How to Finish the Edge of a Laminated Countertop

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Laminated countertops can be trimmed with a thin edging strip of the same material that is used on the laminated surface or with plastic or metal moldings that finish the edges and complete your countertop installation. The accuracy with which you apply the trim pieces can make the difference between a quality finished appearance and a poorly executed job. If the edging does not seal the substrate from moisture and other contaminants, the countertop will not look good or last long.

Things You'll Need

  • Face mask
  • Gloves
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Edging material
  • Contact cement
  • Chip brush
  • J-roller
  • Mill file
  • Belt sander

Laminated Edging

  • Sand the edges of the countertop with a sheet of 80-grit sandpaper that has been cut to the depth of the countertop edge. This will roughen the edge surface without harming the dimensions of the piece.

  • Brush the entire area with a dry paintbrush to remove all sanding particles and dust.

  • Put on gloves and a face mask. The solvents in rubber cement are toxic.

  • Use a chip brush to apply two coats of rubber cement to the countertop edge and allow it to dry thoroughly. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for drying times.

  • Use a chip brush to apply one coat of rubber cement to the back of the laminated strip and allow it to dry.

  • Position the strip and press it into contact with the edge. For a long span of edging, you will apply pressure from the center out towards the ends. A short strip can be worked from one edge to the other. A J-roller will apply even pressure that you may not be able to maintain with your fingers. Allow the trim to set for 30 minutes.

  • Use a belt sander to smooth the bottom edge, by placing it at one end and running the sander tilted inwards to the other end.

  • Use a mill file to smooth the top edge, by running the file pointed downwards and outwards on the edging.

Metal or Plastic Edging

  • Brush the entire area with a dry paintbrush to remove all dust and debris.

  • Attach the edging with the screws, adhesive or backing tape that came with the edging, by following the application instructions included with the trim purchased. Start applying from the center for long runs or at one side for short runs.

  • Use a J-roller to smooth the edging against the countertop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask a friend to help support and align the strips while you are installing them.
  • Nail polish remover will remove any excess contact cement if you don't have any mineral spirits handy.
  • Most adhesives emit toxic fumes while you are using them and while they dry. Be sure to keep the area well ventilated.

References

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