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I'm trying to see if I can buy the laminate that kitchen counters usually have, but without the particle board underside. I'm trying to resurface a desk with something stronger, and it would be easy to simply adhere a strong laminate layer onto the top (plus more decorative options).

I couldn't figure out a way to describe this laminate without it simply being the full counter top product. Does anyone know if there is a specific name for this layer sold separately, or will I have to call around?

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    "laminate sheets" might be the term you're looking for. – Tyson Sep 4 '17 at 13:07
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    A Big Orange example of Tyson's suggestion. They're typically glued down. – brhans Sep 4 '17 at 14:26
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Try Formica (brand name) available in homedepot

  • Formica is glued down with contact cement. When I was doing a lot of remodeling I would save the narrow blinds for putting Formica down. Roll out the contact cement put blind "slats" down then lay the Formica on top. With the Formica in place start pulling the slats once all the slats were out roll and then router the edges (there are handy carbide router bits to do square & 45 edges without gouging). If you get a sheet larger than the desk you could just drop it in place but once it touches if crooked it is almost impossible to pull up without damage. – Ed Beal Sep 5 '17 at 19:30
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The generic term is simply "plastic laminate" or "high-pressure laminate". Formulations vary by manufacturer and for different purposes, but that's what it is. Omit "countertop" in searches and conversation to avoid pre-built products.

It's readily available at big-box stores, though I'm not sure they keep it in stock anymore. You should be able to custom order from several brands.

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You could try searching for HPL or High Pressure Laminate.

I used to work in a worktop/countertop production area. We stuck the laminate using a glue & hardener process, Hardener was put on the particle board top & bottom, then glue top & bottom. Paper cover applied to bottom then the top laminate. Complete assembly was pressed at high temperature. From here to another Post Forming machine, any profile required was machined then the laminate was heated and gently coaxed into shape. This had rollers to keep the laminate against the wood. The laminate went under the board and the edge sealed against moister with a bead of hot melt adhesive.

Obviously you won't have access to this process but long before I got into the industry I had some units that needed replacing, I bought some sheets & stuck them using Bostik Contact adhesive & placed some plastic bags with sand in to apply pressure over night

You could try halogen lamps or heat guns if you need to fold it over an edge.

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If you go to a home improvement store and ask for Formica they will give you what you need. As previously mentioned, it is glued down with contact cement. You spray the glue both on your laminate and the working surface, let it dry for a few minutes until it is no longer tacky, then stick them together. Once they are stuck together, take a roller and go over the surface to ensure even and proper adhesion. You can buy a solvent that will take excess glue off as well but I am not sure if they sell it at any of the big box stores. You use a hand held router with either a straight cut or beveled bit in it to clean up your edges to they are flush with the edge of your surface. If you already have laminate edging in place you will need to use some wax on the top section of edging to prevent the router bit from burning the laminate. After you have trimmed it, take a sharp file and cut the edge of your top piece as it will be extremely sharp after cutting.

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