Peeling edges are a common problem with laminate countertops. They typically occur when water drips off the edge of the counter and leaks into the gap between the laminate layer and the substrate it's attached to. Water and moisture will quickly ruin the adhesive, causing the laminate layer to peel away from the substrate.
It's important to repair peeling laminate edges as soon as you notice them since the substrate in a laminate countertop is typically made of either plywood, particleboard, or fiberboard. All of these materials will collect moisture from the air and begin to swell when they're not protected by laminate, which will result in your countertop developing a bumpy and uneven surface. To learn about three methods that can reattach the peeling laminate to your countertop, read on.
1. Reactivate the Existing Adhesive
When repairing a laminate countertop that's peeling at the edges, the first thing you should try is re-activating the existing contact cement on the substrate. This works best if you do it as soon as you notice the laminate peeling away since there's less time for moisture and dust to ruin the adhesive.
You can use a heat gun or hairdryer in order to reactivate the contact cement. As you heat it up, you'll notice that the adhesive will begin to liquefy. Once the contact cement becomes slightly tacky, press the peeling laminate onto the substrate and place a heavy object on top of it. As the contact cement cools down, it will harden and bond the laminate to the substrate underneath.
If this method isn't successful, it typically means that the adhesive has been exposed to too much dust or moisture. You'll need to add extra adhesive to the substrate in order to secure the laminate to it.
2. Reattach the Laminate Using Contact Cement
Since contact cement is used when installing a laminate countertop, it's a good choice for repairing one as well. Contact cement is inexpensive, and you'll be able to find it at most home improvement stores.
Apply contact cement to the substrate and the underside of the peeling laminate layer. Wait for it to dry and become slightly tacky. Afterward, use a paint roller to slowly press the laminate layer back down onto the substrate, starting from the edge that is still adhered. Place a heavy object on the countertop in order to prevent the laminate layer from shifting while the contact cement dries.
One downside of this method is that contact cement can be difficult to work with. The peeling laminate layer and the substrate will bond tightly as soon as you press them together, so there's a risk that you will end up with imperfections in your countertop. If you trap air bubbles between the laminate layer and the substrate, your countertop will have visible bumps in it.
3. Glue the Laminate Back Onto to the Countertop
An easier method of repairing a peeling laminate countertop is to use superglue. It takes more time for superglue to cure, so you'll be able to push out any air bubbles that are trapped underneath the laminate layer. However, it doesn't bond as tightly as contact cement, so there's a chance that the laminate layer will begin peeling away from the countertop again in a few months.
Apply superglue to the substrate underneath the peeling laminate layer and press the laminate layer down onto it. Tape the area you're repairing to the edge of your counter using painter's tape, and then place a heavy object on it while the superglue cures. You'll need to wait a few days for it to fully cure since it's not exposed to much airflow.
If you're afraid of damaging your countertop using contact cement or if superglue doesn't successfully repair the peeling edges, contact a laminate countertop repair service in your area and have them repair your countertop. The repair is quick and inexpensive, and you'll minimize the chance of accidentally marring your countertop while attempting to fix it with contact cement.