As durable as laminate tile is, laminate products are not indestructible. Laminates (especially the thicker, more expensive products) are more subject to denting than scratching. The dents are impossible to remove.
To keep the surface from scratching take the precautions listed in “Preventive Maintenance for Laminate Tile.” In addition don’t drag heavy appliances or furniture across a laminate floor. Use an appliance dolly or air pad when resetting the refrigerator, and ask friends to help move sofas, dressers, and other large pieces of furniture.
Plastic furniture casters seem deceptively safe for laminate floors. Small pieces of grit embedded in the roller over time abrade the surface of the floor. If you have plastic furniture rollers, replace them with rubber rollers.
Humidity also plays a role in laminate maintenance. Keep the room humidity at 50 percent to ensure the joints stay closed, thus preventing an accumulation of dirt between tiles.
About 45 minutes to vacuum and damp-mop a 15×20-foot floor; about 20 minutes to repair a tile and 30 minutes to remove and replace a damaged tile
Cleaning: vacuum, sponge mop
Repairing: utility knife, vacuum, plastic spatula, circular saw, chisel, hammer
Cleaning: manufacturer’s cleaning solution
Repairing: masking tape, patching compound, replacement tile, mastic
Removing stains from laminate tile
Stain: Candle wax
Remove with: Scrape carefully with plastic spatula.
Stain: Crayon, rubber heel marks
Remove with: Rub out with a dry cloth or acetone if needed.
Stain: Grape juice or wine
Remove with: Rub with a dry cloth or concentrated cleaner.
Remove with: Paint thinner or acetone
Stain: Nail polish
Remove with: Acetone-base nail polish remover
Stain: Paint or varnish
Remove with: Wipe with water or mineral spirits while still wet. If dry scrape carefully with a plastic spatula. If the stain still shows, clean with rubbing alcohol.
Stain: Pen ink
Remove with: Acetone or paint thinner
Stain: Shoe polish
Remove with: Acetone or paint thinner
Remove with: Acetone
Remove with: Start with concentrated cleaner, then acetone
After removing the stain wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove residue.
If the damaged area lies in a woodgrain or other straight pattern, square the damaged area with a sharp utility knife. If the pattern is irregular, you may want to leave the outlines of the patch slightly irregular. The wear layer on laminate tile is extremely hard — use a sharp blade. Don’t cut clear through the layers of tile. Only remove the top layer. Vacuum up the chips and dust from the area to be patched.
To make cleanup easier apply tape around the damaged area. Squeeze a small amount of the manufacturer’s repair compound into the damaged area and press it into the recess with the edge of a plastic spatula. Smooth the compound level with the tape. If the compound comes out of the area when you smooth it, lower the angle of the spatula. Let the repair dry thoroughly.
When the repair compound has dried thoroughly, carefully remove the tape. Most compounds are made to shrink as they dry, so the repair should now be level with the surface of the surrounding tile. If some putty got on the floor, wipe it with a damp cloth.
Preventive maintenance for laminate tile
Sweeping will do for daily cleaning, but vacuuming is necessary before you damp-mop a laminate floor. Don’t wax the floor. Wax leaves a film that deadens the shine.
Laminate tile is among the easiest of floor materials to care for, but no material maintains itself. The best thing you can do to keep its surface shiny is to use area rugs or mats at home entrances to trap as much loose dirt as possible. Use felt pads on furniture legs and check them periodically — you will have to change them regularly because they pick up dirt and can act like small circles of sandpaper.
Sweep or vacuum the floor daily to remove loose dirt and grit. If something gets spilled wipe it up immediately and clean the residue with a spray cleaner product recommended by the manufacturer.
Damp-mop the floor once a week with a mild cleaning solution and a sponge mop. Don’t flood the floor; wring the mop until it’s just damp.