Repairing and maintaining laminate flooring
Laminate flooring is a great addition to any home but it should be cleaned and well maintained – these quick tips should help you keep your laminate looking its best.
Laminate floors are often considered a great investment for home owners – they are durable and hard-wearing, look sleek, cool and tidy and usually require minimum effort on your part to look after and maintain. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should just leave laminate flooring to its own devices; it will only stay looking as good as new if you are willing to put a little effort now and then into keeping it clean and in good repair. Laminate flooring may not require specialist treatment once a year like more temperamental hardwoods but it still needs a bit of TLC, so here are some tips to help you keep your laminate flooring looking spick-and-span:
Cleaning laminate flooring
- The easy way to get rid of general mess, dust and crumbs is with a simple and regular vacuum. Make sure the floor is clear before you start to prevent any other objects from getting in your way and causing damage, and most importantly, don’t rush; hoovering the room shouldn’t cause any strain to the laminate if done softly and carefully.
- Washing laminate flooring is a little trickier; if the wood comes into contact with excessive amounts of water it is likely to inflate and warp, which can cause cracks to appear and sealants to dry up – leaving you with a lot of repairs on your hands. Use a dry cloth or soft mop and simply wash delicately in the direction the floor has been laid – the water should clean easily and then evaporate almost as quickly.
- If you have particularly stubborn stains on your laminate flooring, such as red wine or scuff marks, then you may need to invest in some specialist cleaning products. Just beware of those ‘all-in-one’ products as they don’t always work that well and using the incorrect solution can leave your floor looking dull, smeared or even damaged.
- Don’t use scouring pads or abrasives, as they are almost certainly going to scratch the laminate. Avoid using bleach too, as it will cause discolouration to the laminate.
- If you are a keen cleaner you could always mix up your own solution with vinegar or alcohol; using it in a spray bottle or with a dry cloth should get rid of the stain in no time.
- If you are fearful of scrubbing too forcefully and scratching the surface of your laminate, or if you are simply unsure of which products you need to use for those heavy stains, you could always opt for a professional cleaner – who will usually get the job done at great value for money!
Maintaining laminate flooring
- Any large items of furniture in rooms with laminate flooring, such as chairs, a table or the sofa, should have their legs fixed with specialist felt protectors. You can purchase these from hardware or furniture shops for around £10 to £20 a pack. These will prevent any scratching on the laminate and should be checked regularly to make certain they aren’t wearing away.
- When sweeping your laminate floor make sure you use the appropriate broom – hard-edged ones are usually too coarse and stubborn and can leave major scratches on woodwork, so it’s best to opt for a soft nylon model instead.
- When washing or mopping the floor beware of how much water you use to avoid inflation and warping of the wood. Make sure any excessive spillages are cleaned up with a dry towel or cloth almost immediately.
- Any house pets should have their nails clipped and looked after regularly to also avoid severe scratching of the laminate.
- One of the most obvious ways to preserve the quality of your laminate flooring is simply by making sure people remove their footwear before entering the room – that way large amounts of dirt or street debris from outside is barred from scratching or damaging the wood. You could even use absorbent mats in the room’s doorways too – just in case anybody forgets about the footwear rule!
Repairing laminate flooring
- If certain sections of your laminate flooring are severely damaged they may need replacing. You should carefully remove each strip one at a time with a small pry bar, and then fit the new ones with a hammer and small nails that can be purchased from most DIY retailers – hire a professional to repair your laminate flooring for best results.
- Smaller scratches or dents can probably be cleaned up with a specialist repair kit – usually just a brush and special spray – that you can also buy from a number of retailers for a very small cost.
- Make sure that any new strips are also the same colour, style and design as the rest of your flooring otherwise an entire section will look misshapen and out of place. Once fitted, the new strips should look indistinguishable from the rest of your floor.
- Like with the cleaning, you might not feel comfortable repairing and replacing the laminate yourself – but a professional will be able to get the job done quickly and to the highest quality, without scratching the new strips or damaging the rest of the floor.