Laminate Seam Separation Causes and Cures

Melamine glue in the right place can stop those seams from opening up. September 26, 2006

I just installed Wilsonart laminate using solvent-based glue. I have very little experience in counter tops. Everything went fine and the seams looked great. The next day I went to cut out the sink and noticed my two seams had separated about a 32nd of an inch. Is there any kind of seam sealer that I can fill the seams with to help hide them? If not, is there any way to remove the laminate without destroying the MDF Particle Board.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor A:
A 32nd of an inch is a good sized crack to fill or disguise. You can take the laminate off with laminate thinner or lacquer thinner. Did you use Wilsonart contact cement? Let it dry well, then you can put the contact cement back on. I usually place a melamine glue line about 1 inch back from my seams. This tends to bond the substrate and laminate together since they usually expand and contract differently.

From the original questioner:
I used Formica brand contact cement. What brand of melamine glue do you use on the seam? Do you put it on top of the contact cement 1 inch from the seam?

From contributor A:
I'll get back to you on the brand. As for the glue line, I run a strip of 3/4" masking tape across the substrate one inch on both sides of the seam location, and do the same on the back of the laminate. I leave enough of a space so that the contact will completely envelop the glue without leaving an air space at the edge. Spray the contact, pull the tape strips, put the glue on the line left by the tape on the substrate and put your seam together, and roll out. Prior to doing it this way we got complaints about the seams opening up and closing, and now we don't get any.

From contributor B:
You have an expansion problem due to humidity. I bet it was built in the humid air and then installed in a house with air conditioning.