How to Cut and Bond Laminate Sheeting

Tools you will need. You will need a fine-toothed saw, flat file, rolling-pin or flat cork block, hammer and a straight edge. Also available if you would like to buy, laminate cutters and special trimming knives with heavy-duty blades, these will give you better results than using a hand saw.

Cutting to size. Use a sharp panel saw, Tenon saw, laminate cutter or trimming knife, taking care to give adequate support to the off-cut to avoid cracking the surface. Always cut laminate sheet with the “face side” up. Cut slightly oversize this will help precision edge trimming.

Your local dealer will supply surfacing ready cut, if you prefer to supply dimensions. This would make it easier for you than buying standard sheets or panel sizes and cut them yourself.

Preparing the surface. Laminate sheet should never be bonded directly on to solid timber. This may cause warping. First, cover timber with hard-board or plywood by nailing and spot gluing. Particle-board, hard-board, plywood or core-stock are all ideal surfaces for direct bonding, and the sheeting may also be bonded successfully with contact adhesive to plaster. Always be certain that surfaces are clean, dry and free from grease, soap scum or similar deposits. The edge of base surfacing should always be flat and smooth to allow for effective finishing.

Bonding. Spread an even film of contact adhesive on both the sheet and the surface – using the special applicator supplied with the adhesive. If the surface material is porous, it may need two coats.

Allow the applied contact adhesive to dry for about 20 minutes, perhaps a little longer in cold weather. Test dryness by touching with your knuckles. When adhesive does not transfer to your knuckles, it is time to fix to the surface. Do not fix while adhesive is still tacky.

Positioning. Because contact adhesive bonds immediately on contact, it is important to line up one edge and one corner of your laminate surfacing very carefully ensuring a correct positioning. For large areas, precise alignment you will achieved by using dowels or thin timber strips to separate the adhesive coated surfaces. When accurately aligned, remove the dowel at one end and press laminate against core material. Carry on along the length, removing the dowels one at a time until you have removed them all.

Fix by using a rolling-pin or a cork padded wood block to protect the surface and tap firmly with a hammer ensuring a tight, even bonding.

Finishing. The edge of the base and surface material you need flat and smooth so that it will give you a perfect edge finish with the sheet. Allow 30 minutes for adhesive to dry out, then trim overhanging edges with a plane or file. Cut edge strip slightly oversize. Apply adhesive to both strip and edge surface. Important to Remember, that porous base materials may need two coats of adhesive. Allow adhesive to dry, and fix as directed for large areas. Hammer firmly, using the cork block to protect surface. Trim the oversize portion of edge strip with a sharp plane or file to give a bevel to the top edge and corners.

Clean surplus the adhesive by rubbing firmly with your fingers when completely dry.