Laminate flooring is engineered wood flooring that has a real-wood veneer applied to the top. This wood may be stained or printed and then clear-coated. Homeowners and builders use laminate floors in place of hardwoods because they are less expensive and do not scratch as easily as hardwood finishes. They are also more water resistant than hardwoods and are also resistant to mild cleaners, making them quite easy to clean. Laminate floors can be damaged, however. Since laminate floors cannot be refinished, large areas of damage may require replacement, but a homeowner has many options for fixing small imperfections.
Stain Markers and Wood Crayons Hide Scratches
Color-in scratch marks with stain markers or wood crayons (sometimes called furniture markers and furniture crayons.) Wood markers work just like any other permanent marker except that they contain a specially-formulated stain instead of ink. Many flooring companies manufacture touch-up markers to match their laminate flooring colours. If yours doesn't, look in the stain aisle. Most major stain manufacturers produce a line of markers to match their off-the-shelf colours. Find the one that most closely matches your floor. Fill in scratches carefully as markers dry quickly and "colouring outside the scratch" can result in off-colour staining on the surrounding floorboard that actually makes the scratch more noticeable. Wood crayons are wax crayons tinted to match stain or flooring colours. They are best used in low traffic areas and on low-sheen floors. Crayon may need to be reapplied periodically.
Wood Putty Fills Chips
If your home contains any visible wood, your toolbox should contain wood putty. Wood putty is ideal for filling in chips that can occur at the corners of laminate floor boards. Usually these chips occur during installation, but may not become visible until after several weeks or months of wear, especially in low-traffic areas. Wood putty is available at most paint, hardware and home improvement stores. Choose wood putty in a shade that matches the rest of your floors or choose neutral putty that can be coloured with a stain marker when it dries. Apply putty using a small putty knife and smooth the surface. Some putties shrink slightly as they cure, so you may need to apply a second, lighter coat to the affected area to make the surface even with the surface of the laminate board. Once putty dries, use fine grit sandpaper to "rough" the surface to help it blend in. Use light pressure and stroke in one direction that follows the grain pattern of the floor.
Superglue Fixes Delaminating
Sometimes, laminate floors may delaminate (peel.) If the delaminating is large scale, the floor will need to be replaced. On a small scale, delaminating usually occurs near a previous chip or crack. Sometimes a plank corner will begin to peel for no apparent reason. This is usually a result of installing a board a bit too forcefully, but the delaminating may not occur until after a period of wear. If your laminate surface begins to peel, simply apply a couple drops of superglue between the peeling surface and the underlying wood. Carefully smooth the peeling surface back onto the wood. Avoid using too much glue as the excess will either ooze out around the edges or will cause the surface to bubble. Consider gel formulas as they are easier to control.