How to Resurface a Wood Table With Wood Veneer or Laminate

Larry Simmons

Wood tables can take a large amount of wear and tear before they're simply too damaged to restore. They can become badly scratched, gouged and chipped. If you have an old scratched and gouged table, you can refinish it. But sometimes it's best to go ahead and resurface the table.

Restore a damaged table with a layer of wood veneer or laminate.

New laminate or veneer is easy to apply. And it can greatly extend the life of your table.

  1. Clean the table with a sponge and cleanser formulated for the type of wood your table is made of. Rinse off the cleanser with clean water, and then pat the wood dry with a clean cloth.

  2. Examine the tabletop for any damage that requires repair before you apply the wood veneer or laminate. Fill each gouge and scratch with wood putty. Pack the putty in tightly with a putty knife, and then scrape the edge of the knife over the patch to even out the surface. Allow the filler to dry for about two hours, and then sand the patch level with the surrounding wood, using medium-grit sandpaper. Switch to fine-grit sandpaper. Go over the entire tabletop, sanding away any gloss and further blending in the patched areas. Wipe down the table again with a clean cloth to remove the sanding residue.

  3. Measure the length and width of the tabletop with a tape measure. Add an inch to the length and width, and cut the veneer or laminate to the new measurements, using a utility knife and a straight edge to guide your cut.

  4. Brush a thin layer of contact cement on the back of the veneer or laminate and the top of the table. Use a paintbrush to apply the contact cement, brushing it on in rows. Allow the cement to dry. Carefully place the veneer or laminate on the tabletop. The contact cement binds in seconds, so make adjustments quickly.

  5. Roll the veneer or laminate from the center outward with a hard rubber roller to make sure the entire surface sticks to the table. Trim the edges of wood veneer with the utility knife, and then sand the edges of the veneer smooth with the edge of the table, using a sandpaper sponge. Trim the edges of laminate sheeting, using a router with a flush trim bit, and then smooth the edge using a half-round file.

  6. Apply laminate or wood veneer along the edges of the table the same way you applied it to the tabletop.

  7. Finish the wood veneer. Apply a wood stain and protective coat. Or apply just the coating. Laminate coverings need no finishing.


Place a strip of masking tape on the laminate where you want to make your cut, and then cut through the tape and laminate beneath it to keep the material from chipping.