Restore Your Plastic Laminate Countertop

After twenty years of soft drinks, coffee and wear and tear, a plastic laminate kitchen countertop can become discolored and worn. Small scratches dull the finish. There may be areas where the laminate is coming loose from the substrate.

There are a few different ways to repair a laminate countertop:

1. Repair Laminate Countertops Like A Pro: If your countertop is in good condition and only needs a little TLC, you can try sanding and refinishing it yourself. Follow these simple steps: 

– Sand the surface of the laminate with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any scratches or blemishes. 
– Apply a coat of sealant to the surface of the laminate and sand it again. 
– Apply a second coat of sealant and sand it once more. 
– Finish by applying a final layer of sealant and letting it dry for 24 hours.

It’s impossible to fully restore the color and eliminate scratches from plastic laminate (better known by common brand names like Formica). The same properties that make plastic laminate such a tough and durable material for countertops also make it impossible to patch or repair fully.

Laminate Cleaner

However, you can clean and polish laminate with a product like Gel-Gloss, a milky white cleaner/polish much like automotive wax. With a little rubbing, Gel-Gloss will remove most stains and discoloration with its mild abrasive and solvent cleaner.

Spread a thin coat on the countertop after it dries to a light powdery residue, buff with a clean cloth. This leaves a nice gloss that tends to mask scratches, so the plastic laminate looks refinished. It also creates a smooth, sealed surface that resists water spotting and stains. In the future, when the counter gets dull again, apply more. To keep your laminate looking new, clean it with a weekly solution of warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to use a mild soap and avoid using harsh chemicals.

Never use bleach or strong abrasive cleaners on plastic laminates. They can damage the surface and remove the color. Also, don’t flood the surface with water – water may get into the edge joints and swell the underlying particle board. Just use a mild soap and water solution to clean the surface.

If the countertop needs to be replaced

2. Repair Laminate Countertops with a New Substrate: If the laminate on your countertop is coming loose from the substrate, or if there are large scratches or areas of missing laminate, you will need to replace the countertop. Follow these steps:

– Remove all appliances and furniture from the room.
– Remove the old countertop by prying it off with a flathead screwdriver.
– Cut a piece of new countertop to fit into the opening and attach it with screws.
– Replace any tiles that were damaged in removing the old countertop.
– Reinstall all appliances and furniture.

Countertop Repair

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