Simple fixes – replacing shelf edging

Replacing damaged shelf edging is one of the easiest and most rewarding repairs you can do around the home. Here’s how – with a couple of hints thrown in for good measure.

Here are two types of edging – one that requires the user to apply glue to it and then stick it into position along the shelf edge, and the other that already has the glue applied – this glue is a hot-melt type and all you need to apply it is a steady hand and a clothes iron.

Either type of edging works well, but the advantage on the latter type is that if you position it slightly out of place, you simply apply a bit of heat again, pull it away, and then iron it back in the correct position.

Materials:
Edging – we used the hot-melt glue version for the reason mentioned just above.

Method:

  1. This is the old edging – and sorely in need of replacement.
  2. Use a utility knife to remove the old edging taking care not to gouge the surface of the shelf itself. A good idea is to do a quick check with the clothes iron first… if the edging wrinkles it is a plastic material and probably attached using contact glue. If it is easily pulled away, then it is a hot-melt type, and removing it simply entails running the hot iron over it and pulling it away.
  3. With the edging off, give the shelf edge a light sanding to remove odd bits of debris, fragments of glue and so on.
  4. Measure off and cut the replacement edging… rather make it a little long and trim to length – it is very well priced at Mica stores so an extra couple of centimeters will not break the bank.
  5. Now iron it on to the edge… if you go slightly out of kilter, no problem – simply reapply some heat with the iron, gently pull the edging away, and reposition it properly. Once complete, run the hot iron very quickly over the entire length to ensure all the hot-melt glue has been melted and is adhering properly. When doing this ensure that you do not shift the edging at all.
  6. Job done – now all that remains is to trim the excess as the edging tape we used is 19mm wide and the shelf is 16mm thick.
  7. Here’s the crafty bit… to avoid gouging the shelf surface with the utility knife blade, place a single layer of marking tape over it, as shown.
  8. Now, with the masked end of the blade held against the shelf surface, remove the 3mm excess of edging, simply pushing the blade along the shelf. Note that the blade must be razor sharp so that you achieve a clean cut.
  9. Job done.
  10. To finish the job, use 120 or finer grit sandpaper at an angle of about 30-45° and gently remove the final tiny lip of edging – about 0.25mm or so – so that it does not catch on items as they are removed from the shelf.
  11. A very neat finish is the result.
  12. Replace the shelf in the cupboard, and pack it as before.

Project guide

  1. Skill level: 1
  2. Estimated time: 30 minutes
  3. Cost: R10-15… depending on how much edging you need to replace
  4. Assistant: No

Tools required:

  1. Utility knife.
  2. Masking tape.
  3. Small piece of 120 grit sandpaper.
  4. Clothes iron.

Panel:

These materials are available at Selected Mica Stores. To find out which is your closest Mica and whether or not they stock the items required, please visit our store locator here, find your store and call them. If your local Mica does not stock exactly what you need they will be able to order it for you or suggest an alternative product or a reputable source.