7- Can you DIY your zinc top project or should you hire a professional?

Surprisingly enough, you can take on some projects yourself or have a contractor on-site assist you with select jobs. I suggest this to people who know how to laminate and have basic construction knowledge. If you’re not familiar, you may waste quite a bit of money and frustration attempting to nail your execution.

This is general advice, so if you need more detailed information reach out to 3 Spark on our website or through email. You can purchase material online and fabricate straight tops shorter than 6′ with a single square finished edge. You can also make your own wall panels from zinc sheets.

DIY-Getting Started

First, use a good substrate (plywood of ½” to ¾” for walls, and 1.5” for countertops or bar tops). If gluing two pieces of ¾” for the 1.5” base, allow enough time for it to dry. Screw every 8”-12”, staying back from the edges about an inch, in case you need to trim away after dry fitting.

Also, place any cup and surface irregularity on your substrate to the inside if possible.

Fit the Substrate

Dry fit the substrate on site to make sure it fits. Scribe the back edges to fit if you’re making a top for a typical dry bar or butler’s pantry where there will only be trim on the front edge. This is called a 3-wall installation. Drywall mud usually packs out the two inside corners at the back.

You can also make a template out of a rigid material like ram-board and transfer this pattern to your substrate. Leave about an ⅛” of play total so that you have room to work. Consider how you’ll install the top and ensure you don’t have to rotate it, which could scratch your wall.

Form the Metal

Once you have a substrate that fits, work your metal with either a metal brake or a mallet for any right angles. Your workflow will be similar to laminate, so you should leave approximately 1/4″ total as extra overlap on the edges. This will allow for play as you register the sheet over the substrate before bonding.

Bond the Metal

Apply contact cement to both the zinc and plywood. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Wait for it to dry, which usually takes around 30 minutes.

Sometimes I use rough sandpaper to prepare the zinc surface before applying cement. Make sure to clean it thoroughly before application.

Moving from the center of the sheet and working out, carefully bond the two surfaces together. Careful, because this is a one shot deal. Ensure that if you do run over this with a roller, which is not necessary, you don’t dent or score the metal.

I suggest adding another plywood sheet on top and placing some weight on it. Alternatively, if you have a good vacuum bag setup, you can use it to complete the bond.

Trim the Metal

Using a straight router bit with a top bearing, carefully trim the excess from the back side. By this, I mean let your router base plate ride on the back of your substrate so that it doesn’t scratch your finished zinc material from the front. A typical router bit from a large retail store will work; you won’t need anything extravagant or special for this project.


You can carefully file the routed sides or brush over them with some 80-grit on a pad sander, finish, and you’re good to go. To secure your project, use screws from behind or below. Seal the edges with gray silicone caulk or a color of your choice.

Custom Wall Panels- 3 Spark Design

You can successfully complete wall panels and short, single square-edge counters as DIY projects. Any project larger than this, and I would suggest reaching out to 3 Spark for guidance. We can help you avoid difficult soldering and complex shapes with our line of custom made products. It can be hard to master a new technique yourself, so reach out to the experts for help.

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