How to Install Laminate or Arborite

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Arborite is a Canadian maker of plastic laminates for countertops, cabinet faces and other surfaces. Their products are similar to others in the industry and have identical installation recommendations. Laminates are typically applied over wood, or composite substrates, such as plywood or Medium Density Fiberboard, known as MDF, 3/4 inches thick or thicker. Since laminate is flexible, it is best to apply it with an adhesive that has a flexible binder. The easiest method is to use contact cement.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Belt sander
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint pan
  • Paint roller
  • Contact cement
  • Rubber mallet
  • J roller
  • Router

Preparations

  • Fill any inconsistencies in the surface you intend to laminate with wood filler, using a flexible putty knife. Allow the putty to harden according to the label instructions, typically 30 to 60 minutes.

  • Sand the surface smooth using a belt sander with a 120-grit sanding belt. Wipe the surface using a tack cloth to remove all dust and wood particles, which can telegraph through the laminate surface, creating bumps.

  • Measure the area to be covered, using a tape measure, for width and depth. Add 3/4 inch to each dimension. Set the blade of your table saw to 1/2 inch, and cut your laminate to size. Use a fine tooth plywood blade for best results.

Installation

  • Use a soft brush to brush any dust from the laminate. Pour contact cement into a paint pan. Roll a small, medium nap paint roller through the contact cement to load it. Roll a heavy coat onto the surface to be laminated, and the back of the laminate you're using. Use a W pattern, with overlapping strokes to ensure proper coverage.

  • Allow the glue to dry until it is dry to the touch. Lift the laminate, glue side down and center it over the installation face. Place the laminate down, so that it overhangs 3/8 inch on all sides. Tap around the edge with a rubber mallet to adhere the glue.

  • Roll the laminate from the center out using a J roller, and applying medium to heavy pressure to work out any bubbles in the surface.

  • Install a flush cut bit with a bearing in your router and set the depth, so that the bearing rides 1/4 inch below the base plate. Start the router and run around the edge of the laminate counterclockwise to trim it off, flush with the edge of your surface material.

References

  • Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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