Master 12 Steps: Trimming a Laminate Countertop Against a Wall

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Last updated: April 20, 2023

Trimming a laminate countertop against a wall can help you achieve a smooth appearance that will make your kitchen design look well put together and more attractive. However, you might have encountered some difficulties with trimming your laminate countertop.

Some even find the process challenging and time-consuming. The job even gets worse if you don’t have the necessary tools handy. This is why I shared a few tips for trimming your laminate countertop and answering other relevant concerns you might have.

Table of Contents

Trimming a laminate countertop against a wall

A trim router with the precise bit is often the best and easiest way to trim laminate countertops against the wall. You can choose from several router bits used for a specific task. You will also find some components made especially for laminate counters.

If there is no router handy, you can also use other alternative materials to trim the edge of the laminate. Here are the steps to follow for cutting your laminate counter against the wall.

Sand your laminate countertop properly

Use grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth surface finish. Remove the sanding dust with a tack cloth. Sanding down the area properly will help you achieve the ideal shape and round edge you are looking for.

contractor cuts a laminate kitchen formica for sink on kitchen using electric saw

Trim with a circular saw

Use a circular saw to trim the laminate sheet. You can also consider using a fine-toothed hand saw. Be sure to allot an extra inch of dimensions for a cleaner trim.

Apply and paint on contact cement

After you trim the laminate sheet, apply a layer of contact cement and paint over it. Ensure you align the backside of the laminate sheet correctly to the corner of the counter. Contact cement is often a beautiful complement to laminate counters.

Smooth the edges

A laminate roller presses any air pockets to guarantee a proper seal. Cut corners with a jigsaw or handsaw file to achieve flawless and clean edges.

Remove any excess cement

Use a moist towel to remove excess cement. Let the contact cement dry before you file down the counter further.

contractor uses circular saw table while cutting laminate

How do you trim laminate countertops

Trimming the edges flush is the final step in installing a laminate counter. However, you might find it a bit nerve-wracking if you’re just like me. After all the money and time you invested in the project, the last thing you’d want to happen is to ruin your hard work while trimming.

To give you peace of mind, let me share a few pointers to ensure clean results once the job is done.

Use the correct laminate bit on your router

Although you can always use a wood file for trimming off overhanging substrate edges of the laminate material, the job might take some time with not so professional looking results.

The perfect solution is to fit your router with a top-quality flush trim bit explicitly made for the job. This will help you achieve flawless edges quickly.

Check the smooth and clean surfaces

Use a whiskbroom to clean your counter and brush off the router’s base. The bottom of the router should move smoothly across the laminate surface unhindered by misplaced glue globs, sawdust, and other hindrances to achieve a straight cut.

You can also apply a layer of masking tape on the laminate surface along the router’s path to ensure that its base doesn’t scratch the laminate while trimming the edge.

Now, cut carefully. Stay relaxed and confident while cutting. Move your router continuously at a consistent and slow feed rate. Rushing things will only make the router jump around, accidentally cutting into your counter. I should make note that stopping midway while cutting will result in a jagged or uneven edge.

Hold your router firmly and level against the material while cutting. Move counterclockwise as you cut the outside edges, and feed the router clockwise for trimming inside edges.

Finishing the edges of a laminate countertop

Finishing the edges of a laminate countertop can make it look more flawless and professional. Here are the steps you can follow when you finish the laminate edges.

Apply masking tape along the outer edge of your counter. It will guide sanding and ensure you only sand a particular spot for the rest.
Use an orbital sander and attach 120-grit carbide sandpaper to it. Hold the sander pointing down the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. This downward angle ensures that the laminate doesn’t lift from the countertop. Smooth the edges by sanding the laminate. Damp a rag slightly and use it to remove sanding dust.
Sand spots next to the wall and other areas that you can’t reach with the metal file on the sander. Hold the file and point it downward at a 45-degree angle.
Use a fine-grit sanding block to sand the laminate’s edge. Round the edges and sand the corners with the block to remove the tiny chips that occurred while cutting.
Use a dam rag to get rid of sanding dust.

How do you scribe a countertop to the wall

Some walls are more straight than you want them to be. It’s common for walls to have angles, bulges, curves, or dips. Countertop installers and cabinetmakers always deal with this issue. They often use a tool to help fix these gaps formed by uneven walls.

Scribing can help you flush your bare or laminated countertops to the wall. The scribe tool resembles a compass, which transfers the wall’s line to the countertop, where you can handle it. However, you can’t scribe composite, tiled, or performed countertops.

Let me share some tips to scribe your countertop to the wall.

Place the counter on top of your cabinets, and slide this to the preferred installation position. If you have an uneven wall, you will notice a gap between the counter and the wall.
Open your scribe tool with a pencil on one leg and a flat arm on the other. Unscrew the wing nut holding these two legs together.
Place the scribe tool vertically with the flat arm against the wall and the pencil resting on the counter. Separate the flat arm and pencil, opening the device for the pencil to span the gap and tightening the wing nut afterward.
Slide or pivot the countertop so that the scribed edge overhangs the cabinets. You can also place the counter across two sawhorses. Secure the countertop by clamping it to the cabinets or sawhorses.
Put the 100-grit sanding belt on the belt sander.
Cut off the countertop at the scribed line if using a circular saw. Cut along the side of the line closest to the wall with the pencil line left on the countertop. Use the belt sander for sanding the counter to the line. Take off the clamps and slide the counter back in place. Inspect the gap, set the scribe tool, and repeat the above steps.
Use the belt sander for sanding your countertop to the line.

How do you fit countertops between walls

To fit your countertop between walls, just follow these steps.

Cut your countertops to the preferred size.
Position your countertops on the base cabinets.
Adjust the fit of your countertops.
Fit the end trim.
Fix your countertops.

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