One of the main concerns about laminate is that it is difficult to repair, so taking care not to cut on it, scorch it or drop anything heavy on it is important. An ounce of prevention, as the saying goes.
Now, having said that, there are a few things you can do to repair plastic laminate countertops reasonably well.
Repairing Minor Scratches in Laminate Kitchen Counters
Your home improvement store or hardware store will carry repair pens for plastic laminate. Choose the one that most closely matches the color of your countertop. Run it along scratches to hide them. Unfortunately, that is the probably the best that can be done, though you might try paste too (see below)
Repairing Gouges in Plastic Laminate Countertops
You’ll also find laminate repair paste at the store or online. It may come already colored, and if so, choose one or two that match your countertop colors. If it isn’t colored, buy a few tints to blend to match the countertop color.
Follow the directions carefully. If the paste is colored, you’ll apply it right from the tube into the gouge. A putty knife can be used to work it into the gouge, smooth it and remove excess paste. Since you cannot sand plastic laminate, it’s important to make the paste flush with the surface during application.
Adding a Drop-in Cutting Board
If an area has been scorched or marred beyond repair, consider installing a drop-in cutting board. They range in size from about 12 to 24 inches square. Use the included template to mark where the damaged countertop material needs to be removed to accommodate the cutting board, and cut it out with a hole saw and jigsaw. Attach the cutting board tray to the countertop and insert the removable cutting board. It’s a simple and useful fix to major countertop damage.
Repairing Loose or Missing End Caps
If the laminate on the edge of the countertop is loose, try to reattach it without adding glue. Clean both contact surfaces. Then, press a hot iron against the outside of the laminate, forcing it against the wood. Hold it for five to ten seconds, and see if it sticks. The heat reactivates the glue. If it won’t stick, add very thin layers of glue to both the wood and the laminate, and press the laminate into place.
If a piece of the plastic laminate end breaks off and can’t be located, first, trim off any jagged edge of what remains using a utility knife. Then, locate a piece of trim in an inconspicuous place, perhaps between a countertop edge and the refrigerator. Use a utility knife to cut through the laminate. Hold a hot iron to the piece until the glue melts. At this point, it can be removed. Trim it to fit the repair location, press into place for the repair, and reactivate the glue with the iron. Take care during the process not to burn yourself.
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