View Full Version : Formica separating

11-09-2003, 04:03 PM
I recently installed a new formica countertop. I installed a new particle board substrate, applied the contact cement (both sides) and installed the formica. There needed to be a seam because of the size of the counter top, but the seam looked good when I left.
Got a call back from the customer that the seam was separating. It had opened up about 1/16 of an inch, maybe even 3/32. It has not lifted at all from the substrate.

Any thoughts on why this would happen?
I presume the best/only way to repair is to rip up and install a new piece.
Would appreciate any input.

11-13-2003, 07:16 AM
Could the particle board be swelling?

Myron Ferguson
12-16-2003, 08:35 PM
Can't you just put a new layer over the top of the formica?

Greg S. Levander
12-26-2003, 09:28 PM
I had this happen to me also a few times. Mostly on full width seams.
Wilsonart & other laminates are like a wood product & schrink & swell with temperature & humidity changes. The Manufacture will say this is not possible, but I have ween it happen more than once. Edges have schrunk & grown. mostly grown so I had to go back 1 week later & file then down. Try Clamping the seam overnight with apair of handscrews, or you may have to get more inventive for a full length seam.
Leave the Laminate laid out, cut to fit on the countertop ovenight & glue it the next morning.
This allows it to acclimate & relax if it has been rolled up for awhile.

Best of luck


Greg S. Levander
12-26-2003, 09:31 PM
Oh yeah I forgot I always apply 2 layer of contact adhesive. 1st coat acts as a primer. light coat. Let this dry comletely before the second coat is applied or it never will.
Seal the top under Dishwashers


02-21-2004, 10:14 PM
greg is correct about laminate movement. a product called seamfill may be acceptable to the customer. 2 things have helped me make tight seams. 1- when laminating top slightly bow top upwards at area of seam by sticking a 1-2 to 3-4 inch thick stick under it. then place laminate.when top is laid flat the seam will tighen up that extra 1-64th for agreat seam. also i place 3-4 wide masking tape oneach mating piece and also on the substrait when glueing.then when laying the laminate use wood glue or 5-minite epoxy to glue the 3-4 edge of each seam in place. this must be clamped. benefit of epoxy is quick set and water resistant.a must if seam is at sink. also cold weather is afactor,. wilson art gave a special class on cold weather fabrication to deal with problems you discribe. ask for info on that and their fabrication guide.

03-01-2004, 10:00 AM
Hi Mike: What type of wood glue do you use for seaming. I assume yellow aliphatic resin?
Most of my shrink swell problems have been with full length seams. How do you clamp these & get them to look presentable?
PS what do you charge for installing laminate? See my post in the finish carpentry section 2/29/04 Greg