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How To Install Laminate on Countertops or Doors

One of the more common jobs I encounter in the commercial side of my handyman business is repairing laminated doors and countertops. For this particular project I am laminating a small swing door for a Petco grooming salon.

The first thing you will need to do is remove the old laminate. For this, I use a broad headed putty knife. Start by gently working the knife under a corner of the laminate and pry upwards. If the laminate cracks, be careful for sharp edges that can cut you. I recommend using a pair of gloves while doing this.

If the laminate isn’t coming off easy, try blowing a hair dryer over the spot you are trying to remove. The hot air will loosen the contact adhesive under the laminate and allow you to pry it off the substrate easier.

Once all the laminate is off, clean the substrate so that it’s free of particles and excess glue. Now you are ready to apply the adhesive. Depending on how large your object is, you can use a roller or brush to apply contact adhesive to both the substrate and the underside of the laminate.

Once the contact cement is dry and tacky to the touch, you are ready to apply the two materials together.

Because you only get one chance at this, make sure to lay strips of wood over the door or counter. Don’t worry, the wood strips will not stick to the contact cement. With the wood strips in place, lay the laminate over the door or counter and line the two up.

Once you have the laminate where you want it, remove one wood strip at a time and press the laminate down onto the substrate. You can use a rubber roller to make sure the laminate adheres in a uniformly, or you can smooth the material with your hand.

Keep removing the wood strips and rolling until the laminate is completely attached the the substrate. Gently tug at the edges and corners to make sure you have a tight bond between the two materials.

Now you are ready to trim the edges of the laminate flush with the door or counter. This step must be done with a router and edge trimming blade.

Set the depth of the router so that the edge guide of the carbide blade rides along the edge of the door or counter. The edge guide ensures that your cut will look smooth and uniform.

With safety glasses on, trim the excess laminate by running the router along the edges of your door or counter.

Now you are ready to apply edging. There are several options for this depending on what you are working with. For counters, you will probably want to apply more laminate as edging. For doors, you may opt for an iron on edging.

For my project I used an iron on white edging. It is very easy to install by laying the tape across the edge of the door and ironing over it to melt the glue underneath. Once applied, trim any excess carefully with a sharp utility knife. Take your time with this step to ensure that you don’t cut into the laminate.

I hope you have found this article helpful! Please feel free to Contact Me through the contact page with any questions!

K&A Handyman Services


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