How to Use Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets

What You'll Need
Self Adhesive laminating sheets
Wood putty
Nail set
Drop cloth
Belt sander
Sanding belt
Tack cloth
Utility knife
Safety goggles

Self adhesive laminating sheets are the perfect way to put on a new counter top. As the adhesive is so strong, however, they require a good deal of care in their use and in the preparation. You’ll find that self adhesive laminating sheets will last for a long time and will require very little maintenance if they’ve been properly installed.

Step 1 - Preparation

Before you can apply the self adhesive laminating sheets to the counter, the counter has to be prepared. That means it needs to be smooth and level. The simplest way to achieve this is by sanding it. That will eliminate any bumps and rough spots so the sheets can adhere properly. If there are any nails heads, these need to be removed or hammered in with a nail set. Where there are cracks or ch-ips, fill in with wood putty and allow to dry.

Step 2 - Sanding

Put down drop cloths around the area and wear a pair of safety goggles to keep sawdust out of your eyes. Use a belt sander with a medium grit sanding belt and sand the entire counter area lightly, until it’s smooth. Wipe off the sawdust with a dry cloth and use your level both ways to check the counter is properly flat. Finish by going over the counter with a tack cloth to ensure all the sawdust is removed.

Step 3 - Fitting the Laminate

It’s vital that the laminate is applied straight--you don’t want it to be crooked and have to fill in along one edge of the counter. To make sure you get a good fit cut the self adhesive laminating sheets so they’re about 1 inch wider than the counter top. Don’t remove the backing paper. Hold it against the counter to check that the size is right.

Step 4 - Installing the Laminate

To start installing the self adhesive laminating sheet, peel back a small fraction of the backing paper. Press very lightly on the laminate, just enough to hold it down along the back edge of the counter. Keep going until the whole edge is properly in place and smooth. From there, peel off the rest of the backing paper, a little at a time, and push down on the self adhesive laminating sheets until they’re in place on the counter.

Step 5 - Adhering

It can be impossible to avoid air bubbles in the laminate when pressing down with your hand. To take them out from the counter top, use a warm iron. It should be set no higher than nylon. Rub it lightly across the laminate to work out the bubbles. You can also use a hair dryer to warm the laminate and press down with your hand. Finally, with the laminate in place tightly, use your utility knife to trim off all the excess.