How to Care for Laminate Floors
The laminate is laid and now? Anyone who has just laid a brand new laminate floor or let it be laid, doesn't want to destroy everything right away. Damage can happen quickly: Dents or scratches when carelessly moving furniture. Not only high heels can scratch the laminate permanently. For example, some soles may leave ugly black streaks on laminate, which are best removed with special stain erasers. Scratches, however, persist permanently.
We'll show you how to clean the floor gently and avoid coarse dirt or even damage from the start, so that the joy of your new laminate floor will last long.
The Construction of laminate
However, before going into the life-saving tips for laminate, let's take a quick look at how laminate is made and what materials and layers make up a "simple" laminate board. The main component of laminate is an insensitive HDF support plate consisting of a wood pulp. Apart from moisture, this layer can't be harmed so quickly. On the base plate is the actual decor, a printed film which is usually kept in wood look. This film is the only part of the laminate that is responsible for the optics. The decor is protected by a resin seal. All these layers are bonded together during production by means of heat and pressure.
Avoid Damage from the Beginning
Damage to the laminate can best be avoided by treating it with care. This is of course not always possible, especially in households with children or animals, a mishap happened faster than you can see. However, if you observe a few principles here, you will enjoy your new floor for a long time.
High Heels – Better not!
High heels, pumps, ... , were already for classic parquet a real killer! With laminate, the danger of these shoes, which are rather worn by female housemates, is defused, but we still recommend to take high off and leave them outside at the front door. Even shoe models with penny heels can scratch or even destroy the surface sealing. A scratched surface is more of an optical defect. But if water comes in contact, with for example parquet in the bathroom or kitchen, the scratch can quickly turn into a total loss
Leave dirty shoes outside
All sorts of fine dirt stick under the soles of sneakers, especially fine sandy particals in extreme cases act like sandpaper. If you leave this fine-grained dirt on the flooring, the surface of the laminate will scratch. As a rule, such scratches are visible only in direct light, but then they are much more annoying. Ideally, you leave the street shoes outside the door and slip into soft slippers. That's a lot more comfortable anyway! In any case, make sure that shoes are thoroughly cleaned on the doormat.
Furnish furniture with felt glides
Tables, chairs but also shelves should be furnished with so-called felt gliders. Felt glides are available for a few euros in the hardware store to buy. These are usually provided with a self-adhesive side, which can be stuck under the furniture within a few seconds. Due to their soft, felted surface, the gliders prevent scratching during movement. As office chairs with wheels also permanently attack the sealing of the laminate, you should imperatively place a rubber floor protection mat underneath. These aren't to expensive and can be bought in the office supply store or on the internet.
To prevent swelling of the laminate with spilled liquids, they should be wiped immediately after the mishap. This avoids serious damage. Smaller amounts are not a big deal but should be removed.
What to do if it is too late?
The above-mentioned points should ideally be avoided altogether. Since we usually live in the house and above all live, small misadventures happen anyway. This is not necessarily a problem if you react quickly, but it does mean a little work for you.
Remove small scratches with oil
If there are small scratches on the laminate floor due to sandy impurities, they can be removed with a little oil. Here you can buy baby and olive oil. Please do not take engine oil! After cleaning the damaged area with a damp cloth, polish it with a cloth soaked in olive or baby oil. Although the scratches do not disappear completely, they aren't so easy to see. To minimize the risk of slipping and to avoid accidents, excess oil is removed afterwards with a dry cloth.
Repair deep scratches and small holes
As soon as the scratches are a bit deeper or even smaller holes or dents are present in the laminate, special means must be used. In the hardware store there are so-called repair kits for laminate. These kits contain crayons in different colors. You heat these and push the wax into the respective damage. Excess wax is removed with a small planer enclosed with the set, which will remove surface irregularities. If the damage is too serious, you will not be able to completely replace the corresponding board. Since laminate is usually not glued, this is easily feasible with a little diligence.
Clean the laminate properly
In addition to the above-mentioned options to repair damage, of course, laminate requires a certain basic care. You will find out in the following section which options are available and which methods are most suitable.
Vacuming or Sweeping?
For laminate, the vacuum cleaner is clearly preferable to the broom. As the broom spreads the dirt across the floor, leaving marks in the worst case, the vacuum cleaner removes the dirt directly where it lies. As long as you do not start the vacuum cleaner in the tenement after 22:00 clock, this is always superior to the broom!
Do not wipe too wet!
When mopping laminate, it is important to take care not use a wipe, that's far to damp! A word that often falls in this context is "foggy"! But what is foggy actually? A mist-dampened wipe leaves as much moisture on the floor as fog does in the garden. Of course that sounds more than strange! Just make sure you do not drown the laminate in water, and when wiping, always use a well wrung out cloth. If the cloth is too wet, moisture can get between the boards. That is not really bad in low humidity, but should still be avoided. The edges of the individual boards are protected in most cases against the ingress of moisture, during installation, however, this impregnation can be damaged. Even cut edges are not protected! Before actually wiping, you should thoroughly vacuum the room, which prevents smearing of coarse impurities and prevents the formation of streaks.
The right detergent
If you look around the drugstore, you'll soon find that there are a variety of different cleaning products from a number of manufacturers for the cleaning of laminate. Really necessary are such special cleaners, however, in the least cases! Of course, the manufacturers try to tell you something else! With only slightly soiled flooring, clear water without additives is the simplest and most cost-effective cleaner. As soon as the pollution is a little bit stronger, a little neutral cleaner is enough. In any case you should refrain from "sharp" detergents, such as scouring cream or scouring powder. These agents scratch the sensitive surface and are only recommended for lovers of milk glass effect. Hard-to-dry dirt or chewing gum can be carefully wiped with a plastic spatula before wiping and removed with the vacuum cleaner.
Not as complicated as it seems
If you follow these rules, you will have fun with your laminate floor for a long time. Even if it sounds complicated at first, these points quickly become part of everyday life.