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How to Apply Laminate on Vertical Surfaces


Applying laminate vertically, such as on a wall panel or partition, creates a dramatic focal point in a home or commercial space – especially when using graphic or large-scale patterns. In fact, our product photography often showcases vertical uses of laminate, such as the one below featuring 180fx® Laminate in Petrified Wood

Formica laminate in Petrified Wood on a wall. 

… and this corridor featuring Geo Fossil and Neutral Weft 

Formica laminates Geo Fossil and Neutral Weft on a wall. 

... and this striking application in Oiled Olivewood.

Formica laminate vertical application using Oiled Olivewood. 

Beautiful, right?  But don’t pick up the glue so fast.  Did you realize that you cannot install laminate to a drywall surface? Our technical service experts warn against installing laminate directly to drywall due to the movement differences between the two surfaces. This movement can cause the glue line to sheer. Bottom line, the end result can be bubbles in the laminate. Not a good look.

If you are planning a vertical laminate application, review our Formica® laminate technical data sheet for specific details. You’ll see that you must bond the laminate to a #45 density particleboard (ANSI A208.1 - 1999) or an MDF substrate (this substrate can be thin, such as 3/8”) first and then attach the panel to the wall by using panel adhesive or by bolting through the face with undersized screws. 

Likewise, you’ll still need to use such substrates for “off the wall” applications such as surfacing island bases or reception desks (as seen below with 2013 commercial patterns Graphite Twill, Dali and Ashen Ribbonwood). 

Formica laminate in Graphite Twill, Ashen Ribbonwood and Dali on a reception desk.





what about glueing laminate to concrete baker board, (wonder board) ? 
Im interested in using laminate wall finishes in a bathroom and having the laminate run through into the shower. 
what adhesive would you use? 
would just plain silicone be good as it would have some give for when the hot shower water caused some expansion. 
The pieces would need careful fitting so I dont want to use an on contact cement.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 17, 2013 4:24 PM by luke robinson
Hi Luke, 
We’re glad you are considering laminate but wouldn’t recommend your described application for two reasons — laminate should only be bonded to either MDF or 45 pound industrial strength particle board substrate and that a shower area would produce too much variable humidity and could result in the laminate pulling away from any substrate.  
Thanks for reading and reaching out.
Posted @ Thursday, April 18, 2013 9:19 AM by Stacy Stufft
What is the difference between HPL and LPL? Which do you have?
Posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 1:29 PM by Beth
Great question, Beth. HPL stands for high-pressure laminate and LPL stands for low-pressure laminate. Without getting too technical, one of the main differences is how the laminate is bonded to the substrate. LPL uses lower pressure and high temperatures to bond the material directly to the substrate with no adhesive, while HPL uses higher pressure, lower temperatures and adhesive. The application for the laminate will likely dictate which is more preferred. HPL, which Formica Corporation manufactures, is recommended for high-wear applications such as countertops. Thanks for reading!
Posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 2:08 PM by Stacy Stufft
what is the best way to install the Formica on gypsum ceiling? thanks
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 12:01 PM by Rah
Hi Rah, 
Laminate cannot be directly applied to gypsum-you would have to bond the laminate to a #45 density particleboard (ANSI A208.1 - 1999) or an MDF substrate and then attach the panel to the ceiling by using panel adhesive or by bolting through the face with undersized screws. We wouldn't recommend a ceiling application because it would be a considerable amount of weight on the ceiling and you would risk it pulling away. Thanks for reaching out to us!
Posted @ Monday, September 09, 2013 7:37 AM by Stacy Stufft
Great post! Thanks!
Posted @ Sunday, November 17, 2013 12:51 PM by Kevin Right
can I apply new laminate over the top of existing laminate on a vertical surface, which does include exterior corners where two existing pieces of laminate meet? 
Please let me know if I will need to remove the existing damaged laminate or if I can apply new laminate over the top of the existing laminate. Please respond at your earliest convenience. Thank you.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 11:03 AM by Jerry
Hi Jerry, yes you can. We'll send you a follow-up email with instructions. Thanks for contacting us!
Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:18 PM by Stacy Stufft
Is there another adhesive for formica other than contact cement. Something that is a bit more forgiving ? Like using linoleum glue? Thanks
Posted @ Friday, April 04, 2014 10:38 AM by Mike
Hi Mike, thanks for reaching out. We partner with Choice Brands Adhesives as our supplier for high pressure laminates adhesives. You can find that information on our website here: 
Also PVAs would work for you as well.
Posted @ Friday, April 04, 2014 3:32 PM by Taryn Lawson
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