Tips and Techniques for Veneering PSA Veneer

We stock 3M Pressure Sensitive Veneer

Webisode #8: How-to Apply Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Application (PSA) to a Substrate


Surface Preparation

Before applying any peel-and-stick veneer, all surfaces require preparation. For surfaces that have already been finished, very lightly scuff the existing finish with a medium (120 grit) sandpaper. It is not necessary to remove the finish; the intention is to clean and remove any defects. Remove all sanding dust and particles with a tack cloth or wipe entire surface with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol or other suitable cleaning solvent, as the surface must be thoroughly clean and dried. When applying veneer over plywood, real wood or any other porous substrate the surface must be sealed with shellac, varnish, polyurethane or any sealer of choice, prior to the application of PSA veneers. Allow 24 hours for sealer to dry, then continue with peel-and-stick veneer application.

Applying Veneer

The ideal adhesive application temperature range is 70 deg F (21 deg C) to 100 deg F (38 deg C).  application is not recommended if the surface temp is below 50 deg F (10 deg C). Cut veneer to a slightly larger dimension than actual size of area you are covering. This will allow you to place the veneer without having to be perfectly aligned with the surface being veneered. Place the veneer and begin applying pressure from the center out to avoid trapping air pockets in the center. To apply adequate pressure to the veneer, it is best to use a stiff bladed scraping tool or wooden scraping block. Bear down with as much pressure as possible and draw the scraper toward you in the same direction as the grain. Repeat this pattern until you are sure you’ve gone over every square inch.

Trimming The Veneer

When trimming the veneer to the finished size, use a sharp razor knife or utility knife and cut the veneer back to the edge of the workpiece. It is best to score your cut a few times before actually cutting through to prevent wood tearout. This is especially important when cutting across the grain. After trimming the veneer you will probably notice a sharp corner or edge. To ease this edge you can use a fine cabinet file held at a 45 degree angle and lightly run along the edge or if this option isn’t available to you, use a fine grit sandpaper and lightly feather the edge with the sandpaper.

Finishing Veneer

Veneer can be finished just like any hardwood. The first step is proper sanding starting with a medium grit paper followed by a fine grit paper. This can be done with an electric sander if you are confident enough or by hand if you are not. From this point you can either stain the wood or finish with a clear finish.

Download our PSA Veneer Installation Guide 

If you are not using PSA veneer, nor contact cement or a press, a good choice might be installing via the iron-on method.