Repairing Solid Surface Seams

      An imperfect seam poses problems for a countertop installer. Here's the story, along with advice for fixing seams in place. November 13, 2005

Calling all solid surface fabricators. Here's my dilemma. I put in a large kitchen top today, U-shaped, 9'0" X 14'0" X 9'0" with peninsula top. Did two field seams, with coved backsplash. The adhesive cartridge, as far as we can figure, had a mass of air bubbles in the cartridge and we ended up with two 6" long sections of the seams that didn't kick. So, after some trial and error fixes, it looks like I need to take these tops off and either re-cut the seams and glue up again, or totally replace them. Has anyone ever cut new edges for seaming with the coved splash installed? I really don't want to make the tops over again, but also can't think of a way to mirror cut the seams again with the cove installed, let alone cut a seamable edge on one. I will need to cut the tops to remove them in the first place, no matter what. Would appreciate any advice.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum) may hold the answer to your problems without having to remove the top. Call and give them as much info as possible before proceeding any further. The answer may not be cheap; however, neither is removing the tops and re-cutting, then adding back for the area removed from the original seam.

Don't remove the tops! Just repair them in place. Assuming the seam is good in the splash and cove area, the rest is just a simple repair. If you do have to remove and redress the seams, it is possible. We used to dress seams with coved splash in our shop prior to installation. It was really rather simple. You just need a very good straight edge and you dress them upside down. Dress the top and then the splash. It shouldn't take too many tries or be too hard.

We cut our seams with the cove on all the time. Flip the tops over. Use scrap wood to make an L-shape jig. Use a flush trim bit across the whole seam. Cheap and fast.

Just had another thought. Those bubbles in your seamů Do you purge your mixing tip before using? The rule is to run a bead as long and wide as the mixing tip.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. Am going out today to repair the top. Will let you all know how it turns out. By the by, I do purge both the cartridge and the tip prior to seaming.

Pinske rents a seam router. You can rout out upwards of 34" just to the cove, then add a piece and support underneath with a high strength seam support.

From the original questioner:
Thank you all for your advice. This forum is a great tool. Just wish I could keep you all in my box :).

Did look at the Pinske Edge seam repair kit. Unfortunately, it wouldn't have done me any good with the cove backsplash. Did the repair by taking the tops off, then fashioning an L-shaped straight edge jig and routing it from the back side. Afterward, spent a considerable amount of time hand sanding, filing, praying and refitting to get the seams almost perfect. For some reason on this color, I had an extraordinary time trying to find a seam kit to match. Did about 6 test strips with different colors from different manufactures. None of them were perfect. Go figure. Did the repair, turned out great; not perfect, but I am my worst critic. Customer was pleased and didn't have to do the tops over. Hope no one out there ever has this happen to them - at least with a top this size with a scribed in cove backsplash.

If you want a perfect seam every time with cove, a beam saw will do it. I always make my seams with a beam saw, the same one p-lam seams are made with. I just hot melt a backout at the cove to prevent chipout, and get a perfect seam every time. You will never know until you try it.

I recently was dealing with some seams that had spots where the adhesive did not harden. The manufacturer could not find any faults in the adhesive and could not come up with an explanation. Long story short, we had been using a fan to cool ourselves, which happened to be blowing in the area of the seaming. One day, we didn't have the fan on and didn't have a problem. Tested the theory, and that was the problem.

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