The Formica Shop


Gluing Laminate

Gluing plastic laminate calls for only one type of adhesive and that is contact cement. There are generally two kinds: Water-based, and solvent-based.

Water-based Adhesive


  • Quality adhesion
  • Easy application -- No special applicators needed
  • 5-7 times the coverage per square foot over solvent-based
  • Zero fumes that lead to light headedness and nausea
  • Totally non-flammable
  • Easy clean up
  • Non toxic, does not lead to health problems with long term exposure -- No special ventilation
  • Long shelf life


  • More applications
  • Longer set up time. (Approximately double the amount)
  • Thin consistency -- Can be a little messy

Solvent-based Adhesive


  • Superior adhesion
  • They set up quick, and are easy to apply
  • Clean up is easy
  • The thicker consistency makes for a neater application


  • Solvent-based roller cover needed (A regular paint nap will shed and fall apart due to the solvents in the glue.)
  • Needs adequate ventilation due to the heavy fumes and odor
  • Solvent-based glues are flammable, but there are non-flammable versions out there that are safer to use.


Particleboard is the recommended substrate for laminate countertops. Typically 3/4" is what is used. Pick up what is needed for your project at your local lumber yard. You could use plywood but you will just pay more and not realize the difference in cost in added performance. Build up around the perimeter of the top to achieve a 1.5" overall thickness. There is no need to double the wood completely in most circumstances.