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laminate on top of laminate

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fmoore200, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I want to redo the laminate top that is on the counters in my kitchen, do I have to remove the laminate that is there already, or can I just place the new laminate on top?

  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Huh. Yeah, I have no idea about counter tops. I just dropped in here because I thought that laminate on top of laminate was the very definition of laminate.

    It's gotta be cool. Laminating a laminate just makes thicker laminate........

    Hmmmm....... I keep using that word, but I am not sure I know what it means..
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK

  4. I work in flooring, not countertops, but I believe the concept should be the same; you have to remove the existing laminate. The surface of the laminate will not be suitable for adhesive you use to put the new stuff down.
  5. I could be wrong here, but aren't the actual counters made with the laminate on them, and then dropped on?
  6. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    I have seen it done, but I don't know how well the top layer stayed in place over time. Contact cement won't stick to the surface of laminate well, especially if the area becomes extremely hot. When the counter was re-laminated, the installer sanded the original with coarse sandpaper to roughen the surface and remove a lot of the melamine layer.

    I think there's a sheet material that's available for doing this- it has the same adhesive as glueless veneer, which holds really well. I would call around and ask about that, if I was doing this. You'll need a small router or laminate trimmer and a bit for trimming this. It should have a roller bearing, not just a rounded nub at the tip.
  7. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Yeah- that's why he posted that he wants to RE-do the laminate.
  8. I was just saying, that if there is a bull nose or some complications, that will be really hard to make it work, I guess.
  9. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    That would definitely make it suck.
  10. I work in the kitchen cabinetry industry which includes making countertops inhouse...so here are my two cents.

    In theory, you COULD just add a new "skin" overtop the old one, but you can/could have TWO surfaces de-laminate over time. The new counter could separate from the old one due to residue such as grease, cooking oils, general junk not entirely removed from the counter to be re-done. Secondly, the original laminate could start to separate from the substrate - taking the new counter with it :(

    What I would recommend, is removing the counter from the kitchen and replacing with a brand new one, or completely remove the old p-lam (aka plastic laminate) and re-do it from scratch.

    The styles of counters that are the easiest to make are what we call "self-edge" counters. That means that if you are looking at the countertop head on, it has a flat profile shaped like an "L" turned 90 degrees clockwise.:eyebrow: With me so far? If your top has a "beveled" front edge or it's a rounded shape, it becomes a lot more difficult without the special heating tools required to form the "fancier" edges. Here is a link to one of our suppliers that show different edges...


    To remove the old p-lam from the substrate, I would suggest using acetone. You will probably need about 2-3 windshield washer fluid size jugs (if available). Squirting it in using a picnic-style ketchup bottle and a paint scrapper usually work best. Make sure ALL of the old laminate is completely removed and the substrate is completely sanded smooth as any tiny little speckle of anything can telegraph through the new surface and you will have a bump. (Sorry if some of this is stuff you already kno......):bag:

    Here is a spray contact glue that I would recommend...


    Hope that helps and PM me if you need anything!:bassist:
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Ever tried any of the water-based contact cement? I did car audio for a ling time and we built a lot of subwoofer boxes, with carpet or laminate to customize it. The corporate install manager got all freaked out about solvents & other hazards that might make one of us sue the company, so he told us to use water-based. It sucked.

    I would add to this- acetone is highly toxic and if you go through two gallons of it for a job like this, it would be better to just replace the top or have someone else do it. It can cause respiratory problems and is a known carcinogen. If it gets on plastic, that plastic will be damaged.
  12. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    I would consider using a clothes iron to apply heat to the laminate, to make the adhesive release by creating space with a putty knife or 6" drywall knife. Then, something can be inserted between the laminate and substrate to keep it from sticking again. I use wooden dowels or strips for this and they're also used when putting a new piece of laminate on if it's large enough to be a bit difficult to position. You get one chance to position laminate- if a large enough area of the laminate touches the substrate and the adhesive is ready to stick, it's not coming off without a fight or knowledge of how to do it. Once the laminate has been laid onto the substrate, it needs to be rolled out to ensure a good bond. If this step is omitted, the laminate will be lumpy, it will have voids underneath and the edges will likely not survive very long because it will chip. When the edges are routed, you'll need to soften them with a file or sandpaper because this stuff is dam sharp, as well as abrasive. It cuts skin like butter and a raw edge will saw through skin very easily.
  13. I work part-time in a cabinet shop that does tops- kissmybASS01's info is spot-on, as is 1958Bassman's- I would add that hopefully, no one needs to be told that acetone is nasty stuff & VERY good ventilation AND a respirator should ALWAYS be present(but of course it doesn't hurt to mention it :).
    All that said, I'd strongly suggest replacing the entire top- for me it would be like replacing a figured top on a bass(guitar- not DB).

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