Laminate End Cap
The end cap is a separate piece of plastic laminate glued to the raw exposed end of a countertop. The description below is for a standard postformed kitchen countertop 25-1/2" wide, with 3" high back splash. Dimensions of standard kitchen end cap are 5"(W) X approx. 28"(L) X laminate thickness. End caps are cut over size to allow for trimming with a router and they also are cut for left and right side of countertop. The build-up strip measures 24"(L) X 1-1/4"(W) X 3/4"(T). The stick for the back splash measures 4"(L) X 3/4"(W) X 1/2"(T). Basic tools are required that include; small electric router and flush trim laminate bit, belt sander, power drill, drill bits, fine tooth hand file, padded saw horses, screw driver, hammer and seam roller. Supplies needed are; contact adhesive, contact adhesive solvent, wood build up strips, end cap (Fig.1), hot melt glue or wood glue and screws or nails, small brush or roller, petroleum jelly and rag for clean up.
How to Apply an End Cap
- Flip countertop that is to be capped upside down on a surface that will not scratch laminate surface, padded saw horses work well.
- Attach 3/4" thick build-up strip on edge that gets capped. Methods of attachment can include; hot melt, wood glue and screws or nails. Photos showing wood glue and screws (Figs 2&3). Apply wood glue then screw, nail or clamp build-up strip with c-clamps or spring clamps untill glue dries. Also use some type of padding between c-clamp and laminate surface. When using nails or screws make sure they are short enough (1-1/4" max.) so they don't protrude through finished side of countertop. Also pre-dill hole in build-up strip the same diameter as screw or nail.
- Attach small stick to back of back splash, using methods described above (Fig.4). This stick is only 1/2" thick and extends from under the scribe stick on back splash to the build-up strip applied previously to create a 90° angle. If attaching with nails or screws maximum length is 1-1/8" long. If nailing use extreme caution. The back splash must be supported to prevent the cove from cracking when the nail head is struck by hammer. The cove is the laminate inside radius at the transition point between the countertop deck and back splash.
- Flip countertop right-side-up.
- With a small brush (natural bristle for solvent base, synthetic bristle for water base) or small disposable paint roller apply contact cement (non-flammable solvent base or water base adhesive is recommended) in a smooth even coat to both surfaces (Fig. 5&6). Follow all directions on glue container. Let glue dry until tacky then mate both surfaces together (Fig.7), when contact is made the two pieces can't be moved again. Use a roller (Fig.8) or wooden block (Fig. 9). Example short piece of 2" X 4" material used on edge to exert even pressure on the entire glue joint. Be careful not to roll off the edge of the end cap it can crack the laminate end cap because it is not supported from behind. Use extreme caution; if the laminate cracks, the edge can become VERY sharp and serious injury could result!
- Apply lubrication to the finished surface of the countertop. in the area that will come in contact with the flush trim router bit (Fig.10). Petroleum jelly works well.
- Use small hand held router with laminate flush trim bit to trim off excess cap material (Fig.11). Move router in a counter-clockwise direction. Keep router moving, do not stop in one spot, or burning of laminate is possible.
- File routed edge of end cap at slight angle to remove any sharp edge and flush edge of end cap to laminate on countertop (Fig.12). File TOWARD the countertop surface to avoid chipping end cap.
- Use a rag and solvent recommended by the glue manufacturer to remove any unwanted glue on surface of countertop. Make sure not to get excess solvent on the glue line, solvent can loosen glue bond.
- Flip countertop upside-down on a surface that will not scratch laminate surface.
- Sand bottom and back of back splash flush with build-up sticks using belt sander (Fig.13) or sanding block. Sand ONLY in direction TOWARD particle board. Never sand away from the particle board, this can cause the laminate to chip.
Click on photos to enlarge.