How to Do Melamine Edging

Mark Morris

Melamine is a plastic coating applied to sheet goods, such as particle board, MDF or plywood. It is used in cabinet making and provides a clean, stain resistant and durable surface. Covering the raw edges of melamine is the key to giving it a finished appearance.

Like veneer edging, melamine edging requires heat to activate the adhesive on its backing; your household clothes iron is a good tool for heating up your edge banding. Besides an iron, you will need a smooth block of wood and a sharp chisel or edge trimmer.

  1. Sand the edge of the melamine piece to be edge banded to remove any saw marks or uneven areas. Be careful to avoid tipping the sander into the face of the melamine. Try to prevent chips.

  2. Roll out enough heat-press melamine edge banding to cover the edge of the board. Estimate an excess hang over of about 1/2 inch at each end. Cut with a utility knife or sharp chisel and hammer.

  3. Set your clothes iron to "Medium Heat." Place the board on a steady, level surface and hold the edge banding in place on the melamine, glue side down. Starting from one end, apply the hot iron to the melamine edge banding. Be sure not to let the iron rest in one place for too long. If you keep the iron moving, you will avoid scorching the edge banding.

  4. Work the edging in small sections. Heat the glue and press it into place with a smooth wood block, firmly. This will help keep any bubbles from forming, which will cause the banding to fail.

  5. Work all the way to the opposite end of the edge. Set the iron aside. Rub the edge banding with the wood block once more to ensure proper adhesion.

  6. Trim the ends of the banding with a sharp chisel. Use the chisel to trim the edge of the banding as well, or trim it with a laminate edge trimmer available from your local hardware store. Double- or single-edge models can be purchased.

  7. Use a router to trim the edge if you have several pieces to do or if using the chisel or edge trimmer makes you nervous. Use a flush-cut bit with a bearing. Run the router in a clockwise direction for best results.

  8. File the routered edge carefully to remove any excess glue. Round down any sharp edges on the melamine edge banding.