Removal Of Contact Cement After Formica Installation. - Kitchen & Bath Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
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Removal of contact cement after Formica installation.


Hello there. I recently covered a wooden slab unfinished door with Formica and made a rather nice computer desk out of it. I used a router with a flush cutting bit to trim the edges. It turned out great. The only downside is, there is some extra contact cement that has dried on the surface of the Formica on the edges. I Googled around and some people were suggesting to use lacquer thinner. I have no lacquer thinner, but I do have paint thinner. A quick Google search suggests paint thinner is much tamer than lacquer thinner, which I prefer as long as it aides in the removal of the contact cement.

My concern is I don't want any of this solvent to get into the seams and begin to break down the contact cement that is actively holding the Formica to the wood. Is that likely to happen? Or do things just not work that way?

I also considered on just getting a gum remover, such as Goo Gone. I feel like that would be safer yet, however I'm not entirely sure. But hey, that's why I'm here asking the DIY experts. Any advice? Your help is appreciated!
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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Might try plastic razor blades before any solvent. Heat it up with a hair dryer? Acetone might work. I guess Goo Gone, Ooops, Krud Kutter are worth a shot. I used to work in the graphic arts and had rubber cement thinner around. It worked well for getting lots of adhesives loose.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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No matter what you use, if it is strong enough to dissolve the contact cement outside the bonded area, it will cause a little to penetrate the bonded area. Try to work the solvent into the open area and keep it away from the bonded area as much as possible. Once the solvent has evaporated, check the bonded edge and see if it has loosened at all. If it has you should be able to apply pressure again and make it bond. I checked my can of Weldwood contact cement and it says to use mineral spirits to clean up. Lacquer thinner works quicker, as does MEK, or acetone. These are all very strong solvents. Paint thinner or Goof Off are not as strong and you will have to work with them more.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:14 PM   #4
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I'm okay with working a little harder at a lesser risk of ruining the bond. I never heard of plastic razor blades, though. I think I'm going to try Goo Gone in very light amounts. I noticed if I just lightly rub the area, let it dry, then with my finger rub the area the contact cement balls up and comes right off. As long as I use a minimal amount, I wonder if I'll be okay.

By the way, does Epoxy ruin the contact cement at all? I ask this because if a corner comes up and it won't re-bond by putting pressure on the edge, I thought about mixing some and using a razor sliding a small amount in the opening, which would cause an instant bond whereas the contact cement needs to be dried on both sides, then applied, which would be hard in that case. I think if I know epoxy doesn't ruin the contact cement bond or interfere with it, then it'll be a nice backup plan if a corner manages to come unstuck. So would that be a safe bet?
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:20 PM   #5
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I used plastic razor blades in painting all the time. They do not rust like metal ones, fit standard industrial blade holders, and are less likely to scratch things---like your new Formica surface. Paint store should have them. I suspect box stores too? They retail for about $5/100 as I remember.

As for glue if something comes loose? I should think epoxy should work but superglue or something like Gorilla glue also so long as you clamp. You will not have the two contact cemented side to pull things together. Hopefully you will not need it.


Last edited by user1007; 02-08-2012 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Added Photo
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
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Epoxy will work. I would tape off the exposed area outside where you are injecting it. Again, clean up for epoxy is Lacquer thinner, acetone, or MEK. I don't think paint thinner will soften epoxy or clean it off.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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Goo Gone removed VCT tile adhesive really easily for me so it would probably get the contact cement off. I'd also tape off the area you don't want the remover to come into contact with.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostlyvision View Post
Goo Gone removed VCT tile adhesive really easily for me so it would probably get the contact cement off. I'd also tape off the area you don't want the remover to come into contact with.
The issue is it's at the seam of the corner, so I can't necessarily tape things off.
However, the plastic razor thing sounds good. I might try Goo Gone for some of the larger areas to start and leave the stuff closer to the seam for plastic razors. We'll give it a shot. Appreciate the suggestions guys!
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:20 PM   #9
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Well, the plastic razors were a no go. I went to several places in the area and didn't find them. Even Lowes had nothing except plastic putty knives. I also tried Goo Gone. Goo Gone works relatively well, but I almost find it easier to just tolerate the burning pain and rub it off with my bare fingers. When it gets a bit too much, I did end up using a ball from an old computer mouse, which works relatively well.

One lesson I did learn is not to use longer trim bits. The trim set I got came with 2 different bits for the router. One was really short the other was long. I ended up putting the long one on and ended up skimming the black surface on the side. Luckily it's the pane that is going to be hidden against the wall, but I was still kind of like, wow, really? Even still, I suppose the longer bit you use the more chance you have of that happening. I'm just glad I went with the shorter bit first without even thinking about it.

Hopefully tonight it'll be done. I just get so nervous using any sort of solvent because I don't want anything to creep into the seam and manage to break down the contact cement that I actually need to stay in place and stay gripped.
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