Scratch Repair for Laminate Floors (8 Easy Methods)
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Does your home have laminate flooring? It's one of the most durable and long-lasting flooring options, but it's not indestructible. The rugged top layer of the material easily handles the daily wear and tear placed on the floor, making it a great choice for high-traffic rooms. Still, scratch repair for laminate floors will become a part of your life.
This is because the top is also prone to scratching, and deep scratches can ruin its aesthetic, turning it from a gorgeous floor into an eye sore. Unlike hardwood flooring systems, you can't simply sand and seal the scratch to remove it.
So, what options do you have available to return the luster to scratched laminate flooring systems? You'll need to use waxes and putties to fill the scratch and restore the finish. Stain pens are good choices for concealing minor scratches, but you'll need putties for deeper scarring.
This post gives you our recommended fixes for restoring scratched laminate floors. One of them is sure to work and give you the solution you need to get your floor back to a near-original condition.
8 Laminate Floor Scratch Repair Methods That Work
Fortunately, you have several options for filling scratches and restoring your various types of laminate flooring. Some are more challenging and expensive than others, but we'll run through all of them in this post. We've used all the options in this review, and you can rely on them to produce lasting results.
The method you select depends on the extent of the damage to the flooring and your DIY skills. If you have no handy experience, it might be wise to call a professional and have them handle the job for you. Most methods only take an hour or two to complete, giving you lasting results from the fix.
The goal of the repair job is to blend it with the rest of the flooring, making it invisible to a causal glance. However, the reality is that unless you're filling hairline scratches, you'll probably still notice the damage if you have to focus on areas with deep scratches, even after it's fixed. But people who didn't know the scratch was there won't notice it.
Polishers & Restorers
Bona and Rejuvenate both make great polishes and restorers for removing scratches from laminate flooring. These products are easy to apply, and they give outstanding results.
Polishes and restorers are ideal for filling micro-scratches, and they work so well that you'll barely notice the old damage after the fix, even when focusing on the affected area. They're the go-to for how to repair laminate flooring scratches most of the time as a first attempt. They usually solve it sufficiently, too.
However, it's important to note that overusing these polishes and restorers can cause the floor to be sticky after you finish the restoration job. So, ensure you stick to the manufacturer's recommendations when applying the product. Restorers, or "concealers", work great to fix scratches on vinyl flooring, too.
You'll need a repair kit if you have severe, deep scratches on your laminate floors. Several companies manufacture these kits, so you'll have no problem finding one. They have a range of color options to match your flooring design aesthetic, and they offer a permanent fix that restores the visual appeal of your floor.
A repair kit requires more effort to apply, but they also offer better coverage and concealment of deeper scratches. Repair kits are ideal for scratch repair for laminate floors when you need to restore chips, cracks, dents, and deep scratches. While each manufacturer has a different set of application instructions, most of them work in the following steps.
- Clean the affected area using mineral spirits to remove dirt or grime from the scratched area.
- Use the putty included in the kit to fill the affected area.
- Match the color on the chart to your flooring system and mix the colors using the directions on the container.
- Apply the color to the floor and allow it to cure.
- Most products take from two to six hours to reach a full cure.
An alternate option that works very similarly are the compound fillers mentioned next.
A compound filler is another great choice for repairing severe damage on laminated flooring systems. These compound fillers are true laminate flooring scratch removers and are readily available and somewhat easy to work with if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. We recommend keeping one on hand to touch up your flooring as the damage occurs.
Follow these steps to use the compound filler effectively.
- Clean the affected area to remove the dirt and grime.
- Work the compound filler into the scratches.
- Run a plastic putty knife over the scratch. Don't use a razor blade or steel putty knife, as you might cause further damage to the floor.
- Wipe the excess putty from around the scratch and leave it to cure.
I would say that this method should only be used on extremely wide and deep scratches. It's a bit much for your basic scratch from an animal's paw or from dragging something across your flooring.
A wax pencil is a good quick fix for deeper scratches on laminate flooring. The pencil fills the scratch with wax; you can choose different colors to match your flooring aesthetic.
Follow these steps to use the wax pencil effectively. However, the wax pencil is not a permanent solution, and you might have to go over the area from time to time, depending on the amount of traffic passing over the area.
- Clean the affected area using the prior method explained.
- Work the wax pencil into the area as if you were using a crayon.
- Wipe away the excess wax, and you can stand on the area immediately. There's no curing time for wax pencils.
This scratch repair for laminate floors method also works very well for hiding scratches on wood furniture. You'll still have the indentations from the scratches but they'll be of a bit darker color so it's not so obvious to the human eye. It ends up giving it an aged characteristic that can look nice and rustic.
