Slip Sheet Material Choices

Countertop fabricators discuss dowels, "slip sheet" materials, and other options for aligning materials to substrates after applying contact cement.January 14, 2013

I am using spray contact cement laminating metals and phenolic backed plastic laminates. I typically use wooden dowels between substrates before I lay up the laminate. This is not an option with the metal laminates, as they will bend easily. What material is used as a slip sheet? I tried .020" pteg and acrylic and they both stick.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor L:
Might try wax paper. The glue has to be dry.

From contributor T:
Thick plastic sheeting like a 4 mil comes in a 10' x whatever length roll cut at like 50" x 100" for a 4 x 8 sheet and you are good to go. Also works great for radius parts.

From contributor D:
Never use slip sheet or sticks - just pick it up and lay it on there. If there is no seam, just start in one corner and work it down the substrate. A good laminator should not need sticks, and never a slip sheet.

From contributor W:
Slip sheets are definitely required for large lay-ups. Every countertop shop I've worked in has used slip sheets or dowels to locate before layup. Especially if you are in a small shop and have to do it by yourself. If you just slap an 8 foot section on with no sheet or dowels, you could get a nasty pocket, especially with the thinner vertical grade or metal laminates. I would never recommend laminating without a slip sheet unless it is a section smaller than 36"x36". Even then, why take the risk? 1/8" double sided tempered masonite works the best for slip sheets - thin, rigid, and will not stick.

From contributor L:
Lift the leading edge of the laminate from the glued substrate carefully so as not to break or split the piece. Put just enough pressure lifting to be able to cut the glue line with a long knife or piece of laminate, but not risk breaking it. Continue the process until the laminate is separated from the substrate. It may require using dowels (drop aluminum rod is great) placed to keep the laminate and substrate from reattaching.

From contributor D:
I can lay up any 4x8 sheet of metal with no slip sheet or dowels, and I have no problem laying up any size countertop. 5x12s by myself easy. Dowels and slip sheets make it harder. And it is easier with one person. You just start at one corner and line it up along the long edge and then lay it down. I have done it for 26 years now.

From contributor S:
You do what you are comfortable with. I insist that my staff use sticks because they don't all have 26 years of experience and I am too busy to babysit. I use strips of Coroplast (plastic) that are wide enough to grab hold of to pull them out, because they can stick as well.

From contributor Y:
My employees don't use any slip sheets and lay full sheets all the time. Much faster once you are used to it! Metal can be laid the same way, just a bit more care!

From contributor M:
I use plastic chicken wire for a slip sheet. It comes in rolls in various widths. You can just roll it out onto your substrate, put your laminate on it, stick down one edge, and pull the chicken wire out.

It's not a continuous sheet, just wires in a grid, so even if it sticks a bit to tacky contact cement, it's easy to pull out. It holds your laminate about 1/8" up above the substrate before it's pulled out. (It's actually the little knots in the chicken wire that control the spacing).