Laminate countertops are sold under several brand names including Formica and Wilsonart. Laminate countertops have been a popular choice amongst homeowners for years and remain as such. Laminate comes in a wide variety of colors, styles and patterns making it a great choice to fit into any design or decorating them. Laminate countertops are generally much less expensive than other countertop options. Homeowners and decorators on a budget love the price. Homeowners who love change appreciate the ease in which a handy do it yourselfer can change the countertop. Laminate countertops come as either a surface only color or the color goes all of the way through the laminate. Typically, the surface only type of laminate is less expensive than the type with color all of the way through, but the extra expense maybe well worth it, especially if you intend to keep the countertop for a long time.
Laminate countertops are made from a very thin sheet. Installers bond the sheet to a sturdy and strong base which make the thin sheet sturdy. As a stand alone, laminate is too fragile and too weak to accommodate use. When bonded to the substrate, laminate offers homeowners a long lasting and strong surface.
Through much use, exposure to constant cleaning and cleansers, laminate loses it luster and appeal ruining the look of the kitchen. Sliding pots, pans, dishes, books or anything else over the countertops causes the surface to wear down, which dulls the counter top. Thankfully, restoring the laminate surface is possible.
Laminate Preparation for Restoration
Fill a small bucket with warm water and add a squirt or two of a mild grease fighting dish soap.
Submerge a microfiber rag into the soap water and squeeze out the excess water so the rag is wet, but no dripping water.
Scrub the surface of the laminate to remove dirt, cooking oils, grease and grime. Scrub away sticky built up areas with a nylon scrubbing sponge or a soft bristle nylon scrub brush. Continue to scrub stains in a circular motion up they are gone.
If the stain remains, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to a small bowl. Stir in enough water to create a slightly watery paste. Dip an old toothbrush or sponge into the mixture and scrub the counter top until the stain is no longer visible. Wipe the area with a clean, damp rag to remove the baking soda residue.
If the stain is really stubborn and still remains on the countertop, saturate a cotton ball with chlorine bleach. Gently rub the stain for a minute or two. Flush the area thoroughly with plain water to remove the bleach residue. If the bleach stays on the laminate it can fade the area. It is generally safe to leave chlorine bleach on a laminate surface for one to two minutes without harming the color.
If the stain is really, really stubborn. Wet a cotton ball with and acetone based nail polish remover. Rub the stained area for no more than one minute. Rinse the area four to five time thoroughly to remove the acetone residue.
Wet a second microfiber cloth in plain water. Wring out the excess water and wipe the soap residue off the countertop. Repeat two to three times.
Dry the countertop with a soft, well worn rag.
Laminate Countertop Repair
Examine the countertop for any areas that are lifting.
Gently pick up the lifted section of the laminate with a flat wood stick. Use care when lifting because if you lift the laminate up too much you can crack or snap the material.
Scrape the old adhesive off the substrate with a small metal scraper or with a utility knife.
Vacuum out old bits of adhesive or aim the nozzle of a can of compressed air under the laminate to blow the debris out from between the substrate and Formica or Wilsonart.
Insert the tip of a tube of contact cement between the substrate and the laminate and squeeze adhesive into the space.
Press the laminate down firmly onto the substrate.
Wipe up oozing adhesive with a damp rag immediately.
Place a C-clamp over the lifted area and tighten it to hold the laminate securely in place.
Let the contact cement dry for three to four hours before removing the clamp.
Repeat the repair process for other lifting sections.
Restoring the Color to a Laminate Countertop
Choose a color laminate wax, preferably made by the same company that manufactured the countertops. Using a color laminate paste wax made by the countertop manufacturer will ensure a color match.
Drag a soft, lint free cloth through the paste wax.
Apply the paste wax to the countertop by creating small overlapping circles over the entire area. Drag the rag through the wax after every few passes over a section of the counter surface.
Let the paste wax dry until it turns a whitish hazy color.
Rub the wax off the counter top with a soft, lint free cloth. Rub the cloth in a circular motion until the white haze has been removed completely.
Laminate Countertop Do’s and Don’t’s
Never over wet or flood a laminate countertop
Do not use scouring powders on a laminate surface.
Never use steel wool on a countertop
Do not cut, chop or slice directly on a laminate countertop, always use a cutting board.
Protect the countertop when using food dye as the dye will permanently stain the surface.
Do not use vinegar, lemon or other acid based cleaners because they will etch the surface of your counter.
Do not use pumice to clean the counter; pumice is too abrasive and is not safe for the surface.
Do use mild cleansers as recommended by the laminate manufacturer.
Always rinse the surface at least two to three times with plain water regardless of what cleaner you use because all cleaners can leave behind a residue that may etch or prematurely fade the laminate surface.
Do not use lye on laminate because it will eat through the surface and ruin it.