Last Updated: January 30, 2023, by: Rob Parsell
The popularity of laminate flooring rests on its affordability and durability. Since it is less expensive than genuine hardwood flooring to purchase, install and maintain, laminate flooring has become an affordable alternative since Pergo introduced it decades ago.
On the downside, laminate flooring can scratch and scrape easily, especially compared to flooring made of material like tile or hardwood. The surface of laminate flooring cannot be sanded, so scratched or scraped laminate flooring has to be repaired with wax or putty. It may even need to be replaced.
Pro Tip: Buy an extra box of laminate for replacing damaged planks that cannot be repaired.
Before starting laminate flooring repair, vacuum, sweep, and mop the floor with warm water and mild detergent. Wait for the floor to dry or dry it with a clean cloth for a faster start.
Pro Tip: Dry the floor with the clean cloth under your foot to save wear and tear on your back.
Identify the type of damage on the surface of your laminate floor and then follow the relevant guide below:
MINOR SCRATCH REPAIR
“Minor” scratches characteristically are shallow, cover little surface area and are few in number. Use wax pencils to fill the scratches, carefully matching the color of the floor. Deeper filler makes a darker repair, so use the filler sparingly at first. When the scratches seem to be filled with enough wax, blend the remaining wax into the surface of the laminate with the tip of the wax pencil. Use a soft cloth to gently buff the edges of the repair and smooth out the wax filler.
To be sure all scratches are entirely filled, rub the tip of the wax pencil across the scratch at different angles; short strokes along the scratches also work well. Then wipe up the excess beyond the edges of the repair.
MINOR SCRAPE REPAIR
“Minor” scrapes are broader than scratches and don’t penetrate through to the design layer – the photographic image. If you have a broad and deep scrape, you likely need a new plank (See Major Scrape Repair below)
Wax pencils don’t contain enough material to repair scrapes, so floor repair putty is used.
Match the color of the putty to the color of the laminate flooring according to repair kit instructions. Be sure to add putty dye just a few drops at a time. Don’t worry, the kit you purchase will fully explain this step.
Spread the color-matched putty across the scrapes with a putty knife or similar tool. Press the putty across the scrapes at several different angles to make sure the scrapes are completely filled. Scrape a clean edge of the putty knife across the flooring repair and the area around it to remove excess putty and create an even repair. If you’ve repaired drywall dings and dents with spackling, then the technique is the same.
Pro Tip: It will take a day for the putty to harden into a permanent repair.
MAJOR SCRAPE REPAIR
A laminate floor has “major” scrapes if the laminate floorboard is extremely scratched, possibly over large portions of the floor, or has scrapes that completely penetrate the top surface of the laminate floor. Wax and putty are inadequate to repair major scrapes. The damaged laminate floorboard must be replaced.
Buy a matching laminate floorboard, if you don’t have a spare. Using a prybar, remove the baseboard at the wall closest to the floorboard being replaced. Pull floorboards up until the damaged floorboard is exposed. Remove the damaged floorboard, and replace it with the new one. Replace undamaged floorboards. Replace the baseboard.
Pro Tip: Number or photograph the baseboard pieces for easy and accurate replacement.
Laminate flooring with visible repairs is not much of an improvement. Repairs should be unnoticeable, so an important part of any laminate flooring scratch repair is to match the color of the laminate floor with the repair material.
Laminate flooring manufacturers make flooring repair kits. Getting the right kit from the manufacturer makes specific color matching reliable. Laminate flooring repair kits commonly include wax pencils, colored putty, a putty knife or similar tool, and detailed color-matching instructions.
If you don’t know what manufacturer made the flooring, take a sample plank portion to the hardware store; purchase a laminate flooring Do It Yourself (DIY) repair kit matching the sample color as closely as possible. Then get ready to mix custom putty colors.
Pro Tip: Wax pencils and floor repair putty are often used on wood and laminate. If you can’t find a laminate-specific product, check for ones produced for wood.
Follow all repair kit instructions carefully.
SUMMARY OF SUPPLIES
If you are following our step by step instructions above then you will need some or all of these supplies to fix scratches on laminate flooring.
A – Vacuum, broom, dustpan, mop/bucket/detergent
B – Commercial repair kit
C – Wax pencils (or markers)
D – Putty
E – Putty knife
F – Soft cloth
G – Prybar
About the Author: Rob Parsell
Rob joined the Home Flooring Pros team in 2014 and is a freelance writer, specializing in flooring, remodeling and HVAC systems (read more).
“I’m the son of an interior designer and picked up an eye for design as a result. I started hanging wallpaper and painting at 14 and learned enough on the job to be the general contractor on two homes we built for our family and did much of the finish plumbing, electrical, painting, and trim work myself.”