We have a kitchen cabinet that we accidentally attached a calendar to using tape. When removing the tape the surface came right off with it. My question is how to best repair this damage? It appears this material is paper backed. Will we need to remove the rest of the wood looking sticker?

cabinet damage

One idea to consider is to re-cover the whole side with an adhesive contact paper. With careful selection you may find this to look better than the way it does now. If you do elect to go this route I would recommend a step to even out the surface where the existing laminate was torn away. You may be able to sand the edges of the ripped area so it is a smooth transition as opposed to an abrupt transition. Another approach may be to try filling the torn out areas with spackle or dry wall compound using a six inch wide blade. This leveling is needed because any surface irregularity will show through contact paper.

Contact paper is available in wood print simulated coloring such as this example from Amazon:

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Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Honey-Adhesive-Contact-Paper/dp/B000KKIR0A

  • Do not use this approach if you would later want to try to repair the damage by another means as the glue on the contact paper may very well take off more of the laminate surface. – Michael Karas Oct 9 '12 at 11:10

Another idea would be to find a way to cover that area with a useful adaptation. Here are several ideas:

Magnetic message board -

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Cork sheet glued on to create a bulletin board -

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Letter board -

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The surface cannot be repaired. It needs to be covered in some way. Removal of the remainder will do no good since the surface underneath is some type of particle board.

You can add

  • adhesive papers in various patterns, including wood grain (but not likely to match rest of cabinets)
  • thin plywood - glue on and stain to resemble the existing cabinet
  • a sheet of laminate in in a complementary color or pattern - glue on
  • paint in a complementary color - lightly sand the surface first
  • magnetic paint - use it as a magnetic bulletin board
  • chalkboard paint (variety of colors) - use it for notes

.

There's really no way to fix that unfortunately. You'd have to remove the entire later and put on a new laminate layer, and in order for it to look right you'd have to find an exact match to the other cabinets. Not likely you'll be able to do any of that.

The best you're going to be able to do is cover it up. Get a bigger calendar or use the area to showcase children's artwork, that sort of thing.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who made the mistake of using tape on the "wood" panel. The paper peeled off around my electric outlet (which was loose). I used sticky tape to keep it still rather than undo the thing and tighten the screws -- which I have now done as part of my solution).

I thought I would cover the entire thing with contact paper, but instead I cut out a square of contact paper (in a neutral pattern) and just covered the part that was torn. I bought a new outlet cover in dark brown for $0.48 from HomeDepot.

I think it looks great! It's a patch to cover an issue. It's not in the line of sight unless you're sitting at the kitchen table. A cheap and cheerful solution. contact paper to cover torn paneling laminate damage

You could also cover it with white board cut to fit.

For a match, laminate a poster-sized print of a photo taken of the back of the cabinet (where the faux wood grain is intact).

Here's how I did it. Expect some frustration. I'll list all the steps, including the mess-ups, so you can see what you're looking at and what not to do. I realize I've very late to this party, but I know this is an ongoing issue.

  1. Buy thin rif-cut veneer with paper backing. Mixed oil-based stains to closely match original color. Don't like (actually wife doesn't like) rif-cut pattern.

  2. Order flat-cut veneer. Much nicer pattern. But paper backing is much thinner, once it's stained, glue won't stick to it (it's like trying to glue paper soaked in oil). Start over with water-based stains, find a mix of stains that closely matches original color (see photo). Glue it on, find that chosen glue makes veneer buckle even with clamping. Rip it all off, sand off glue.

  3. Cut/stain another piece of veneer, use contact cement to attach. This one works.

Hints: Cut veneer a little large and trim it down. Trim AFTER staining. Veneer is normally glued in a vacuum press, so some glues will require clamping with one or more large pieces of wood to keep it flat. Test glue on scrap material to be sure it will work. You'll have to sand the damaged surface for any glue (including contact cement) to stick well. Best to sand it down to bare particle board. I finally settled on contact cement because I wasn't confident I could get good clamping force across the entire surface. I didn't have much luck when I tried construction adhesive.

Plan on spending several hours on this over multiple days.

You might find that the iron-on veneer is easiest to work with. I couldn't find any the right size in white oak, but other woods (including red oak) are available with the iron-on glue. Also, there are iron-on glues that you can apply to the surface but I didn't try them.

My total cost was north of $150, but part of that is the purchase of the veneer twice.

Picture of veneer piece before attachment

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