Advice needed on regluing laminate on kitchen countertop

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Blog entry by lightweightladylefty posted 02-11-2014 07:23 AM 3590 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I would have posted this as a forum topic but couldn’t find a category where I thought it would fit. Anyway . . .

On one side of the miter of our kitchen countertop, about a 4-inch length of the laminate has lifted from the substrate. I attempted to fix it by putting laminate adhesive on a palette knife and spreading it inside on both laminate and substrate, allowing it to dry, and then pressing it down. That was a couple of months ago and it has lifted again. I don’t want to risk getting moisture under the laminate because then the substrate will swell and I’ll really have problems.

I considered attempting to once again reglue in the same way, then reversing some clamps (using them as spreaders) and pressing them against the upper cabinet to see if it would hold better but . . .

Should I clean off the old adhesive and, if so, how? Is there some other adhesive/glue that would work better for a small repair? Is there a better method to spread the adhesive in such a tight spot?

Is there a better way? Can anyone with some experience with this tell me a better, more successful method? Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks for any help you can give me.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

9 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1544 posts in 2100 days

#1 posted 02-11-2014 11:38 AM

I am certainly no cabinet maker at all and only have little experience with laminates and veneers, but here has worked for me in similar cases. Have you attempted to heat the previous glue with a heat gun or very strong hair drier and then either removing it or, just reattaching with the softened glue? You are certainly correct in not allowing the substrate not to become moist as it swells terribly. Hear’s to ya! Now that’s my $0.02 worth; let’s hear from the professionals, I’m anxious, as this will be great knowledge for me in the future.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View EZzinger's profile


8 posts in 2916 days

#2 posted 02-11-2014 12:32 PM

I would expect that your problem is caused by a high point in the original miter cut pushing the laminate loose or inadequate glue procedure.
An alternative would be contaminated substrate which will not allow proper adhesive cure.

You have already performed the one easy repair at the miter joint The miter probably also has a pair of mechanical draw bolts installed on the underside which could limit replacement of a piece of the substrate.

If you care to gamble or limit cost, you could remove the whole countertop – plunge rout the substrate area which is not adhering plus equal amount of the substrate across the miter joint – clean the underside of the laminate with acetone – verify you have straight edges on your laminate – insert new substrate, and re-glue using heavy weight. If using conventional contact adhesive follow instructions regarding temps, using double the drying time before assembly – Then replace any removed draw bolts.

This is a high risk proposition which I would not attempt, I would simply replace the countertop completely.

View mesquite22's profile


42 posts in 2637 days

#3 posted 02-11-2014 12:55 PM

Try using an iron on that spot the heat should reactivate the glue, put a cloth under the iron and push it down and hold it until it can warm up the substrate as well once the glue is hot roll the laminate down, it worked for me

View DocSavage45's profile


8520 posts in 2810 days

#4 posted 02-11-2014 05:14 PM

My first approach is looking for causes of failure. How old is the counter top? What is the exposure in that area? Did something external cause the failure?

Cleaning out the old adhesive may be time consuming. (If you have a time problem?) If reheating it causes it to dissolve was that a cause for the original failure?

If the substrate is particle board the enemy is moisture.

Don’t know what should be used to remove the adhesive but acetone is toxic. Wear a respirator.

If all else fails and money is a problem get creative.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3053 days

#5 posted 02-11-2014 05:41 PM

Used Gorilla glue to reattach some laminate about 7 years ago, it is still holding.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1695 days

#6 posted 02-11-2014 06:06 PM

Depending on how gunky the glue is now, from glueing twice, depends on whether or not I would try to clean some of it off.
Being thicker from a couple of applications may not let it lay down flush with the mating surface (if there is one)

I think you would be fine using some Tightbond III and camping as best you can. at least the Tightbond III would be a little more water resistant for future. The glue should hold it down just fine.

BTW, was it waterbase contact cement or solvent based? (just curious, shouldn’t make a difference for glueing)

View SPalm's profile


5317 posts in 3850 days

#7 posted 02-11-2014 10:15 PM

Good old Titebond attaches to laminate.
You could squirt a bunch between the counter and laminate and then put a lot of weight on it until it dries. TBIII is waterproof.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3236 posts in 3680 days

#8 posted 02-12-2014 04:27 AM

Thanks everyone for your advice.

We’re thinking that we might first try the heat option, probably the iron trick. We had thought of that but weren’t certain it was an option. Hearing that others have used the option and it worked, gives us an incentive to give it a try. The countertop is about 15’ long and mitered to 5-6’ long pieces on either end. There is a sink in the middle of the 15’ and a second sink in the right piece. I’m pretty certain that the miters were glued before they were bolted, so even if we wanted to disconnect all that plumbing, slicing through the miter wouldn’t be easy. We could probably live with the slightly lifted laminate for a long time before it became a problem rather than go through that kind of work! The countertop is about 8 years old which, to us, is pretty new.

If the heat treatment doesn’t hold up, we’ll probably try TB next. I didn’t realize it would adhere to the laminate backing. I’ve got a gallon of TBI. Aside from not being waterproof, will it adhere to laminate? I’m a little hesitant about Gorilla glue because I’ve made quite a mess with it in the past, not knowing how much to use and having it bubble out all over the place!

Kevin, the contact cement was water-based that I used. I didn’t make the section of countertop that is failing (my countertop is still fine) so I don’t know what was used. If solvent-based was originally used, could that be why the water-based didn’t hold up?

It certainly is wonderful to be able to ask questions and get such prompt answers and so many good ideas.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1695 days

#9 posted 02-12-2014 04:38 AM

The regular titebond glue should work.
You could try the heat though, what’s the worst that could happen, it come back up?

I’m not sure about the effects of water-base on solvent base, could maybe be why? The water-base wouldn’t burn into the solvent based like solvent base would have, but I couldn’t say for sure.

Whatever happens I have confidence that you will get it fixed…:)

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