Home Improvement

How to Repair and Refinish Laminate Countertops

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Laminate — commonly known as Formica — is durable and cost-effective, yet not indestructible. Scuff marks, scratches and burn marks can cause it to deteriorate over time; fortunately paint and specialty markers, putties or DIY kits can quickly repair chips, dents or burns in this material.

Before painting your counters, ensure they have been thoroughly cleansed with mild detergent and hot water to eliminate all dirt and grease as this will impede adhesion of paint to them.

Chips and Cracks

Laminate countertops are an increasingly popular choice among homeowners, particularly for use in their kitchens. Not only are they durable and cost-effective but come in an assortment of colors as well. Like any countertop material however, laminate can become damaged over time; knowing when and what signs to look out for could save both money and hassle in repairs.

One of the main issues with laminate surfaces is chips and cracks, but this can be easily addressed using DIY techniques. First, ensure your counters are free of dirt or debris before using mild detergent in warm water to wash away grime or food residue before rinsing well and drying properly afterwards.

Next, fill any chips or cracks with laminate repair paste found at most hardware and home improvement stores; sand until surface is smooth.

Burn marks on laminate can be difficult to treat. If the mark persists, apply a thin layer of baking soda or toothpaste directly on it before wiping it clean with soft cloth and clean water after it has set.

Laminate countertops may discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight, and when this occurs you should use either commercial green cleaners or mix of water and vinegar for cleanup. Beware when using any such product as many contain acids that could potentially damage Formica(r) laminate.

Burn Marks

Laminate countertops may seem sturdy and durable, but their plastic composition makes them susceptible to heat damage. Minor surface burn marks may be concealed with make-up; deeper ones, however, often cannot be eliminated completely and refinishing or replacing these expensive countertops can be prohibitively costly. By using everyday household products for repair purposes instead, homeowners can quickly and affordably bring burnt surfaces back into their original condition quickly and affordably.

To effectively remove light burn stains on Formica(r) laminate surfaces, begin by thoroughly cleansing it with warm water and mild soap. Allowing it to dry completely before applying a paste of baking soda and water directly to the stained area using a soft brush while applying slight pressure until burn marks lighten or disappear completely. Rinse this off using warm water, before wiping dry using a cloth.

For deeper burn stains, follow the same process, but using fine grit sandpaper and soft brushes instead. Lightly sand the burned area before wiping it with damp cloths to collect any dust or dirt accumulations that accumulates – repeat this until the burned area has been uniformly blended into its surroundings.

To fill in any holes or depressions left by burn stain removal, purchase an epoxy repair kit designed for laminate countertops. Most kits contain clear or color epoxy that you can mix to match your countertop color perfectly.

Loose Edges

Laminate countertops are generally durable, yet they may still sustain minor scratches. Small scrapes and gouges can often be repaired using Formica or laminate repair putty from hardware stores or home improvement centers in different colors to match most countertop colors. For more extensive damage, painting your counters a different hue can give your kitchen an upgrade without spending much.

Sometimes the edges of plastic laminate counters become loose due to everyday stressors. If only slight lift has occurred, reactivate the glue by placing a cloth over it and ironing on a hot setting with your household iron. If this does not work, reglue it with contact cement – a special type of glue which adheres surfaces instantly upon contact; typically packaged like regular wood glue bottles but often coming equipped with its own brush built-in for easier application or available as aerosol cans for easier application.

If the end cap of a laminate piece has become loose, you can usually fix it by gently lifting up and placing a line of glue beneath its edge. After doing so, gently lower and press it back down securely.


If one of your laminate edges has become loose, refinishing kits provide everything you need to give your counters a fresh new look. Before applying any adhesives or varnishes to ensure adhesion.

Applying a thin coat of contact cement to both the underside of your laminate and its substrate will help ensure that its new glue bonds securely. After this step has been taken, allow it to dry completely before using it again. If any glue squeezes out between it and its target surface, wipe away with nail polish remover containing acetone (acetone is available as nail polish remover) immediately in order to stop further hardening of adhesive and clean any residue using an acetone-soaked cotton ball before it hardens into an imprint before hardening occurs – before this helps ensuring reliable bonding between laminate and substrate that could lead to mismatches between glue applications resulting in bad glue joints causing failures in its use.

Cyanoacrylate glue — more commonly known as super glue — works well for regluing loose laminate, though only when used temporarily and with low stress applications as it may crack over time. Polyurethane adhesive, on the other hand, should be reserved for longer-term installations because of its durability and resistance to heat and moisture – some colors even match countertop surfaces seamlessly! To ensure smooth application follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely when applying your glue.