Repairing A Laminate Seam

Placed to close to the kitchen sink, a laminate countertop seam is lifting. Here are quick tips on prevention and repair. December 14, 2005

I've been asked to repair a laminate countertop. The contact cement has let go, and the laminate has lifted away. The seam is located right next to the sink. I'm assuming that water probably created this problem. The customer does not want to replace the countertop at this time, since the entire kitchen was new 3 years ago. While inspecting the job, I found oak laminate lifting in other areas too (cabinet sides). Does contact cement expire? If I lay the laminate back down, there is a slight 1/16 gap between the pieces. Is there a filler that I can use to seal this up? The laminate is a black marble color.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor V:
The seam can be filled with Kampel seam fill. It can be blended to match the exact color of laminate. Contact adhesive does have a shelf life. Most I have used are 1 year shelf life.

From contributor D:
I think you should tell this potential client that they should contact the company that made and/or installed the cabs and top. Three years is too short of a time to have passed for these types of problems to arise.
The first thing you should suggest to them is that the countertop should never have had a seam placed so close to the sink cutout and moisture will compromise the seam if it was poorly done in the first place. It's too easy for the core of the top to swell from exposure to moisture from the sink cutout. I usually paint the interior of the cutout, whether it's cut out in the shop or in the field. If a seam absolutely has to go near a sink, I hard glue at least 6" on either side of the laminate seam. It sounds like they may have used water based contact cement and/or not allowed it to dry totally before laminating. If the top and some cabinet sides are already coming apart, it's only going to get worse. Plenty of repair work for you, though.

From the original questioner:

Thanks for the tips. I already mentioned the countertop seam being too close to the sink. They don't know who built the kitchen - they just purchased the house a year ago. I think it was a local contractor. I will get them fixed up, and they are going to budget for a new top.