With the "click" type technology that has taken over laminate installations, the amount of installation-related issues with not enough adhesive or too much adhesive has taken the frustration away from manufacturer to installer. Click systems provide the installer the ability to replace a damaged plank very easily; just "unclick" and install a new plank.
A new plank is just a "click" away! One area that has not changed is the fact that laminate flooring can, on occasion, chip and gouge from installation or from a pointed object being dropped from above. Have you ever been on an installation where you are doing the final clean up and notice a chipped corner? Have you turned down a repair from a customer who has called with a chip in their laminate because they don't have any extra boards?
This article will cover two types of repair methods for small chips that can be used on glue or click type installations. Photo 1 is actually a solid wood floor that was damaged. The flooring installer came back and rather than replacing the board or using a burn in type method, opted to fill it with a wood putty.
The putty didn't match, did not set hard and dished out making it a very visible repair. Why am I showing a wood repair for laminate troubleshooting? The attempted repair photographed well and some of the products discussed in this article can be used for wood repairs also.
Photo 3 is displaying a nick from a kitchen knife dropped from a counter.
(Photo 4) Clean out the damaged area by removing the wear layer to where you are just into the core material, the filler will not adhere to the laminate.
(Photo 5) Clean the area with a white cotton towel and the cleaner provided or acetone, apply cleaner to the towel do not pour solvent directly into the repair area.
(Photo 6) I have found that by applying some tape, I don't tend to dish out the filler when applying with a putty knife, the tape allows the filler to fill just slightly higher than the flooring and allows for the excess to be either carefully scraped or will blend as the filler tends to shrink as it cures within 5 to 10 minutes. This method minimizes the need to re-apply more filler.
Apply a coordinating color to a putty knife, you may need to add more than one color, apply into the damaged area (Photo 7). Let the filler harden for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, it doesn't take long for the filler to harden, carefully scrape away the excess (Photo 8).
Clean around the repair with a white cotton towel and cleaner (acetone), being careful not to rub to much on the repair area itself (Photo 9).
Where the fillers are solid in color and the laminate has graining in the pattern, use a graining pen to re-create the grain pattern, this will help to minimize the visibility of the repair even more (Photo 10).
Photo 11 is a burn-in type of repair kit that can be used for both wood and laminate. There are generally three types of sticks that are used, shellac, and lacquer for wood, and wax for laminate. The sticks come in solid colors and are melted into the damaged area with a butane or electric hot knife.
Photo 12 is displaying a chip in the corner of a plank, the three color sticks shown are used for this repair. Clean out the damaged area with a sharp pointed knife to where you are just into the core.
(Photo 13) Melting and mixing the wax sticks on a putty knife to blend with the wood tone of the damaged area.
(Photo 14)Using the hot knife, re-melt the blended wax from the putty knife into the damaged area.
Once the wax has cooled, approximately 30 to 60 seconds, carefully scrape away the excess (Photo 15).
Clean the area with the polishing pad provided, and use the graining pen to create a grain pattern (Photo 16). (Photo 17) Finished repair from dropped knife. (Photo 18) Finished repair of corner chip.
In the October 2019 issue of FCI, INSTALL’s executive director John T. McGrath, Jr. and instructor David Gross share key lessons to ensure concrete polishing jobs are done right the first time, every time.