If your kitchen counters have scratches or small holes from years of use, laminate countertop repair may be your next DIY project. And it may be easier than you think. By using a laminate patching product and a putty knife, you can repair small holes or chips in just a few minutes. And if your countertop has a hole that's a bit larger than what a patching product can aesthetically repair, you can install a recessed cutting board in its place without having to replace the entire countertop.
Formica® Brand Laminate
Although it's commonly used as a catch-all term, Formica is actually the brand name for the original high-pressure plastic laminate material that's been used for more than 100 years for countertops, tabletops, wall surfaces and other household items. Plastic laminate generally is made from fabric or paper that's combined with melamine resin to yield a durable, wear-resistant and impact-resistant surface. But even though this durable product holds up admirably under normal daily demands, it is still susceptible to damage from strong blows, such as the impact from heavy or sharp dropped objects.
Purchasing Laminate Countertop Repair Products
You can purchase laminate repair paste at a home improvement center or hardware store for making plastic laminate hole repairs or Formica scratch repairs. Although you may not be able to match your countertop color exactly, particularly if it's a custom color, choose the color that's the closest match. You can also purchase a laminate repair kit that contains several colors so that you can mix colors to match your countertop shade more closely. Be sure to get a laminate repair product that's formulated for countertops; some laminate repair products are only formulated for flooring.
Laminate Countertop Repair
Laminate repair products are already premixed, so all you have to do is fill the hole or crack in your countertop with the paste. For some products, you may have to clean the countertop with a solvent, so be sure to follow all label directions for application and inhalation safety precautions. Using a putty knife or wooden craft stick, press the paste into the hole so that it completely fills it, leveling the top without overfilling the hole. Once the product dries, it may be difficult to sand it even with the countertop without damaging the counter.
Laminate repair products generally begin drying almost immediately, with hardening occurring in an hour. However, some products require a curing period of several days, during which you'll want to avoid using that area of your countertop. If the paste shrinks away from the edges of the hole or crack after an hour of your application, you can reapply more paste to fill the gap.
Laminate Countertop Recessed Cutting Board
If the hole in your counter is significantly large, there's a creative and functional solution to fix the problem without having to tackle a complete countertop refinishing or countertop resurfacing project. Consider installing a recessed cutting board as part of your countertop, particularly to cover a hole that's in a prominent location for which you can't simply hide by placing a canister or appliance on top of it.
Purchase a two-part drop-in cutting board kit for your laminate countertop. The kit includes a shallow stainless steel tray that you insert into your countertop and a cutting board that simply fits into the tray. The kit also includes a template that you place over the area with the hole so that you can mark the area of your countertop that you need to cut out using a jigsaw.
Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper columns. Her writing expertise covers diverse industries, including horticulture, home maintenance and DIY projects, banking, finance, law and tax. Blackstone has written more than 2,000 published works for newspapers, magazines, online publications and individual clients.