Many of our customers reach out to us for assistance on either selecting a metal banding that will work for their application or for assistance in understanding the installation process. Below we will cover many of the common concerns both DIYers and professionals will need to take into account when selecting and installing metal banding.
SELECTING THE CORRECT METAL BANDING
At first choosing which metal banding to use for your project can feel overwhelming. It is important to realize this decision is broken down into three simple factors- size, installation method and style.
The primary concern is to select a metal that is at least as thick as the finished countertop thickness. When calculating finished countertop thickness include the substrate and the laminate. If the laminate is not included in the calculation you will see the end of the laminate showing above your metal. You can also choose a metal that is wider than your finished countertop thickness. When choosing a wider metal be sure to take into account any drawers that may need to open.
There are three basic installation methods for metal banding. The most common is the friction T in groove. This metal is installed by routing a groove out and tapping the T in the back of the metal into that groove. The two other types of metals do not have the T in the back. One is predrilled and is applied with screws. The other is applied with an adhesive. Depending on your size limitations you may be able to choose a metal based on your installation method preference.
There are a number of styles of metal banding available. Your decision on style is based on your personal preference of the appearance of the metal. Not all styles are available in all sizes and as such if you are replacing edging on an existing countertop as opposed to building new you may be limited in the styles you can choose from.
Fluted T – The fluted style is by far the most popular look and is available in multiple sizes varying from 13/16” to 2”.
This style is only available in a T molding so you will have to be willing to work with that application method to use this design.
Cove moldings are the metal that go between the countertop and backsplash. There are a number of cove molding options including applied before the laminate, drilled and undrilled. Apply before the laminate cove is applied to the countertop before the laminate allowing the laminate to slide into the cove. Cove Molding that is undrilled is applied with an adhesive that does not expand.
INSTALLATION OF METAL
Handling Corners – Any exposed outside corners should be rounded.Mitering the metal at a 90-degree corner leaves a pointed corner that poses a safety hazard should anyone bump into it especially small children who are head level with the edge. Most T edging is flexible down to a 3 inch radius but does require the T to be removed for the length of the radius.Inside corners or corners ending into a wall or meeting with an appliance can be left square.
Installation of T Metals – Metal styles that have the friction T on the back, will require you to cut a corresponding groove in the wood for the friction T to fit into. There are three considerations when creating the groove-thickness of groove, depth of groove and distance from top of countertop.
The majority of our metals require a 2 or 3 wing .080 cutter bit, with a ¼”shank. The lip depth on the back of the banding can vary depending on which metal is being used and as such it is important to have the metal on hand before cutting the groove.
Location of the friction T on the back of the metal does vary between metal options. It is recommended to use a router and the guide to ensure as straight of a line as possible.If you’re not using a router and are straight cutting the groove, then you can use a chalk line to assist you with keeping your cut straight.
When applying the metal to an outside corner you will need to radius the corner. Most T edging is flexible down to a 3-inch radius. You will need to notch the T out for the entire length of the radius so that the metal will bend evenly around the corner. The T can be cut out with a wheel type hand grinder or jigsaw with a fine metal blade.
Installation of Face Nosings – There are two types of face nosing- drilled and undrilled. Our drilled face nosing is applied using #6 screws.
The undrilled is applied using an adhesive. We recommend Loctite PL-400. You can use any adhesive that is safe to use with aluminum that does not expand. Using any sort of adhesive that expands will push the metal away from the edge. Our face nosing are flexible down to a 2-inch radius.