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Old 11-30-2020, 09:01 AM   #1
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Replacement of countertops

Over the course of several years the bathroom vanity top has gotten wet which caused the wood to expand. Our countertop is a composite particle board which swells when exposed to moisture. The side trim is a plastic strip that the wood pulls away from when wet which leaves an open space for future exposure.



What we are wondering is if anybody has replaced the wood with a stone material, like granite or quartz. And while we were at it, we would also like to slightly increase the surface areas (think overhang) and replace our round sink with a square one moved closer to one side.



Our kitchen sink leaves little room near it when using appliances. Once the coffee maker is set up, there is almost no room for a toaster or crock-pot between the stove and sink, and then there's the risk of falling off the counter or into the sink. The fold up side table, in MHO, is worthless. It makes getting in or out impossible and if it decides to unlock or your appliance falls off, you will have to scrape food off the steps.



Anybody have experience with replacing the countertops?
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:16 PM   #2
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Grab a flashlight, some rope, and snacks... This is a DEEEEEEEEEP rabbit hole.

You are about to embark on the journey that many before you have done, rebuilding / remodeling the interior of your coach with better materials and discovering all of the DUMB decisions made by the manufacturer. They have a collection of pre-built cabinetry in various pieces, and they DO NOT CARE about creating void spaces or using cheap materials like pressboard (hint, the cabinets are ALL pressboard!) because once it leaves the factory, it is no longer their problem.

I'm nearing the end of my renovations, and only have a couple more cabinets in the entire coach that I haven't addressed and rebuilt - bigger and more functional, yet lighter and closer-fit to the RV's body, b/c I use only ACTUAL wood and not a flake of particle board.

For your kitchen and bath renovations, there are two ways you can do it. If you are NOT handy.... Any cabinet shop will be able to help you, but it is going to be a completely custom job and I can't begin to guess the cost. If you ARE handy and have the tools and skill - you can build your own cabinets and counters using the existing pieces as a pattern for cutting.

With the countertops... Unless you are using something that you can form yourself, it's going to be custom-ordered only. Lots of countertop places have minimum orders, BUT a product like Corian or Silestone or similar is likely your best bet for performance versus weight. It's in an RV, so actual granite..... I wouldn't.

Guessing from your statement that things on the kitchen counter could fall onto the steps, I'm going to say you have a mid-door gas coach. Gas coaches are usually pretty close to their chassis max when they leave the factory, and the engines don't have a lot of power to spare. The weight of everything should be a consideration, and getting rid of as much pressboard as you can (and replace with appearance-grade sandeply plywood or edge-glued pine boards) is a great weight savings. Same for the countertop. I have a diesel pusher, but in doing my renovations I have STILL managed to evict about 500 lbs from the coach! I had Corian counters and a huge section of tile floor that was on a separate slab of 3/4 plywood.... HEAVY!

The counters I have redone are now a single piece of appearance grade sandeply (which is a very smooth type of plywood) that has been coated in a thick poured epoxy resin. Think of a bar-top, and that's the same process. If you wanted to be creative, the resin can be used to cover a layer of coins or graphics or patches, mementos from trips.... And then it would be a permanent protective layer over those items. Just don't plan to ever get them back. Doing something like this will result in about half the weight (or maybe even less) than a corian or stone countertop, but just as durable.
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geordi View Post
Grab a flashlight, some rope, and snacks... This is a DEEEEEEEEEP rabbit hole.

You are about to embark on the journey that many before you have done, rebuilding / remodeling the interior of your coach with better materials and discovering all of the DUMB decisions made by the manufacturer. They have a collection of pre-built cabinetry in various pieces, and they DO NOT CARE about creating void spaces or using cheap materials like pressboard (hint, the cabinets are ALL pressboard!) because once it leaves the factory, it is no longer their problem.

I'm nearing the end of my renovations, and only have a couple more cabinets in the entire coach that I haven't addressed and rebuilt - bigger and more functional, yet lighter and closer-fit to the RV's body, b/c I use only ACTUAL wood and not a flake of particle board.

For your kitchen and bath renovations, there are two ways you can do it. If you are NOT handy.... Any cabinet shop will be able to help you, but it is going to be a completely custom job and I can't begin to guess the cost. If you ARE handy and have the tools and skill - you can build your own cabinets and counters using the existing pieces as a pattern for cutting.

With the countertops... Unless you are using something that you can form yourself, it's going to be custom-ordered only. Lots of countertop places have minimum orders, BUT a product like Corian or Silestone or similar is likely your best bet for performance versus weight. It's in an RV, so actual granite..... I wouldn't.

Guessing from your statement that things on the kitchen counter could fall onto the steps, I'm going to say you have a mid-door gas coach. Gas coaches are usually pretty close to their chassis max when they leave the factory, and the engines don't have a lot of power to spare. The weight of everything should be a consideration, and getting rid of as much pressboard as you can (and replace with appearance-grade sandeply plywood or edge-glued pine boards) is a great weight savings. Same for the countertop. I have a diesel pusher, but in doing my renovations I have STILL managed to evict about 500 lbs from the coach! I had Corian counters and a huge section of tile floor that was on a separate slab of 3/4 plywood.... HEAVY!