Stain markers are ideal for covering up small scratches on your laminate flooring. We recommend going with the wax pencil for a better result for deeper scratches.
Stain markers don't fix scratches on laminate floors so much as hide them, which is okay in my book and how I usually do it at my house. I'll use stain markers, colored pencils, and crayons.
Stain markers are readily available from hardware stores and online vendors and are an affordable fix. Follow this strategy for using the stain market to conceal the scratch.
- Clean the affected area.
- Choose a stain marker with the right color to match your flooring design aesthetic.
- Work the stain marker into the scratch.
- Wipe away the excess stain using a paper towel.
- Like the wax pen, there's no curing necessary for the stain marker, and the floor is fine to stand on right away.
- Repeat the process until you cover up the scratch; it might take several applications.
You can also try a colored pencil, though the stain will seep into the fibers better and not leave any visible lighter fibers like a colored pencil will as it floats over those spots.
A burn-in kit is preferred for filling deep scratches on laminate flooring and concealing severe damage like chips, dents, and scratches. They utilize hot wax to fill the damaged area. These kits are available in a range of colors to suit your flooring. Follow these steps when using the burn-in kit to fix your floors.
- Clean the affected area properly to remove all traces of grime and dirt.
- Take a soldering iron and use it to melt some wax from the stick provided with your kit.
- Fill the damaged area with the wax.
- After it dries, use the included scratch block to remove the excess wax.
- Some kits come with a varnish pen. The pen works similarly to the stain pen, allowing you to color the wax to match your floor.
If you don't want to spend a huge amount of money, we have a couple DIY options below for fixing your laminate flooring using items you might have around your home.
Toothpaste & WD-40
We bet you never imagined you could fix our laminate floors using toothpaste and WD-40. We know it sounds preposterous, but it works! Most homes have both of these items, so why not give it a shot? If it doesn't work, you can always resort to buying a kit.
Here's how to apply the toothpaste and WD-40 method for scratch repair for laminate floors.
- Clean the affected area.
- Dab some of the toothpaste on the scratch.
- Spray the WD40 on top.
- Leave it for a few minutes and clean it up using a solution of water and vinegar.
This is obviously intended for very light colored floors and not for darker laminated wood, etc.
If you have kids, you might have crayons in the house. Crayons are a good choice for a DIY fix and work similarly to the burn-in kit. Here's how to fix the scratch with crayons.
- Clean the affected area of the floor.
- Select a crayon with the closest match to the flooring color. We recommend going a shade darker than you expect.
- Using a razor blade, take shaving from the side of the crayon and place them into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat the shaving in the microwave for 30 seconds and stop when they melt but don't boil.
- Drip the melted crayon into the scratch.
- Scrape the excess from around the scratch using a plastic putty knife.
While the microwave is the preferred method to melt the wax, you can use a lighter and drip it into the scratch if you don't have a microwave at home.
Melted crayons as an answer for how to remove scratches on laminate floors is clever but realize that you won't be able to perfectly match the color you need, especially if that color changes along the flooring, which isn't likely to be a solid color all the way through.
Tips to Prevent Scratches on Laminate Flooring
Prevention is better than cure, and that's the case for protecting your laminate flooring as well. Proper maintenance and care of your laminate flooring system prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips to help you safeguard your floors and prevent them from getting scratched.
- Place silicon covers or protective pads over furniture legs.
- Learn how to stop your couches from sliding around.
- Place a rug in high-traffic areas of your home, like the entrances.
- Sweep and mop the floors daily to remove dirt and debris.
- Spray high-traffic areas with protective coatings.
- Don't let your kids play with sharp-edged toys, like Legos, on the floors.
The most important mindset to have is to realize you will have scratches on your floor. It's a floor, after all, with adults, kids, and pets walking and playing on it. Furniture will be on it and slide. People will drop dishes, keys, and other items. It will happen and is okay. We can fix it and do our best, and let it go.
That's How to Remove Scratches From Your Laminate Floor
We've exhausted all of the options for scratch repair on laminate floors above. What you need to decide is if you want to fill in the scratch so light doesn't catch it and make it visible, but it may be slightly discolored, or if you want to fix the color (go a little darker rather than lighter) but still have a divot that light can bounce off of.
You won't be able to get the color perfect, but it'll be much better than it was. And that's simply how it goes with scratch repair for laminate floors. You can get it so good nobody will notice but you, and only because you knew the scratch was there in the first place and know where to look for it.