a cheaper caulking material and didn't seal the edges as mentioned by LarryG so this time I will do what he suggests.

As for the material that has the laminate on it being plywood instead of pressed board, I think its too late to fix that, but thank you for that advice. I will remember it in the future. I think for now, I have to just stay on top of things and use a better grade of caulk, like the 100% silicone stuff.

Thanks again!


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