Wood Edge on a Laminate Top — Which Comes First, Edge or Laminate?

Advice on the order of operations for assembling a wood-edged laminate top. June 12, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I have a question regarding installing a wood edge on a laminated countertop. Is it better to laminate over the wood edge then route the edge, or mount the wood edge flush with the laminate? It seems like it would be easier to laminate over the wood edge, and that it would provide better protection from moisture penetration. Is there any advantage to mounting the edge flush to the laminate? Aesthetics maybe?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor L:
We always put the wood edge on first and run the laminate over the top of it. At that point you can do any time of top edge such as a chamfer or round over. The only negative is the finishing of the wood edge.

From contributor H:
I do lots of wood edge counters. Wood on sub-top first (glue, no staples, pins or nails) then laminate over the edge. Turn the counter over and spray the edge with finish. That way there’s no overspray on the finish surface.

From contributor G:
Wood on first then laminate over. What a pain to get the wood flush with the top if you laminate it first?

From contributor M:
A previous employer used a wood edge profile that had about a 3/8" flat on top, then a nice profile on the face. We would build the substrait, lightly tack a 3/8 strip on the edges that get wood, laminate top, flush route edge, then remove 3/8 strip, clean lam overhang of glue, place a caulk bead under the 3/8 lam overhang and then nail on the counter edge moulding. The edge had a nice nitch to nail into that kept the nail inconspicuous even before wax putty. It sounds complicated but to be able to finish edge beforehand is great, especially on a large top.

From contributor M:
I would also add that applying the edge afterward looks nice when done well. If you do you might want to apply 1/16" backer material on the edge like normal before laminating the top to give a barrier to water, although I had that fail once also.