Buffing Out Scratched Laminate Flooring

Versatile and affordable laminate flooring provides an attractive alternative to wood, tile and carpet flooring. Though laminate floors resist moisture and tend to hold their own even in high-traffic areas, scratches can leave unsightly marks. You can remedy certain scratches by buffing them out of laminate flooring, but other marks require more complicated measures.

Kitchen and Living/Dining Area of Modern Loft
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Laminate flooring mimics the look of wood or tile floors.

Solutions

Flooring supply companies offer spray-on, buff-out scratch treatments for shallow, surface-level scratches that have only penetrated the laminate's clear finish, not the textured or colored part of the flooring. For scratches that have completely penetrated the finish, online and brick-and-mortar flooring and hardware stores offer laminate repair kits. These kits often include putty-like latex repair paste, a putty knife and a buffing cloth. For a home remedy, shoe polish of the same color as the scratched floor often does the trick.

How to Buff

Clean your laminate floor thoroughly with water and a sponge, and allow it to dry completely before attempting to buff out any scratches. For spray-on scratch treatments, simply spray the scratched surface with the treatment, and buff the liquid out of the laminate with a clean lint-free cloth. For repair kits, you may need to mix one of the included pigments with the paste before applying the mixture to match your floor -- unless you have a pre-colored paste. Spread the paste evenly into the scratch with a putty knife, wipe away the excess paste, and then buff the area with a clean lint-free cloth. If using the shoe polish remedy, simply rub in and buff out as you would when shining a shoe. Use smooth, circular motions, applying a light to moderate amount of pressure as you buff the laminate floor.

Alternatives

You can remedy some laminate scratches with touch-up pencils or crayons that are available at flooring and hardware stores. Exceptionally deep or large scratches may call for the removal and replacement of the affected area. This often-difficult process varies greatly per type of laminate – from glueless to self-adhering – and may entail the removal of single or multiple laminate tile pieces or the cutting of sheet laminate flooring. Consult a flooring professional to replace and match sections of heavily scratched laminate.

Prevention

Avoid the need to buff out scratches by taking simple preventive measures. Prevent small scratches and nicks caused by day-to-day wear with daily maintenance, such as vacuuming, sweeping and dust mopping. Use entrance mats to prevent scratches caused by excess dirt and debris. Place felt pads under furniture legs, and avoid dragging heavy objects across the floor.