Can You Repair Scratched or Chipped Laminate Countertops?
If you like - or can only afford - Formica or laminate countertops in a kitchen or bathroom, can you repair these if they get scratched or chipped?
I'm not ashamed to admit that I can't afford to have Caesarstone countertops fitted in my kitchen. At an estimated cost of R17,000 - and for a smallish kitchen at that - my budget, and my nature of being a Scrooge, simply will not allow me to spend this amount of money. I am sure I'm not the only one and that there are plenty of thrifty homeowners out there that are more than satisfied to make do with Formica or laminate countertops. And when you consider the cost of about R800 for a 3.6 metre length of Formica countertop, that leaves plenty of money to spend elsewhere or save.
There's nothing wrong with laminate countertops; they are affordable, easy to install, zero-maintenance and come in a variety of finishes. This makes them a great option for most kitchens and bathrooms. The only downside to laminate is that it does tend to scratch if accidentally cut with a sharp knife or rough object. But there are ways and means to make scratches and chips less visible, so let's take a look at the options you have.
GENTLY SANDING SCRATCHES IN LAMINATE
The first option is to try a gentle sanding of the scratches. For this, you can use toothpaste or car polishing compound and a cloth. Use a small amount to polish with and rub in a circular motion over the scratches. You don't want to press too hard as this may result in more scratching - just a gentle circular motion to heat the area and help fill the scratches.
I would recommend that you try this on an inconspicuous spot before doing it on a more visible area. I also don't recommend this if you have gloss laminate countertops. Mine is a matt finish and the process did work for a small scratch in one corner close to the sink.
If you have a polishing attachment for your drill or a car polisher, you can use this to buff away scratches on a countertop.
FILLING SCRATCHES IN LAMINATE
As can be done with scratches in laminate flooring, you can use a wax crayon filler to disguise the scratches. It does provide good coverage but will need to be applied again as and when required. Another method you can try is to use coloured Sharpie pens to disguise scratches and this video will provide the how-to.
PAINT SCRATCHES IN LAMINATE
With the introduction of epoxy paint, you now have the ability to paint over scratches to hide them. There is also nothing wrong with using enamel hobby paints or nail polish to disguise scratches or chips in laminate countertops.
The difficult part with painting laminate to cover scratches is matching the existing laminate so that the painted area won't be visible - or at least won't stick out like a sore thumb - once painted. If you have a spottled or granite-look laminate, you may need more than one colour to disguise any scratches or missing chips.
FYI... While you can paint laminate if you use specialist epoxy paints, consider that it costs you less to replace with new Formica laminate countertops than to buy the epoxy paint you will need.