How to Remove Laminate From Wood

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Laminate is a thin covering that surrounds and protects a large wooden core from humidity, sunlight and water damage. These thin pieces of plastic, wood or composite material can provide long-term protection with the proper care. To ensure a long life for your laminated surfaces, remove and replace the laminate periodically. Begin by removing the old laminate. Taking the old covering off in one piece will allow you to reuse the material on a future project.

Things You'll Need

  • Laminate-covered wood
  • 5-in-1 putty knife
  • Heat gun
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Gently insert the point of your 5-in-1 putty knife into the crevice between the laminate and the wood backing. Pry the two surfaces apart, freeing 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the adhesive at a time. Take your time, and work slowly to avoid damaging the laminate.

  • Turn on your heat gun and allow it to come to its full temperature. Hold the gun 12 to 15 inches from the crevice while prying the materials gently with your putty knife. Move the gun slowly along the length of the crevice and back again, using steady 15 to 18 inch swings of the gun nozzle. Insert the point of your putty knife further into the crevice. Pry the materials apart further as the heat softens the adhesive.

  • Place the removed laminate facedown on a clean, flat surface. Heat the adhesive residue on the back of the laminate with the same side-to-side motion of your heat gun. Soften a section of adhesive that is no bigger than 12 inches square. Immediately scrape away the adhesive with the flat front blade of your 5-in-1 putty knife. Wipe the knife clean with a rag soaked in denatured alcohol. Continue the process until all of the adhesive is removed from the back of the laminate. Heat and scrape away the adhesive residue from the surface of the wood backing. Wipe your tool with alcohol after each scrape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use a heat gun in the presence of denatured alcohol. Turn off the heat gun before wiping your blade with the alcohol rag. Keep the container of denatured alcohol at least 3 feet from the work area when the heat gun is in use. Never point the heat gun at any object that contains or is covered with alcohol. Never point the heat gun at your skin, or touch the hot nozzle.

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References

  • Photo Credit Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com
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