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As a general rule, laminate cannot be repaired like solid surface or even stone countertops, so it is very important to give them the proper care they need. Following these guidelines will not only keep your countertops looking their best, but will also protect your warranty.
Remedies for Common Problems
Stains: For normal cleaning, use a damp cloth or sponge and a mild soap or detergent. Difficult stains such as coffee or tea can be removed using a mild household cleaner and a soft bristled brush. If a stain persists, use a paste of baking soda and water and apply with a soft bristled brush. Light scrubbing for 10 to 20 strokes should remove most stains. Excessive scrubbing or exerting too much force could damage the decorative surface, especially if it has a gloss finish.
For stains that resist the above cleaning methods, use an undiluted household bleach, or nail polish remover. Apply to the stain and let stand no longer than two minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and wipe dry. This step may be repeated if the stain appears to be going away and the color of the laminate has not been affected.
WARNING: Prolonged exposure of the laminate surface to bleach will cause discoloration. Acidic or abrasive cleaners can damage laminate surfaces. Drain cleaners containing lye will permanently damage any laminate surface. Hair, textile, and food dyes can also cause permanent stains. Always rinse laminate surfaces after cleaning. Failure to rinse can cause damage to the laminate surface.
Scratches: Do not cut directly on the laminate surface. Laminate will scratch. Scratches are not repairable or removable. If you do scratch your countertop, polish with a furniture or countertop polish. This will help minimize the visibility of the scratch. For deep scratches or chips, apply matching fingernail polish or touch-up paint to the damaged area. Then polish with furniture polish.
Caulking: It is common for tops to shift and change position as your new kitchen settles into place. This will occasionally result in the breaking or opening of caulked areas which may need a bit of re-caulking. Maintenance of caulking is the responsibility of the homeowner. Also, be aware that your countertops are secured to the cabinets. If the cabinets are not properly attached to the wall or properly supported to the floor they may pull away and carry the tops with them. This separation will be most noticeable at the top of the backsplash but it is not a failure in countertop performance. You may need to consult with your cabinet installer to have the problem corrected.
Water Damage: If you have any seams in your counter top decks, care should be taken to keep them as dry as possible. Keep standing water away from all seams. Quickly wipe up all water spills that occur in the area of a seam to prevent damage. The plastic laminate is laid over a particle board substrate. Any moisture penetrating to this core will cause it to swell and negatively influence the appearance and performance of your top. Exposure of normal cleaning and maintenance should not be a problem, but any seam exposed to standing water for an extended period will be effected. If you have a special edge treatment, such as beveled laminate, wood or solid surface, the entire perimeter interface area must be treated like a seam. All plumbing fixtures, sinks, and faucets, must be completely sealed to prevent any penetration of water to the countertop substrate.
Heat Damage: Hot pans and heat-producing appliances, when set directly on countertops, can mar the surface and damage the countertop. Always protect the counter top by using a hot pad or trivet. Heat directly on a seam can cause separation.
Impact Damage: Your countertops should stand up very well to normal use. However, impact from sharp or blunt objects can damage the top. If you have a bevel edge laminate treatment, it is particularly susceptible to damage from impact at the top of the edge. The coved portion of the counter top is particularly susceptible to damage by sharp or square cornered objects sliding or being pushed into it.
Environmental Damage: Components of your countertops may be effected by changes in humidity or temperature. Your countertops should perform well in the range that is normal and typical for residential applications. Extreme variation in either temperature or humidity may cause failure or defects in the countertop or its components.
Wood Edge Treatment: If you have a hardwood edge on your countertop, it and its finish will perform differently than the laminate. Avoid exposure to excess moisture and abrasion. It is your responsibility to maintain this finish.
We are happy to help and want you to get the most benefit from your investment. If you have any questions concerning the care and maintenance of your laminate countertop, please contact Cache Valley Counter Tops at (435) 258-2174.