The counters I have redone are now a single piece of appearance grade sandeply (which is a very smooth type of plywood) that has been coated in a thick poured epoxy resin. Think of a bar-top, and that's the same process. If you wanted to be creative, the resin can be used to cover a layer of coins or graphics or patches, mementos from trips.... And then it would be a permanent protective layer over those items. Just don't plan to ever get them back. Doing something like this will result in about half the weight (or maybe even less) than a corian or stone countertop, but just as durable.
They've got a Jayco Melbourne on a Sprinter, so the weight versus reward situation becomes even more dicey. Corian for countertops is a good start, for that reason. I have no idea how to correct the rest, except buy a bigger coach.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:14 PM   #4
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Good call - I didn't even see that this was in the Sprinter section. I'm not familiar with the Melbourne, but I rented a Jayco class C years ago and that was..... Hmm.... "underpowered" is probably the kindest thing I could say about it. If someone was on the bed in the back and it drove over a railroad crossing.... The person in the back would have to peel themselves off the ceiling after. The suspension WOULD put you into the air, no question.

That was the high point of that coach, and I certainly do hope they are building them better in the years since.... What that unit was then, I consider anything by Thor to be like now: A complete mistake from the moment it left the factory.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:00 PM   #5
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I haven't done counters in a MH but have done several at home.
My first & best thought is Corian.
If you have / can work with wood you should be able to DIY w/ Corian.
Corian cuts very easily with carbide wood blades & bits... table saw, router and sands & even polishes very well.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:11 PM   #6
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I haven't done counters in a MH but have done several at home.
My first & best thought is Corian.
If you have / can work with wood you should be able to DIY w/ Corian.
Corian cuts very easily with carbide wood blades & bits... table saw, router and sands & even polishes very well.
It also weighs like iron.
Granted, not everyone likes the look of wood and it is certainly good to break up a room with something different. I've trimmed in aluminum on the walls or different colors, it's all about style. Good to know that it can be worked like wood (I suspected but never really cared to try) if someone is so inclined.
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:24 AM   #7
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It also weighs like iron.
.
But still less than quartz or granite that OP was asking about.
Corian is probably the most used counter material in MHs followed by plywood & Formica on lower end RVs

Everyone gets to make their own decisions
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:02 AM   #8
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A few winters ago I replace the propane stove with an electric induction cook top which also required I replace the cabinet and counter top around the stove. Since the new counter top no longer match the sink area I also replaced that counter top. Total area for both was less than a 4 x 8 sheet of Formica so it was an easy DIY project. Used the old counter tops as a template for the new. Considering the potential for water intrusion and how particle board reacts, prior to gluing the Formica down I coated the wood with a couple of layers or penetrating epoxy to seal it. Did the wood floor of the coach when I took up the carpet and installed click lock vinyl.

Granitic or other solid surface counter tops would have been a great upgrade but besides the weight on top of a rather lightly construction cabinet the over all effect would have been a bit of "lipstick on a pig" for a 10 year old budget gas coach.

Pics of the project - https://photos.app.goo.gl/po6XpfFpUjRcjMGv5

Epoxy - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:43 AM   #9
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A major concern is going to be added weight. A stone counter will add lots of weight. A solid service counter will be a bit less weight. The lightest weight will be to rebuild the counter top with plywood and a laminate surface counter top.

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Old 12-02-2020, 07:20 AM   #10
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Aside from the weight, what about changing the countertop layouts? Has anybody radically altered the surface area?

We've thought that the bathroom counter could be extended about 8 inches along the wall, over the toilet, to hold items that you don't necessarily want to get wet.

The kitchen countertop could extend inward another 6 inches to provide more work space and the round sink could be replaced with a square sink that would provide a larger surface between it and the range top.

Anybody make layout changes they would like to talk about?
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:40 AM   #11
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Just for the sake of argument, I looked up countertop material weights. Found a site for a lightweight material that measured itself against conventional materials. The weights in the fist column are for 36" X 72".

Corian 81 lbs
Laminate 45 lbs
Marble 90 lbs
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SteveNSue View Post
Aside from the weight, what about changing the countertop layouts? Has anybody radically altered the surface area?

We've thought that the bathroom counter could be extended about 8 inches along the wall, over the toilet, to hold items that you don't necessarily want to get wet.

The kitchen countertop could extend inward another 6 inches to provide more work space and the round sink could be replaced with a square sink that would provide a larger surface between it and the range top.

Anybody make layout changes they would like to talk about?
Best way to gain some confidence is to make a cardboard, wood strip or luan ply template of what you are proposing and set it in place to see how other functions in the space are affected. If good check & double check under counter interferences to make sure it will work ok under counter... lastly I would remove old and triple check ability to move sink & plumbing before committing to the final build.
don't forget access for install and future maint.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:32 AM   #13
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Just for the sake of argument, I looked up countertop material weights. Found a site for a lightweight material that measured itself against conventional materials. The weights in the fist column are for 36" X 72".

Corian 81 lbs
Laminate 45 lbs
Marble 90 lbs
There is more than one way to build solid surface.
Full 3/4 thickness to get strength for span.
Composite like formica... plywood base w "covering".
I think if you look at most MHs the second is the approach often used. Corian is available in several thicknesses.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:41 AM   #14
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Butcher block?

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Kitchen-...tialmax&NCNI-5
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