Asked on Mar 03, 2018

Contact paper counter top seam issue...

A year ago I did a post on covering my bathroom countertop with contact paper then coating and sealing it with a heavy waterproof polyurethane gloss. Generally, the seams always show when you do this, depending on your contact paper, so you try and place them where they will show least.

I had 1 long seam in two pieces at the back. The problem is my seam has slightly pulled apart in places over the year and raised a little in others. Almost like it "shrunk".

Any idea why this might be or how to prevent it? I added a 1 year update to my post which you can VIEW HERE. Compare the seams from the update to the photos up higher on the post and you'll see the problem.

Thanks for any advice!
Nancy Ü
Keep in mind this is sealed with a high performance sealer. So no water can get into the crack.

You can see how it's separated small amount. Which means water can NOW get in.
I just with I knew how to prevent it. I can paint in the seam and gloss over that line... but it's the lifted part that Is the issue as far as doing that goes. Not sure how to get it flat again.
  11 answers
  • Colleen Jones Colleen Jones on Mar 03, 2018

    Clearly, you are a perfectionist. I think they are fine the way they are - after all it is a 'marbled' finish. Having said that consider the 'seam' is only showing because some of the foundation is visible - that brown stuff. So instead of more Poly to 'seal' more, consider a tinted Poly - and do it with a artist's brush (or 3!) to dab the line in an artistic way. Test elsewhere to make sure it 'matches' the white of the contact paper. Work slowly and let the first 5 inches dry and set up before proceeding. Good Luck.

  • That's a good idea actually. I just wish I knew why it pulled back a tiny bit. The places where it's actually lifted can get water in them now. I'll either have to try and glue it down... which won't work as its so thin an area, or trim what sticks up, paint the seam then coat it with the gloss. I'm not a perfectionist so much as OCD. :-) Really... I take meds for it. lol

    • See 1 previous
    • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jun 13, 2018

      By the way, it looks great !!

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Mar 03, 2018

    I'm wondering if it's the glue on the back of the contact paper that's shrinking/drying out.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Mar 04, 2018

    It's possible that some water got under there, perhaps from the humidity, and that is was caused it to lift a bit

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 13, 2018

    I agree with Shoshana, considering the fact that contact paper was not made for countertops, you figured out a way to use it for one and made it last for a whole year plus. Congratulations. Next time I might try one of those heavy weighted rollers on the seams to make sure they are totally stuck.

    I like the idea of using a small brush and reapply your sealer just on the seam. or you could also try some clear silicon on a scrap to see if it works with contact paper, then apply to the seam and wipe off any excess with a metal blade.

  • Brenda Brandt Deason Brenda Brandt Deason on Jun 13, 2018

    It looks like the Contact paper is shrinking. Are you sure there is a crack in the sealer? If there is, maybe you could put a strip of some kind of decorative tape over it, and then reseal it.

  • Annette C Henne Annette C Henne on Apr 10, 2020

    Contact paper will shrink over time. Even sealed. Overlap an eight of an inch to allow for shrinkage

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Dec 13, 2020

    Whatever the substrate is probably expanded and some point. When it did the contact paper either didn’t, or didn’t expand, or it expanded less than the substrate This is true even if the substrate is is a plastic laminate (think Formica). Either way, the damage is done. You’re unfortunately stuck with making a repair that will most likely show. If you apply new contact paper this is likely to happen again, especially seeing that this is a bathroom.

  • 17335038 17335038 on May 26, 2021

    Keep in mind that all contact paper is not created equally. Depending on price and brand name, there can be noticeable differences in thickness, durability, and quality of the backing glue.

    I would say though, that as contact paper is meant to be only a temporary decorating change, to get one year's wear out of a bathroom counter is beyond reasonable expectations.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 10, 2021

    Hi there,

    Cut a piece of contrast contact and cover the gap with it , making sure you cover the old raw edges. Contact does shrink with time, and I have found the best way to hide the gap is to make a feature of it! If you don't like that idea, you could try to loosen or rather soften the glue using heat (May be an Iron over Brown paper or a hair drier etc. and a paint scraper.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jun 16, 2021

    Hello, it is not too bad, but what if you took a sponge and just dabbed a bit along the seam, not in a solid line but randomly. It would look less noticable.