Solid-Surface Edging for Laminate Countertops

      Countertop pros give advice on a troublesome detail that probably isn't worth the hassle. July 30, 2007

I have done many solid surface and laminate tops. But now I have a customer that wants a solid surface edge and laminate work surface. Which doesn't sound that tough, but she said that the laminate matches the solid surface so that she can have a "fake" solid surface countertop. Has anyone ever heard of a laminate matching solid surface so well that you can't tell the difference?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
From contributor B:
No exact matches, unless you get lucky with a solid color choice. Closest thing I know of is GemLoc by the Loti Corp. The top/bottom edge is solid surface, the face is lam. I almost always use a contrasting solid surface color for that custom inlay look since the colors don't match exact.

From contributor S:
With all the new laminate colors they have now, there are a lot that come close to solid surface colors. The easiest way to incorporate the two is with the Gem-Loc molding as mentioned. If you want to apply a solid surface edge, I have had best results with an adhesive called E-6000. It is waterproof and remains flexible. It holds much better than anything else I have tried, however you will not get as good of a seam to the laminate as you will with the Gem-Loc. I have stopped offering the solid surface edge except for the Gem-Loc. Of course if someone insisted and had the money, I might still do it.

From contributor U:
I did that... once! It was a lot of work to make it nice. The customer's expectations were a fake solid surface counter without the cost. It would have been faster to have used real solid surface where I could sand everything smooth. It took about twice the labor solid surface would have taken, which I didn't get paid for.

From contributor V:
Ditto with the above - did it once! Not worth the trouble!

From contributor H:
I agree - this seems like a lot of labor for a money-saving fake solid surface top! Do you think your customer would go for a nice laminate bevel edge? I use Wilsonart's perma-edge all of the time. It looks really nice with their Deepstar High Definition laminate series. It definitely gives it a high end solid surface look.

From contributor J:
There is a good way and a bad way of doing a solid surface edge on a laminate top. The best way is to use a router and put a groove in the particleboard about half way down the edge. Then make your 1/2" solid surface edge to receive that groove. Lay up a scrap piece of laminate on a large scrap piece of particleboard. With your router still set up, make the groove in the scrap piece. Then temporarily push the piece of solid surface onto your scrap fake countertop. Now sand the edge flush to the fake countertop. Put your profile on it, and you have an edge that will line up exactly with your real countertop. It's important you use precision straight edges to cut out the deck of the countertop so that your solid surface fits tightly. Tape off the laminate and solid surface with clear tape, and glue the edges on with a good seam adhesive like Gruber. If you follow these guidelines you should come out with a very professionally done solid surface edge on a laminate top.

From contributor U:
Now it *really* isn't worth the time and trouble. In fact, I bet this would cost more.

From contributor S:
Good advice up until the adhesive. If you use solid surface glue to bond to wood, the only one I have known to work is from Wilsonart, but I would not recommend that either for this application. Been there, done that. If you want to avoid problems, use glue that allows the dissimilar materials to expand and contract at different rates, which they do. I only have my experience to go by. And that is my suggestion.

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