How to Install Edgebanding

Instructional Video and Written Instructions for your DIY Cabinet Project

Tools Needed

  • Contact Cement (We recommend 3M Fastbond Contact Adhesive in Neutral Color)
  • 3″ Roller & Roller Pad
  • 4″ Roller Tray
  • 3″ Chip Brush
  • Scotch Masking Tape
  • Long surface to roll out and roll glue on edgebanding
  • Scissors or other cutting device
  • Razor blade
  • Nail punch

We also recommend a second person to help you transcribe measurements.

Before you begin, sweep up and wipe away any dust in the work area and the cabinets. You want to have a clean work environment for contact cement.

Edge band is a 1″ veneer strip that goes inside where the 1/4″ meets the face frame. This is how your cabinet refacing job will look completely finished and hide the fact that it was refaced. Although it is one of the more tedious steps in our Outside the Box refacing process, it really does wonders and gives your cabinets that finishing touch.

Prepare for Gluing

Take the scotch masking tape and adhere it inside-out on the edges of your long surface. Stick the Edgeband material finish face down on the tape and roll it out. Lay out as many strips for gluing as you need / can fit on your long surface and setup for rolling glue is complete.

Check for Nails

Run your finger along the inside edge where you were toe nailing to find any nails that are sticking out. If you do not remove the ends, they will show through the Edgeband. Use your nail punch to remove the excess nail. You can find a nail punch at hardware stores or online.

3 Pass Rule: when applying contact cement, go over every surface three times.

Apply Contact Cement to Cabinets

Because the contact cement takes longer to dry on the cabinets and has a tendency to pool at the base, apply it there first. When applying the glue, make sure to follow the 3 Pass Rule. When gluing, make sure to go over every surface three times. This is to assure that it is completely covered. Pour a little contact cement into one of the trays and let’s start gluing!

On every surface of the cabinet edge, follow these steps:

  1. Get a decent amount of cement on the brush and apply it perpendicular to the surface, getting a nice wet coat on there.
  2. Next, still perpendicular, spread that coat evenly along the surface.
  3. Finally, flip your brush over and do one more pass to make sure the entire surface is covered.

Follow the 3 Pass Rule on every surface you will be edgebanding. We always apply the cement perpendicular because you want the it to roll over the top edge. The front edge is the most important part of the edgeband process. If the front edge is not properly stuck down, every time you reach into your cabinets you have a chance of peeling up the edgeband if you brush up against it.

Apply Contact Cement to Edgeband

Put a small amount of edgeband underneath the pieces you’ve laid out. Use that same tray from earlier and get some glue on the roller, then apply the contact cement to the edgeband. Do not put a lot of pressure down when rolling the contact cement onto the edgeband. Just letting it cover ofter the top of it.

Follow the 3 Pass Rule, but it doesn’t hurt to roll it over a fourth time.

Lift that small piece of edgeband (that was placed beneath the long rolled out pieces) up on its side so that you don’t accidentally glue the edgeband straight to the board. Now, let the contact cement dry completely. The adhesive must be completely dry on both the edgeband and on the surface of the cabinet for it to work properly.

After approximately 20 minutes, check to see if the glue is dry. Easiest way to tell on the cabinet edges is if the glue is transparent (if you used the neutral color contact cement. Touch around the areas you applied the adhesive. Corners are the most susceptible spots so make sure to check those. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to apply!

Prepare the Edgeband for Installation

Start with the horizontals first when cutting and installing the edgeband. If you do end up with any small gaps, they’re more difficult to notice.

  1. Cut the edge off of your edgeband strip so you have a straight, clean edge to work with.
  2. Hold the edgeband strip up to the front of the cabinet with the freshly cut end at one corner edge. Make sure it is sticking up over it and use a razor blade to cut a knotch into the edgeband where the other corner meets the edgeband.
  3. Take a paper cutter or scissors and make a square cut where you had knotched the edgeband.
  4. Dry fit the edgeband first by having the finished edge down and placing it where you will be installing it. Always double-check measurements and cuts!

Install the Edgeband

  1. Start at one edge and work your way across. Place the cut edge up against the corner, making sure the front edge lines of the edgeband lines up to the front edge of the cabinets.
  2. Use your back hand to hold the edgeband up, while pressing the front of the edgeband down to the front-edge of the cabinets so that it’s perfectly flush.
  3. Once you’ve worked all the way across the front edge, press your fingers down and slide themacross the back half.
  4. Do a couple more wipes across, pressing down firmly.

Excess Adhesive Cleanup

Once you’re done with an area, rub off the excess glue. With cleanup, always start with the bottom horizontal rail so that any fall off from the sides or top rail won’t interfere with you removing the glue on the bottom.

Use your fingers (or a rag or paper towel) and rub them against the outside edge of the edgeband. Use slow, semi hard pressure and roll them over all the edges. You will feel the excess glue start to roll up and then you can just wipe it away.

Round Off the Edges

Once all the excess glue has been removed, you are going to want to round off the edges. Cut a piece of scribe big enough to hold it with both hands with some space in between. You want to have a two handed grip so you don’t accidentally slide off and gouge out your 1/4″ refacing skin.

  1. Holding the scribe with two hands, rub the edgeband down flat.
  2. Then, hold it at a 45° angle and with light pressure round off the edge. If you don’t see the edgeband rounding off, then press a little harder. Be careful though, because if you press too hard you can chip the edgeband or rub off some of the finish.
  3. Go across the rounded edge with your finger and rub away any excess glue that may come out.

Do this with all front edges of the edgeband.