How to install metal edging on your retro laminate countertops

easy buttonSeveral readers have asked me how to install the stainless steel countertop edging from New York Metals. In this post, I’ll take you step-by-step through the process that we used to install the metal edging in my kitchen.

I had my countertops laminated by an outfit recommended by by contractor. They made all the countertops and backsplashes separately, ahead of time, and then, when they came to install them in my kitchen, they put everything together.

To review…The edging is comprised of three different pieces.

This is the little cove molding piece you use to mask where the countertop attaches to the backsplash. The part that “shows” is the 5/16″ part. You shove the 15/16″ part back down behind the main countertop:

stainless steel counter edging cove molding

This next piece, the 1-5/8″ snap-on molding, goes along the edge of the main countertop.

steel countertop edging retro style

The question I have been receiving is, how to you handle the corners.

Answers: On the OUTSIDE corners, you snip the the metal lip that sit on top of the countertop and along the underside and miter it; the fat 1.5″ part of the metal bends easily to make the turn:

how to install metal counter edgeOn INSIDE corners, you cut the whole piece, also making miters on the lip that sit on the counter and underside.

metal countertop bandingNow, somewhere in my stash I saw 50s DIY instructions on how to then weld… spotweld?… sauter? the mitered edges for a clean finish.  Who knows which word? Lord knows which of 400 magazines this little article in. But I’ll keep an eye out. In any case, we did NOT weld anything and honestly, it’s fine. It kind of looks worse in the photo above than it is in real life. The miters are just real tight. Hey, if anyone is out on retro recon, with a camera and sees welded corners – grab the shot and send it in.

stainless steel countertop edging for the backsplash piece

Finally – the 1″ backsplash…corners, miters…are handled the same way. In spots where the backsplash edges are visible vertically as in the photo below – back by the wallpaper – we made the bend then just secured them with a bead of glue. No screws were used.

metal edging for a backsplash

bending metal countertop edging

Contractor Kevin, along with the countertop guys, were quite trepidatious about the whole thing coming in. This was the first time any of them had done this, their dads had done it 50 years ago! It really was a breeze, though. And as with the rest of my darling beloved kitchen – all the naysayers who thought I was nutso – were totally won over in the end and LOVED IT!

metal edging kitchen counter tops

Above – Reader Amy asked you to “end” the countertop against a well. Here’s Option #1 – you run the backsplash all the way around.

metal counter band

Above – Option #1 e.g., where the countertop ends against a fridge, we wrapped the countertop in 1-5/8″ molding there – no backsplash.

Hope this all makes sense. 

Note that metal countertop banding is available from a number of companies in a variety of metals. Some are u-shaped, like the kind I used, while others are t-shaped and require routing. Others also may have cute banding. And, there’s shiny and matte finish to decide on. Lots of choices!

  1. Patrick says:

    Did you or should you seal the metal edging with caulk? My kitchen looks basically just like yours, but is original and therefore is starting to form some gaps between the counter top and the edging. I’m wondering if I should just clean the heck out of it and seal it up with some high grade silicone caulk.

  2. Leslie says:

    Thank you for this article! I have a 1955 bungalow, and I am planning to redo my kitchen. The cabinets are original (except for a lazy susan that was added later), but the countertop is not. I’m planning to put in a laminate countertop and I was wondering how to do the metal edging… now I know! I’ll let you know how it goes!

  3. Jackie says:

    Pam, I recently saw a period example of a countertop and backsplash with metal edging… and the corners were not welded/soldered. Instead they were filled/sealed with a substance that I suspect is probably something like JB Weld. (the sort used to repair automotive parts). I’ll try to get some photos to share.

  4. Mary Reynolds says:

    I found your article very informative. How ever I need to know how to remove the [cove stripping] if that’s the correct name for it. They used nails to secure the medal molding that joins the counter top to the back splash. Please help . Thank you,Mary R.

    1. Heart says:

      Mary, If you are talking about the triangle metal moulding that is used to join the counter top to the back splash at 90% (as in Pam’s pictures above) it’s a bit tricky & time consuming but it can be done.

      Get a very thin 6″ drywall blade, slide it between the metal/counter, centered on the nail (the hole is the weak spot where it could bend). The nails are set alternating horizontal/back splash, vertical/counter top. Pry carefully so it doesn’t bend. Hope this helps.

  5. Alex says:

    Hey! My husband and I have just bought a home that a man built himself and finished in 1958. It has the original countertops with the meta trim such as this, but it is welded in the corners. Everything is this house is original, as the man built this with his own hands to last. I am refinishing my kitchen and want to replace the countertops but keep stopping myself due to the appreciation of the work the man put into this home. Anyways, I’d love to send you a picture of the countertops. Happy Holidays!

    1. pam kueber says:

      The house sounds great. Some key advice for new owners of old homes: Tend to environmental and safety issues, of course, but otherwise, wait at least a year to make changes you can’t undo. Take the time to get to know the house and the history of its features. If it ain’t broke, maybe you don’t want to change it — and save yourself a lot of money, time and stress, too! To contact me to send photos, use the Contact link at the bottom of the blog in the footer.

  6. ReNee J Kass says:

    We are building a new home, and decided to do our huge laundry room like a 50’s kitchen! I am so excited and have loved looking at your site to find ideas and contacts for suppliers. I’ve decided to use the Wilsonart boomerang pattern and want it edged with the chrome edging that is supplied by Eagle. I can’t get anyone to get back to me about how to order the edge band, does it come all ready to just attach to the counter top edge? We have no corners, just a straight shot on both walls we’re doing. Please continue to research these items, its been so so helpful and INSPIRING! I will send pics when its all put together.

  7. Lauri says:

    Hi Pam…
    I’m the new owner of a mid-century atomic ranch…1955. All of the original design elements are still here, unchanged. I need a new kitchen..would an Ikea kitchen with a period laminate counter be …
    well..period correct? I’m thinking a flat panel door. Would like a cook top, not oven and two, stacked ovens. Am I sacrificing the “mid” look? I am a complete novice at this era but feel a stewardship to this nice home. HELP!!!!

  8. Dan says:

    I love your kitchen! I am working on a basement kitchen in a house built in 1956. I plan on building my countertop and using the boomerang laminate and molding similar to what you used. But what I can’t seem to find anywhere is how the molding is cut for outside corners. It would seem to me that on the top and bottom of molding, a “V” would have to be cut but at exactly 45 degrees, then when the molding is wrapped around the corner, it should mate together perfectly. Is this correct? Also, how is an exact 45 measured on such a small piece? This trim is kind of expensive for trial and error…

    1. pam kueber says:

      Dan, I had professional installers do mine, so I am not personally familiar with the process used… One suggestion: You could try and see if New York Metals could give you the answer or instructions…

  9. Sam says:



    1. a low-melting alloy, especially one based on lead and tin or (for higher temperatures) on brass or silver, used for joining less fusible metals.


    1. join with solder.

  10. MARTHA OBRIAN says:

    My grandmother had them in her home. She called them crumb-catchers and was pleased when she moved in with them that ours didnt have them, lol.

      1. MARTHA says:

        She was elderly when she moved in with us in 1975 after my grandfather died and my mother was already a widow as well. But a good option for people now.

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