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How to Restore Formica Tabletops

Updated February 21, 2017

Formica is a brand-name laminate material. Formica is a thin and fragile material when alone. After bonding with a solid, stable base, Formica becomes a strong surface. Over time and through use, Formica wears, loses its shine and appeal. Some Formica has a surface-only colour while others have colour permeating through the entire sheet. Restoring a Formica surface is successful if the wear does not penetrate through the surface colour on surface-only styles.

Clean the Formica surface with mild dish soap and water. Scrub clean with a soft rag. Rinse the tabletop with clear water. Do not flood the seams of the tabletop with water as this may cause swelling of the tabletop base. Dry thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth.

Remove difficult stains with mild dish soap and a soft-bristle scrub brush. Gently scrub the stains until they disappear.

Reattach lifting Formica by carefully and gently raising the loose edge with the tip of a utility knife and scrape away old adhesive. Squeeze contact cement into the space and press the Formica down firmly on the tabletop. Clamp the edge in place with a C-clamp. Clean off excess adhesive with a damp cloth. Allow the adhesive to dry completely, usually one to two hours before removing the clamp.

Apply a coat of laminate wax to the entire tabletop surface. Allow it to dry to a dull white haze. Buff the dry wax off with a soft, clean rag to restore shine. Choose a laminate wax in a colour version to restore colour to slightly worn areas.

Tip

Protect Formica surfaces from scratching with place mats or tablecloths when in use.

Warning

Do not use abrasive cleansers or steel wool on Formica tabletops. Never allow a Formica surface to remain wet as this may cause lifting, bubbling and swelling of the tabletop or substrate.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Rags
  • Cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Utility knife
  • Contact cement
  • C-clamp
  • Laminate wax
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.