Attaching Aluminum Strips to Laminate

Suggestions for attaching aluminum accent strips to architectural laminate surfaces. July 12, 2008

I'm trying to attach aluminum strips to the face of laminate panels, and having no luck. Please help.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor M:
Not sure what you mean, but can you try gluing them with a polyurethane type glue, or screws countersunk flush, hot melt glue, etc.?

From the original questioner:
We tried hot glue. Can't use screws - architect doesn't want screws. Hot glue doesn't last - it dries before you can get it positioned into place, and it holds it out from laminate. Not a tight fit. Would super glue last? We can't keep going back to the store and reinstalling every two weeks.

From contributor J:
Last time I did a counter with aluminum trim, I used the same contact cement that was used on the laminate. Worked well.

From contributor D:
I have had good luck using Miter Bond brand super glue and silicone. You have to work fast with the Miter Bond if you use the accelerator. You can get super glue with longer set times. I don't really trust super glue with aluminum, so I use it with silicone. Loc-Tite makes special metal bonding super glue, but I've never used it with aluminum.

From the original questioner:
When you say silicone, what do you mean - caulk the edge with the silicone, or what?

From contributor D:
I mean behind it like glue.

From contributor S:
You might want to try 3M VHB tape. This stuff is very expensive, but has high holding power. Make sure you clean the metal well before you put it on.

From contributor N:
How wide are the aluminum strips? If they are no wider than a couple of inches, I would suggest using a bead of silicone on the back of the strips near each edge. Clamp the strips down with a 1x3 piece of lumber on edge placed over the strips lengthwise and clamped at the ends.

Wider pieces of aluminum are more problematic since the silicone is air dried and will dry very slowly in the center of the aluminum. But I have had luck with wider pieces if they are very flat and I clamp the edges and just press the centers down to spread the center glue. I think it partially works with suction.

The double face tape also mentioned works great but has the disadvantage of holding the aluminum a little bit above the surface of the laminate due to the thickness of the tape (it usually has a thick, .045 inch or so, rubber body).

Usually this type of work is done with inlays into the laminate, and the aluminum is held down with contact cement like the laminate itself.

From contributor V:
Would a construction adhesive like PL400 work? I have glued lots of different products with it with great success. Not sure with both surfaces being nonporous.

From contributor B:
I have installed many laminate panels with aluminum cap and cove. If this is the metal you are referring to, I simply use masking tape to hold the metal in place until I glue the entire piece to the wall. Keep the tape away from the edge of the metal so the contact adhesive can still grab the edge. I usually use strips of tape between 1 and 2 inches and space them about 6 to 8 inches apart. This has worked for me for years without fail.