Countertop delamination

      After five years, why is an HPL countertop delaminating? October 2, 2001

After 5 years, my HPL countertops are starting to delaminate due to either faulty contact cement or improper installation. Removing, cleaning and re-gluing is not practical. Is there an adhesive that would work on the accessible edges?

Forum Responses
Laminate that has been stuck for 5 years does not just start to delaminate. There are different types of glue you could use, but first you should find out why they are delaminating. I think you should get new countertops.

I agree. If you used contact cement and it held for five years, it shouldn't fail now. Is the substrate particleboard? If it's been pulling moisture, it could be separating. A stopgap measure would be to make sure the loosening edges are bone dry and superglue things back together. Hopefully it would work and superglue will last a long time.

Another thread here talks about Wilsonart adhesive problems. Sounds suspiciously like what you are describing. If this is a blue adhesive, I'd be willing to bet that you used Wilsonart Tri-Chlor Adhesive, and you really do have a problem.

It sounds like faulty contact cement. If the adhesive was formulated correctly, it will not begin to fail after 5-years. However, if the adhesive does not have the proper antioxidant package to protect the polymer from oxidative degradation, it will fall apart over time. The edges are the first areas to delaminate because they are exposed to oxygen and UV radiation (ie. sunlight). This oxidative degradation process is known as a radical reaction. The exposure to the atmosphere and UV radiation causes the formation of free radicals that begin to attack the adhesive bond. If not protected properly, as was the case with the Wilsonart "blue glue", the adhesive will simply be degraded and the laminate will pop. A reason for the long onset to delamination is if the tops are not subjected to direct sunlight.

As far as fixing the problem, the only proper way is to re-laminate the tops after removing the old laminate/glue or to buy new tops. You can't simply glue down the edges that pop because the radical reaction already has begun. Once you glue down the edge, the reaction will continue and lift the laminate inside the edges. If you purchased your countertops already laminated from an outside source, contact them because they might have been covered under the Wilsonart lawsuit. If so, they should replace your top if you still have proof of purchase.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating

  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating: Glues and Bonding Agents

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates and Solid Surfacing

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Fabrication Techniques

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Materials

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 -
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.
    865 Troxel Road
    Lansdale, PA 19446

    Contact Us

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article