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How to Repair Peeling Veneer on Particleboard Cabinets

Maria Magher
Laminate cabinets provide a stylish and inexpensive option for kitchens and bathrooms.

Laminate cabinets are a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens because they are inexpensive yet offer stylish designs in a variety of colors. Over the years, the laminate veneer can begin to peel away from the particleboard underneath; this is not only unsightly, but also makes the entire room feel dingy. You can fix the peeling veneer yourself to restore the look of your cabinets without breaking your budget.

Step 1

Hold back the piece of peeling laminate with a pair of pliers and use a paintbrush to apply contact cement to the underside of the piece. Apply contact cement to the particleboard as well.

Step 2

Hold the piece of peeling laminate away from the particleboard until the contact cement has become dry to the touch. The pieces should not touch when the contact cement is still wet.

Step 3

Push the laminate piece onto the particleboard, smoothing it with your hand or a J roller to ensure contact along the length of the piece.

Step 4

If possible, clamp the piece in place while it dries. If the piece cannot be clamped because of its location on the cabinet, place a heavy object on top of it instead.

Step 5

Spray pieces that cannot be held apart from each other while drying with a spray adhesive. Pry the pieces apart enough to create a gap into which to spray the adhesive, then push them together.

Step 6

Smooth the pieces together with a J roller and clamp them in place if possible, the same as you would have with the contact cement method.

Step 7

Remove any pieces of laminate veneer that are damaged or that are unable to be glued back into place for any reason. A heat gun can be used to loosen the glue so the pieces can be pulled off the particle board.

Step 8

Measure the replacement laminate pieces to fit the space, adding a few inches on each side for overhang. Cut them with a circular saw.

Step 9

Apply contact cement to the underside of the replacement laminate pieces and to the particleboard. Allow them to dry before placing them together.

Step 10

Push the replacement laminate piece onto the cabinet, and use a J roller to smooth it out and ensure a good bond.

Step 11

Trim the edges of the laminate with a router and a flush cut bit.

Step 12

Sand the edges as necessary with a file.


When using contact cement, do not allow pieces to touch until the contact cement has dried to the touch and the pieces are positioned correctly. The mistake will be very difficult to correct.