Attaching a Plexiglass Protective Top

Clear silicone adhesive caulk works well. December 6, 2011

The auto shop down the way asked me to put a protective top on their new counter. It's an ultra-thin plastic laminate over some sort of softwood and mars easily. They suggested Plexiglas. Is there an adhesive I can use to glue the Plexiglas layer down or must it be screwed? Or does anyone have another idea?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
From contributor E:
Stainless steel top. Up front cost is more. It will clean and hold up well. Most likely never need to replace it. Screwing plex would be easiest. You'll need to replace it when someone drops a heavy part on it and breaks it, it gets scratched, or some solvent eats it.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. Although you are right in nearly every way about the utility and durability of stainless steel, I doubt that is what they want to go with. Mainly because if they could just keep customers from touching the piece, it really looks great as is. It just won't stay that way, but they want to be able to see it rather than cover it. You don't happen to know of a clip-down system for stuff like this do you? But screwing it down is likely the only practical way.

From contributor S:
What about a couple of strips of a clear double stick tape on the edges? Just the two short edges should be enough to hold it in place. If you keep it from sliding, it shouldn't abrade the surface over time.

From contributor G:
A dab of clear silicone in each corner?

From the original questioner:
I like both of those ideas. Actually I had thought of the double sided tape but only had in mind the white carpet tape so I kept going. It's true the top is going to get scratched over time and will need to be replaced periodically.

From contributor E:

From contributor S:
Plexi doesn't take very long to get all scratched, and you will be replacing it often if you want to be able to see what's under it. Maybe Lexan would be better, but really any plastic product will scratch. If you screw it down it will crack around the screws, even if you predrill. Would they object to having a trim moulding put around the edges to hold it down? Like an outside corner, maybe out of aluminum or stainless.

From the original questioner:
I cut and installed the top earlier this week. The silicone is what I ended up using partially because the clear, double sided tape wasn't readily available. The guy likes it very much so far and the adhesive is holding.

I did think about some sort of trim molding but part of the problem is that the edge around the top has 3-4 beads as a trim feature so I'd be covering that up. Plus, the laminate finish is a darkly stained cherry that I would have to stain match with any sort of molding I used.

The beads were problematic themselves. In order to use the laminate trimmer to cut the curve on the top I needed to run numerous layers of tape to make a smooth surface for the bearing to run across and prevent the bit from cutting into the PL finish.