Laminate flooring isn't a solid material like hardwood, so burn marks require a different removal strategy. Whereas you can repair a burnt wood floor by sanding out the burn mark, you can't sand laminates at all without making the disfigurement far worse than it already is. You can often rub out surface scorch marks that haven't penetrated the finish. However, any burn that reaches through to the pattern layer must be patched or camouflaged in some way, unless you want to replace the affected laminate plank, which is always an option.
Remove a Surface Floor Burn
You can remove a scorch mark from the finish of laminate flooring using a strategy similar to that for removing scorch marks from laminate countertops, as described by How To Clean Stuff. You'll need common household items like toothpaste — not the gel type — and an old toothbrush.
Cover the scorch mark with toothpaste and allow it to sit for 10 to 20 minutes, then scrub vigorously with the toothbrush. You can also use a nylon scrub pad or a scrub brush, but don't use anything abrasive, such as steel wool or sandpaper. Check your progress frequently and stop when the discoloration is gone, then wipe down the area with clear water.
Try Patching Deeper Burn Marks
If you have a floor burn on a hardwood floor, you can sand through the finish and keep sanding until the burn mark is gone. For laminate floors, the only realistic options are to patch the hole or to replace the affected plank. It's best to try patching first, and if it doesn't work, you can move on to plan B, which is to replace the plank.
To patch the hole, fill it with epoxy wood filler, scraping the filler as flat as you can with a putty knife. If you need to sand it flat, be careful to sand only the filler and not the surrounding flooring. Camouflage the patch by painting the wood grain onto it with an artist's brush, then dab two or more coats of clear floor finish onto your handiwork to protect it.
The degree of perfection required varies according to where the burn mark is on the floor. A so-so job might do the trick if the burn mark is near the edge of the floor, but if it's in a more visible spot, you need an artist's touch to match the wood grain. Not everyone is an artist, so you might want to consider hiring a refinishing pro to do the job.
Replacing Burnt Laminate Flooring
Laminate planks snap together, and you can always unsnap them to disassemble the floor back to the damaged plank so you can replace it. This is only practical, however, if the plank is near the edge of the floor. If the plank is in the middle, most pros would recommend cutting it out and replacing it instead.
You cut out a damaged plank with a circular saw set to a cutting depth of about 1/2 inch, which is just enough to cut through the laminate while biting a minimal distance into the subfloor. Make two straight cuts down the middle of the plank and four angled cuts from these lines towards the corners. Use a chisel to finish to avoid damaging adjacent planks and pry out the pieces with a pry bar and pliers.
Prepare the replacement plank by cutting the bottoms of the grooves off the side and end and removing the tongue from the other end using a utility knife. Spread carpenter's glue on the tongues of the adjacent planks, lower the replacement the floor and hold it down with weights until the glue sets.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.